New Internationalist

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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  1. #1 Jasmine Dyce 15 Jun 12

    maria, was such a lovely women. she was always smiling and was always willing to help people! may she rest with the angels

  2. #2 Alan 16 Jun 12

    When she shall die,
    Take her and cut her out in little stars,
    And she will make the face of heaven so fine
    That all the world will be in love with night
    And pay no worship to the garish sun.

  3. #3 Tom Maliti 18 Jun 12

    Goodness. It is sad to hear of Maria's death.

    I worked with her at The Frontier Post, which at the time was a centre of left newspaper that exposed both high level corruption and the social ills of Pakistan. The second part Maria contributed to quite a bit.

    We both worked in the features section of the paper, a broadsheet that had a feature page six days a week. We were the two foreigners working at the features section _ she with her multiple nationalities and I, a Kenyan. She later married one of the radical journalists at The Frontier Post before eventually returning to Britain.

    Whenever a colleague did her a good turn _ bringing tea from the canteen or giving her a cigarette, her response was always, ’Bless your little heart.’

    Bless your little heart Maria.

  4. #4 Beena Sarwar 22 Jun 12

    I cannot 'like' this news. Grieved to hear of Maria's passing away... just heard from our mutual colleague Tom Maliti in Kenya. We had all worked together in The Frontier Post. I had lost touch with Maria, was thinking of her just recently and wondering how she is. She was a such good soul and a truly kind person. She was briefly married to our dear departed friend and journalist colleague Zafaryab Ahmed and remained on good terms with him after they split up - and in fact worked actively for his release from London when he was arrested in Lahore for his association with the BLLF leadership following the murder of the child labourer Iqbal. Rest in peace Maria. Condolences to her family, especially daughter whom she mentioned when we last met in London about ten years ago.

  5. #5 Jennifer Dobson 04 Jan 15

    Maria was a childhood friend of mine from my years when we both lived in Five Mile Drive, Oxford. I will always look back at that time with the fondest of memories. I was unaware of her being ill or of her death until now. I will always remember her as such a lovely girl, full of smiles and life. As she is at Wolvercote cemetery where my parents are, I will get to pay my respects xx

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About the author

Alan Hughes a New Internationalist contributor

Alan Hughes was a graphic artist at New Internationalist. He retired in 2014. He is a life-long socialist and trade unionist and is currently involved in the Keep Our NHS Public Campaign. He is passionate about The Beatles and has supported Aston Villa FC for over 50 years. He lives in Oxford with his daughter.

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