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In memoriam: Perseveranda So, 1956-2009

Perseveranda So (in sunglasses) stands with displaced children and their teachers at a UNICEF school in Jalala camp outside Peshawar on 9 June. The photograph was found in Persy’s camera. It is last known photo of the UNICEF Pakistan Chief of Education, who was killed later that day.

NEW YORK, USA, 10 June 2009 – The UNICEF family today mourns the tragic loss of Perseveranda So in the bombing of a hotel in northwest Pakistan last night. We miss her already. She personified UNICEF at its best, and we will honour her by carrying on her work – our work – with her memory in our hearts.

Known to her friends and family as Persy, she was one of thousands of UNICEF staff worldwide who get up each morning and do their difficult and often dangerous jobs with little fanfare. Like so many of her colleagues, she faced the risks without flinching.

Her heart was filled with courage, and she was willing to act on what others merely dream.

Perseveranda So in action at a meeting. She was passionately dedicated to ensuring every child’s right to education.

A force for good

As Chief of Education in UNICEF’s Islamabad office, Persy devoted her life to lifting knowledge up and pushing ignorance down. She was passionately dedicated to ensuring every child’s right to education, regardless of gender, race, colour or creed. In the end, she gave her life in that cause.

In the aftermath of Persy’s untimely death, all of her friends and associates at UNICEF share the grief of her family in the Philippines. As a force for good, she cannot be replaced. She was a surrogate for all of us, our sister in this good work, and her spirit lives on in our own undying commitment to the world’s children.

Goodbye, Persy. You will never be forgotten. You brought light to the world, and we will keep it shining.

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Click here for more details on the circumstances surrounding the death of UNICEF staff member Perseveranda So.




10 June 2009: UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman comments on the death of Perseveranda So and asks for a moment of silence at the Executive Board meeting in New York.
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UNICEF South Asia Regional Director Dan Toole remembers Perseveranda So.
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