UNICEF statement on the loss of Perseveranda So in the Peshawar blast
NEW YORK/MANILA, 10 June 2009 - UNICEF today released a statement by the Executive Director as well as the the Phillipines country representative for UNICEF on the tragic death of Perseveranda So.
The following is attributable to Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director: “UNICEF is greatly saddened by the death of a much-loved colleague, Perseveranda So, as a result of the bombing of the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar today.
“Persy, as she was known to her colleagues, had worked for UNICEF since 1994.
“She was a dedicated and highly committed staff member, who worked with grace and determination as Chief of Education in Pakistan, earning the respect and admiration of all those with whom she came into contact.
“She was in Peshawar, a dangerous and difficult environment, helping implement programmes to assist girls in gaining access to the education they so desperately need.
“She will be greatly missed by her colleagues at UNICEF. Our hearts go out to her family and friends, in her home country of the Philippines and around the world, who share our loss.
“At the time of the bombing, the hotel was housing many humanitarian workers there to provide life-saving assistance to Pakistan’s most vulnerable people. This is an attack on the very humanitarian principles to which Persy was dedicated, and it is reprehensible and unacceptable.”
Vanessa Tobin, country representative in the Philippines added:
“Persy made a huge contribution to improving education for millions of children in the Philippines. As UNICEF’s chief of education, she was instrumental in introducing the Child Friendly School System to the country, and she successfully advocated for the passage of a law on early child education. She was driven by a belief that education was the key to reducing poverty in the Philippines. She was a passionate worker who dedicated her life to the promotion of a child’s right to education.”