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Remembering Maria del Nevo

Maria del Nevo started her working life as an office worker at the New Internationalist in Oxford in 1984. She then went to Lahore, Pakistan to work for the local church. She lived for two years within a small Christian community in a walled compound housing a cathedral, a school and a hostel for church workers. She found life within the compound restrictive and frustrating – she was not encouraged to mix with the wider Muslim community as it was regarded as unsafe to do so.

Despite such attitudes, she managed to make friends beyond the compound walls and to explore life in Pakistan. A talented writer, she began to share her experiences by contributing short features to New Internationalist magazine.

After a spell back in Britain, she was offered a job as a journalist on the Frontier Post and jumped at the chance of going back to Pakistan. This time she  
lived independently in Lahore and worked on a number of daily newspapers, writing mostly about issues related to women, minorities and rural communities, while also contributing her ‘Letters from Lahore’ to New Internationalist. Some of these pieces formed part of the New Internationalist book ‘Letters from the Edge’ published in 2008.

Returning to London, Maria worked for a national charity for people with disabilities, for the World Association for Christian Communication and then for Hammersmith and Fulham Council before suffering a devastating stroke in April 2007. She remained in hospital undergoing intensive neurological treatment and was unable to communicate normally with her mother Kate and daughter Jasmine.

Maria died on 30 May at the age of just 49. When told of her passing, an old colleague who worked with Maria at New Internationalist said Maria was one of those people he will always remember with a smile.

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