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A Tribute to Our Dear Friend, Barbara Rogers

28 June 2013 3 Comments

Dear Friends,

Barbara visiting Nsenzeni in Zambia

Barbara visiting Nsenzeni in Zambia

We are incredibly saddened (and shocked) to learn that one of our dearest friends and active supporters is no longer with us. Barbara Rogers was a dedicated super-sponsor through Children International and considered herself (in her own words), “Aura’s House’s number one fan.”

Her close friend and fellow super-sponsor, Mckenzie Fritch broke the news in a wonderful tribute over at Lift One. In it she writes, “At 11:58 last night, I received an email informing me that our friend Barbara Rogers passed away quietly in her kitchen on Friday, June 22. She was taken by either a heart attack or stroke, about a week(?) before she was scheduled to begin her Healthy Heart programme.” Mckenzie couldn’t have phrased it better when she wrote, “I don’t need to tell you how active Barbara was here in the sponsorship community – how much she loved her children and the children of others. She was a tenacious and diligent advocate for their needs and best interests. Her sponsored children will miss her even more than we all will!”

No doubt! Barbara tirelessly fund-raised for her sponsored and co-sponsored children at Aura’s House and saw four projects successfully completed. They were:

The Emergency Education Project for Mario (Chile)

Tuition and Household Needs Project for Nsenzeni (Zambia)

Room Construction Project for Evelyn and Francesco (Colombia)

Income Generation Project for Eloina (Guatemala)

Barbara also recently lobbied to have two more projects for her sponsored children added to our waiting list. They are, a second Tuition Project for Nsenzeni (to fund her second year of private school) and  an Income Generation Project for Angel of Colombia. We look forward to still running these future Aura’s House projects in Barbara’s memory to help make the lives of her sponsored children a little easier.

I never got to actually meet Barbara in person, and yet I feel that her larger-than-life personality always extended itself beyond the computer screen. She always took the time to fight for what she wanted for each of her sponsored children in an attempt to secure the best for them. It’s almost as if she knew that her time with us was limited and had none to waste.  Mckenzie so wisely writes in her tribute to Barbara, “Please, please appreciate your loved ones and don’t put things off until tomorrow.”   I couldn’t agree more, and yet it’s something I think we always remind ourselves after someone passes away and then we all forget again. Such is the cycle of life.

Mario was able to attend school thanks to Barbara's fund-raising efforts

Mario was able to attend school thanks to Barbara

I’ll end by saying this. Looking at the date Barbara passed away, it’s seems an odd coincidence that it was also the day our Elementary School Water Project for Aura’s Village (Guatemala) fully funded. Barbara was a huge supporter and contributor to this project and had expressed concern that it wouldn’t fund before our site’s birthday (June 30th). I learned on June 23rd that thanks to some VERY generous donors, the project HAD funded. It’s a shame that Barbara never got a chance to know as well. (Some might say she knows now though!) I also want to say that another extraordinary thing happened this week. I learned yesterday (though it’s NOT confirmed or concrete) but Aura’s House partner Anastasia Yecke recently visited Aura and her mother in Guatemala  a few days ago to tell them about a wonderful scholarship opportunity in the USA specifically for low-income students from Guatemala that would pay all her educational expenses. Aura has decided that she will apply and so let’s see what the future holds. I know Barbara would have been over the moon over that one. She was an ardent follower of Aura’s educational progress, from secondary school and then to University.

Thank you Barbara for being such a good friend and for sharing so much with your sponsored children, with us, and the sponsorship community. You will be missed and could never ever be replaced.

Sincere wishes,
Kristen Palana and the Aura’s House Team

 

3 Comments »

  • Kristen (author) said:

    You can light a candle for Barbara here: http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=ci

  • Anastasia said:

    What a beautiful tribute, Kristen. Her generosity and caring spirit will live on in the lives of the many people she touched.

    What will happen to her sponsored children now that she has passed? Does anyone know what Children International does when these tragic events occur?

    On a happier note, stay tuned for updates about Aura and the great educational opportunity that she is applying for…

  • Mack said:

    This is a wonderful tribute. Thank you, Kristen! I know that Barbara would be thrilled to hear about both the completed water project and Aura’s educational opportunity.

    @Anastasia:

    CI has an awesome policy that once a child is sponsored he/she will never be “dumped” from the program due to loss of a sponsor. In the case of Barbara’s kids, they will be taken care by the many friends she left behind, rather than being returned to the general sponsorship pool. There are a few things that must be considered before final decisions can be made, so CI has simply placed Barbara’s account on “hold” for now. Rest assured, Barbara’s legacy of attentive giving will be continued and her “orphaned” children will receive extra special care. This is in part because we all miss Barbara and want to honor her, but also because she took the initiative to reach out to people and plan for the welfare of her children on the advent of her death.

    @Kristen:

    I can act as liaison for any future Aura’s House projects that are posted for Barbara’s kids. I will send you an email about this within the next couple of days.

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