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15 maggio 2020

Our colleague Valentina

IN MEMORY OF OUR COLLEAGUE VALENTINA 

 

Our friend and colleague Valentina (29/6/1987 – 12/5/2020) has passed away, in a sudden and inexplicable way, we are distraught.

We met her in 2017, when she started her adventure with us, volunteering with EU Aid volunteers, one of the first to start. After one year in Tunisia as volunteer expert in gender studies, because of her skills and competences demonstrated right away, we asked her to stay and work in our field office in Tunis, as project manager in activities supporting women.
A calling so significant to her that even after she left our organization for personal reasons, she continued sending us insights, ideas and contacts she thought might be useful for our work, she stayed in contact with many of us in the kind and enthusiastic manner that distinguished her. Balancing passion and professionalism is not always easy for those working in the humanitarian field, but Valentina managed it exceptionally, demonstrating it in countless occasions.

We had the chance to get to know Valentina: incredibly prepared, capable and professional but also bright, lively and kind with everyone, colleagues and others, available and able to give a unique meaning to everything she carried out.

Many people in Italy and Tunisia have a special memory of her that they would like to share.

“If I think of my arrival in Tunisia, Valentina is the first face I remember. She was the first EUAV to come to Tunisia, with the then GVC. My first period in Tunis was very hard professionally and emotionally but Valentina was an extraordinary support. In the hardest of times, she was always ready to listen to me and give me strength and positivity to go on. Even at her young age, she had the wisdom, determination and calmness that distinguishe those who have already lived through important phases of their life. It astonishes me how we connected right away. After a few days, I felt as if I had always known her and in little time, we understood each other at a glance, as if there was an elective affinity between us. I was immediately impressed by her availability and gentle way of relating to whomever was near her. Her skills and passion for the work she was doing and the dedicated attention to the opinion of everyone had made her a standing point inside the office. Outside the office, it was sufficient to see the number of people around her to understand how much she was loved.
In her, I found an exemplary colleague, but especially an extraordinary friend. Her loss is an incomprehensible tragedy for me and leaves a void that cannot be filled. I will miss her immensely and the whole world will miss a person so genuinely generous, good and honest.” – Luca De Filicaia

Our paths crossed in Tunisia when you welcomed me warmly in our crazy guesthouse. Since then, our friendship grew strong and took us to many adventures in Tunisia, Lebanon and England. I will cherish all those moments and endless debates about women rights we had. You’ll never be forgotten my dear Vale.”Aline Bussière

“Valentina was always very bright, lively and encouraging and she always had a kind word for everyone. I remember that before leaving for Tunisia, she had taken a class to learn how to make cheese, and this really impressed me for the passion, the drive and the professionalism that she put in everything she did.” – Mariachiara Lesi

“In my memory Valentina was and will always be one of the most bright, enthusiastic and enchanting individuals that I have ever met in the cooperation field. She introduced herself to our ABRM group in mission in Tunisi by welcoming us at the airport in a kind and professional manner, which was immediately replaced by friendliness and participation, and in the next few days became incredible fun. The couple of days in Tunisi in women cooperatives were filled with conversations. I could not believe I could find so much affinity with such a young person, but indeed we connected, all of us, on difficult and personal topics. Valentina was committed, incredibly sensitive and with a sense of duty in regards to the difficult situations she was working in, but she was also curious, cheerful and full of ideas. Even after she left Tunisia we stayed in touch with her, and even though she had passed on the Eco de Femmes project she continued following it with us, for the dedication and participation in the future of the women that were so close to her heart. Let’s remember her that way: young, beautiful, happy and committed. Ciao Vale.”Laura per ABRM- Associazione Beppe e Rossana Mantovan

“Valentina decided to leave her job in England to dedicate herself to development cooperation as a volunteer, initially. She is one of those individuals that decide to put their skills towards a cause they believe in. Once selected, before leaving, she decided to learn how to make cheese, to better understand the activities she would be observing once in Tunisia. She did not just want to go “help out”, she wanted to understand, she wanted to be a part of the reality in which she was going. She was tough, direct and sincere; she was able to send clear messages, even in conflictual situations, with extreme kindness and fairness, respectful of roles even in criticism. She was very mindful about her relationships with colleagues, and wanted her work to always be evaluated, not only be her superiors, but by all those around her. She cared a lot about harmony within the group.”Andrea Sparro

“As soon as Valentina entered a room, you were struck by her. It was impossible not to notice her. Foremost for her beauty and also because her smile was a ray of sunlight. Then she would start speaking non-stop and overrun you with thoughts, considerations, proposals and ideas. All logical, all making sense. And then she would ask about you. She would reply immediately to any request, in spite of the time or the problem. But the best thing about her was that she would never forget she was dealing with individuals, before thinking of them as colleagues or beneficiaries”.Marina Mantini

“There are no words worthy of the loss we are enduring. In spite of this, trying to go beyond the great friendship between us, one of the things that struck me the most about Valentina was her capacity to have a positive impact on the people she met. With her way of being, of thinking, words always in the right place. She was magnetic, an inspiration and an example to follow. Often I asked myself “ What would Vale do in this situation?” To better myself, to do the “right” thing. This is the mark she has left on me.” Luca Devoti

“Many times I thought to myself how lucky I was to meet Valentina, to have had the chance to call her my colleague, my line manager, but especially my friend. Yes, because Vale was one those very special and rare people that when they come into your life, make you feel lucky, strong and brave. And in my life she brought exactly that: strength, courage and lots of smiles. Yes, because Vale always smiled, she was always positive and full of life and putting herself out there, every day, even in the face of adversities or bad days. I am so grateful to her for all the unforgettable moments that we lived together, for all the hours working side by side, in Tunisia and not only; for having been so generous at work and also outside the office; for all that she taught me and the precious advice she gave me and that I will always carry with me. I love you Vale. It has been wonderful to share a stretch of life together.” – Elena Gasparini

“It is not easy to accept that you have left us so soon. Our paths crossed for a brief moment, but despite this you are one of the most beautiful, bright and clever people I have ever met in this journey called life. I want to remember you for your everlasting and contagious energy, the passion and the professionalism that you had for work, your natural inclination towards others and their enhancement. You will forever be in my heart with your beautiful smile and wearing the jasmin necklaces that you loved to buy in the warm and care-free evenings spent together. Ciao Vale.”
-Fabrizia Gandolfi

“Pure and gentle, how wonderful to meet in you in this life, even if for a brief moment. You were an example at work, for you professionalism and passion. You will always be an example in life. Thank you, for being there and for sending out so much love. Bye beautiful soul, see you in the next adventure!” – Cristina Cardarelli

“Dear Vale,
what a gift to have met you!
Your were light, beauty and purity of the soul, shining upon everything and all the people that had the chance to meet you. Your positivity and trust in others were unique and you radiated them always, making it impossible not to love you and admire you profoundly.
Your kind spirit and your big heart deserve the homage, but also your infinite professional skills, your working ethic and competence guiding you, the respect and care for those you worked with, your lending yourself so generously to listen, advise and encourage.
You, “who added life to days”, are Light and everything you have taught me shall not be forgotten, I will keep it close, with immense gratitude.
“At this time in the evening,
from this part of the world,
I want to thank the divine
labyrinth of causes and effects,
for the diversity of creatures
that compose this unique universe,
to thank
for the mystery of the rose,
that lavishes colour and does not see it,
for the art of friendship,
for the care,
which is the spontaneous prayer of the soul,
for the good of friendship..” – Serena Cipriani

A strong embrace from all of us to her family and husband, that it may help them bear the unbelievable weight of this immense pain.
Ciao Vale, you will always be in our hearts with your brightest smile.