Last Thursday I lost a friend, and the women and girls of Afghanistan lost a most precious partner.
Rosemary Stasek, one of the most inspiring, energetic and compassionate women I have ever met, died on Thursday, September 24th at the age of 46 of heart failure due to complications from the MS she was battling. Rosemary lived in Kabul with her dear husband, Morne du Preez. She is also survived by her parents Andrew and Patricia. I am deeply saddened at having lost her so suddenly and so early in both of our lives.
It is impossible to do justice to Rosemary when describing her personality and work. To understand this you would have to have known her. From the day I met her in Kabul in 2004 I began to learn what a fireball she was. Confident and fearless in her ideas, opinions and work, Rosemary set the bar high in terms of human rights, sustainable development and social justice.
A glimpse of who she was and what she did is available on her website.
On this site you can follow the link to her charity, ...a little help.
My own mourning of her death is manifesting itself in action. Many of you will know me as quite a 'doer', someone who would rather make something happen than talk about it. This is no exception. Through her charity, ...a little help, Rosemary touched and changed the lives of Afghans around the country for the past few years. She worked on improving the lives Afghan women and girls through supporting education, women's prisons, maternal and child health services, income generation and cultural initiatives around the country. ...a little help also sponsors women undertaking training courses and post-secondary education in Afghanistan and abroad.
Rosemary's work must continue. ...a little help must continue to bring positive change to women and girls in the long term.
So what am I going to do about it? To be honest, I don't have the answer right now. And what happens with the charity is not really my decision. However, I am quite sure that Rosemary would want her work to continue, not allowing all of her efforts, successes and sacrifices simply fade into history.
I am hoping that over the next few months a group of interested individuals can discuss the charity's future. While no single person can likely fill the large hole left by her passing, I am reasonably confident that a group of us, situated in our various cities with our various skills and networks, can commit to work together in keeping ...a little help active and effective for some time to come.
What can you do now? You can help ensure the survival of Rosemary's charity. Rather than sending flowers you can make a donation to ...a little help. Morne is asking that donations be sent in form of a cheque (kindly refrain from using Paypal right now, if possible, please) made out to 'A Little Help US' and posted to:
Andrew and Patricia Stasek, 241 W. Blaine Street, McAdoo, PA 18237, USA
If you are in Afghanistan you can make a transfer to the charity's bank account. Contact me for relevant details.