Loss of a great friend and leader

13/10/2011

Luz Barreto leaves an immense legacy through her work with older people in Latin America. Luz Barreto leaves an immense legacy through her work with older people in Latin America. We are very sorry that Luz Barreto, a member of our board, died on 12 October 2011 after a short illness.

Luz, a graduate in Social Gerontology from the Catholic University of Peru and Vice-President of HelpAge International's Affiliate, the Working Group of NGOs for Older People, based in Lima, made a tremendous contribution to achieving positive social change for children and older people in Latin America.

James Blackburn, HelpAge's Regional Representative for Latin America said of Luz: 

"It is impossible in words to describe what Luz has represented for older people in the Latin American region and on the global board of HelpAge International, to all who have walked hand in hand with her in so many struggles and for so many years. So many memories, so many.

An immense legacy

"We could all certainly write several books about her achievements, her charming smile, her eyes which always sparkled with intelligence, her tireless energy, total commitment, simplicity, amazing communication skills, leadership, creativity of intellect, the beauty of her spirit.

"We have lost a great friend, a soul sister. She has left an immense legacy, and we have to work to continue to meet the standard set by Luz - for older people, HelpAge and humanity."

Richard Blewitt, CEO of HelpAge added:

"I would like to say that I have been so touched by Luz's wisdom, energy and deep commitment to older people and her work and achieving positive social change in her country for children and older people. It is a deeply sad day."

We have lost a great friend and ally. If you have any messages of support please leave them here and we will share them with Luz's family.

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Comments submitted for this page

  • HERNAN FERNANDEZ (01 February 2013)

    “Cuando las almas se juntan los amigos no se olvidan”, Este pensamiento Zulu (África) es el que mejor se aplica a mi relación con Luz (yo le llamaba Lucecilla). Nos conocimos hacia 1983, en el desarrollo de un proyecto. De inicio capte su sensibilidad, e inteligencia (de la cualitativa y la cuantitativa), su extraordinaria percepción de las cosas y gran disposición a colaborar, sencillez, ternura y desde luego una gran amiga. La relación laboral con Luz fue muy breve, pero la amistad perduro, la veia de tanto en tanto, la última vez fue en el 2011. Ayer llame a su casa para saludarle y encontrarnos. Recién me enteré de su fallecimiento. Mas de un año después. Tratando de averiguar mas de Luz, encuentro esta pagina en Internet y me hace bien advertir de los mensajes de cariño y admiración a Luz, los comparto plenamente. La última que nos vimos me dijo de un reciente viaje a Marruecos con su hija, y que en los foros a los que solía asistir ella trataba de mostrar las cosas con simpleza y naturalidad. Leyendo los mensajes es claro que esa opción ha ameritado justos reconocimientos.

    Solo puedo decir finalmente “Gracias a la vida” por haberme permitido tener amistad con alguien tan valioso como mi querida Lucecilla.

  • Elizabeth Podnieks (04 December 2011)

    My heart is breaking at the news of the passing of a great friend and colleague. Luz was an inspiring member of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA).This website is an outpouring of love for Luz and we are united in ensuring that her spirit and legacy will live on .
    Elizabeth Podnieks, founding member and immediate past Vice President , INPEA

  • Cuong Nguyen Manh (25 October 2011)

    I am very sorry to hear that HAI has just lost an active leader who spend all her life for supporting children and older people in Latin America.

  • Decio Rubio Urrelo (21 October 2011)

    Toda su vida Luz fue una persona con alta sensibilidad social

  • edilia camargo (17 October 2011)

    Let celebrate Luz´s life and commitmment to the poor, and particularly older people... poorest among the poors.... Her "latinoamericanity" was that holistic way to touch everything with that particular wisdom and tender feeling and her capacity to irradiate it with others..elsewhere...

  • Eric Kimani (HelpAge board) (17 October 2011)

    This is truly a loss not only for Latin America but for the entire world.

    Luz was passionate about issues of the elderly and her contribution will remain a legacy.

    May the good Lord rest her soul in eternal peace.

  • Du Peng (HelpAge board member) (17 October 2011)

    I am so sorry to know the sad loss of Luz, and even can't believe it just after our last meeting a few months ago.



    I am so impressed by her wisdom, friendly personality and active participation during the board meeting.

  • munier mohammed (16 October 2011)

    Its a great loss to OP in latin america as well as to the global movement, although i did not know or have the privilege to met her personally, but her legacy stays marking the level of commitment and actions towards OP and other vlunerable groups, and it is a great loss to those groups in their fight for their social righst to lose a leader and an advocate like Luz.
    I send my personal condolences to her family, friends and all those vulnerable groups she support and advocate in their behlaf, may her soul rest in peace.

  • Luisa Oldmen (15 October 2011)

    I met Luz in grade school at the Maryknoll school in Lince, Peru. We have been friends ever since and no amount of years and miles made a dent in our friendship. When we would meet again, these markers would vanish and it was back to talking about our projects. Three years ago, Luz opened her house to me when I decided to go back to Peru to seek a graduate degree. During this time, I was able to see how much Luz loved working with HelpAge International. She read every single email and happily corresponded with fellow HelpAgers around the world. Once in a while, she would stop typing, wiggle her nose, tap her fingers on the keyboard and resume typing. Luz was always excited about conference calls, carefully setting her alarm to wake -up for international calls. She thoroughly enjoyed preparing for international workshops and when she returned home, she would beamed as she talked about the participants and the new challenges they were determined to meet. She talked about all of you as old friends and I could tell that in her heart that is how she felt. Luz was a passionate defender of human rights for everybody. She was adamant about kids not digging thorugh garbage to find food or having to find things to sell and feed their families; she was indignant at the lack of progress in helping the Pisco earthquake victims and she was determined to afford dignity to older adults. It was fascinating to me that all these challenges did not deter Luz in her search for solutions. She worked very hard everyday -no week-ends nor vacations got in the way of her commitment to the less fortunate. Luz lead by example and thus everyone felt that they had to do as much as she did. She was tremendously emphatetic, but she was also firm and expected a lot from the people she trusted. It is a tribute to her, that a mere look of disappointment from Luz, sufficed to send the message that things would be done on time and correctly next time. Luz told me that she was demanding because she was working on behalf of those who had already given the best years of their lives to contribute to a society which sometimes ignored them or marginalized them. Several times during my stay,infected by Luz´enthusiasm, I was ready to give up my program and join Luz in HelpAge. She took my desires seriously because she knew that I meant it. It would be fun to work together. Sometimes, we even read each others´minds. But then, she would put her hand on my arm and tell me that there is a lot of work to do but that I should finish my program first. I am saddened by the realization that now I will not be able to work with Luz in her many projects at HelpAge. But maybe I already have --- just by sharing her thoughts and enthusiasm while a guest at her house. Thank you very much for enriching the life of my dearest friend by sharing the passion of doing your best to better the lives of people all over the world who have earned the right to be respected, cared for and appreciated in their third stage of life. ¡Muchas gracias! ¡Viva Luz!

  • Miguel Huertas (15 October 2011)

    Yesterday we gave the last goodbye in physical form to this wonderful and extraordinary human being who was Luz Barreto, but she will always be in our hearts and thinking like a light to guide us to continue working for the poorest people in Peru especially for the older adults, hopefully from HelpAge International is supporting further work Luz left us, as promised James Blackburm Latin American Regional Representative

  • Bethany Brown (HelpAge USA) (15 October 2011)

    Our thoughts go out to Luz' family and many friends. We have lost a brilliant thinker and passionate ally. She will be deeply missed.

  • Dr. Prakash Tyagi (14 October 2011)

    We at GRAVIS are deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Luz Barreto. We send her family our love and deepest condolences. I did not have the privilege of knowing her personally but I am honored that I am a part of the same network which she contributed so much to. May her soul rest in peace.

  • Linda Nakakande (Uganda Country Coordinator) (14 October 2011)

    On behalf of HelpAge International staff in Uganda, our affiliate and partners we send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Luz Barreto. We pray that God the Almighty gives the family strength during these difficult moments. HelpAge International will live to remember Luz’s unwavering effort towards uplifting the plight of older persons across the world. May Luz’s soul rest in eternal peace.

  • Tilak de Zoysa (HelpAge Chair) (14 October 2011)

    just can't believe that Luz is no more. Please convey Sunil's and my heartfelt deepest sympathies to all her loved ones.
    We have lost a dear friend who was someone so caring gentle and loving.
    Luz was a dedicated member of the HAI Board who demonstrated a special passion for her work with total commtment to uplift the lives of older people globally, and in particular those in the Latin American region.
    She was always a team player and her contribution was way above average.
    We have very fond memories of her visit to Sri Lanka and will treasure the kind words she expressed after she returned home.
    Her words of encouragement and good wishes meant so much to me at the time of taking over the Chair of HAI.

    May the blessings of all the Gods she believed in and the Noble Triple Gem be always with her.

  • Mohammed elfatih Elalim (14 October 2011)

    On behalf of the family of Sudanese Society in Care of Older People (SSCOP) we send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Luz Barreto

  • Kani Soin (HelpAge global ambassador) (14 October 2011)

    This is such sad news. Luz was always so alive and warm and passionate about the cause of older people and the disadvantaged that we have really lost a good friend and an outstanding advocate of the elderly. She will be much missed.

  • Julius Kabiru Karaya (HelpAge Kenya) (14 October 2011)

    On behalf of HelpAge Kenya and our partners we send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Luz Barreto. It’s our prayer that the Almighty showers the family with peace beyond human understanding and give them the strength during this difficult time. Her efforts towards uplifting the plight of older persons across the world will certainly be missed.

  • Gacheru Maina (HelpAge International Kenya) (14 October 2011)

    On behalf of us all in the HelpAge Africa network, we send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of our board member Luz Barreto. We salute her dedication to HelpAge and the work she did for older people in Latin America and world. She has left an amazing legacy.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time.

  • Silvia Gascon (HelpAge board member) (14 October 2011)

    Luz was a sister for me. It does more than 20 years that I knew her for the first time in HelpAge's meeting in Peru.

    She received me smiling with his eyes and hugging with her heart. She gave me a portfolio of the Network of Peruvian Women, in which she was working for the rights of the older women.

    It is not necessary to tell you about our confidences, our happy moments, the times shared in the Board, our conversations in the night, happiness and sadness for the fight and for the defense of the older people's rights in Latin America Region..

    Luz, was a person of integrity. Her work with and for the older people will illuminate forever our work in the region and beyond.

    I cannot say with words, the pain that I feel.

    It is a very sad day, and our next Board will be very difficult.

  • Matthew Cherian (helpAge board member) (14 October 2011)

    I am really sorry to hear this tragic news of Luz Barreto . She was an enthusiastic champion of the elderly rights movement.

    My suggestion is to set up a Chair in a South American University in her memory

    Please convey our heartfelt condolences to the family .

  • Dr. M.S. Boikhan (14 October 2011)

    We (Pakistan Medico International) Share your grief together with our family
    of Helpage. Luz served humanity, we shares his goals and continue to work
    for the achievemnet of the same. We pray for his soul may God bless him in
    heavens.



    May God give your family strength to bear this difficult time.

    With prayer for the departed soul.

  • Kizito Chiwala (LA Regional Emergencies and DRR Officer) (14 October 2011)

    I remember you from the 2007 Earthquake in Pisco. I was new to the job and totally lost, yet there you were performing one of the best inductions I have ever had in my professional life. Ever since, my way of treating new comers to HelpAge changed for the better. As many have already mentioned, it will be very hard to find words to describe the massive contributions you made in fighting for the rights of the most deprived and vulnerable. Lima will never be the same without you. QUE EN PAZ DESCANCES QUERIDA LUZ!

  • Susannah Taylor (13 October 2011)

    I am deeply saddened by this news.
    Luz will be greatly missed as an inspiration and a friend.
    We send our condolences from the HelpAge Colombia Team.

  • Fernando Valencia (13 October 2011)

    Es dificil describir en unas cuantas palabras lo que significaba Luz para Helpage nternational, solo sabemos que Helpage International ha sufrido una gran perdida con la ausencia de Luz Barreto.

  • Gabriel DeBarros (13 October 2011)

    A great loss.
    You will always be remembered in hearts of 1.7 million Mozambicans older people who were inspired by you to continue fighting for ageing rights.
    The shocking waves from this sense less tragedy will be felt, not only in Latin America but all over the world including in African savannahs, mountains, lakes, rivers and Mozambican slums, villages and remote areas where the majority of the poor and vulnerable are left behind in the fight against poverty.
    The world is becoming more and more a better place for older people, because of legacy of people like you Luz (light in Portuguese) Barreto, who take the time and their lives to do nice things for others in the way you always did.
    Thank you so so much, may you rest in peace assured that we will continue you legacy.
    You will never be forgotten.
    Let you soul rest in PEACE in the feet of ALMIGHTY.
    We love you sister...

  • Alex Kalache (13 October 2011)

    ...early this week Richard and I were sharing our sadness faced with the news about Luz. Then, her death was imminent - now the loss is infinite.

    (HelpAge global ambassador)

  • Pham Hoai Giang (13 October 2011)

    So sad to hear about the loss Luz Barreto. I can not believe that happens too suddently and too soon to Luz. So sorry and so painful. It just happens before the Board Meeting that we are all excited to meet each other again on HelpAge work. I personnaly so regret and will miss her alot. We have to work harder to continue the work that Luz left with us. Luz is always with us!

    (HelpAge board member from Vietnam Women's Union

  • Caroline D (13 October 2011)

    Very sad news indeed. Luz was a warm and wonderful woman who will be much missed and fondly remembered. Condolences to her family and friends.

  • Caroline D (13 October 2011)

    Very sad news indeed. Luz was a warm and wonderful woman who will be much missed and fondly remembered. Condolences to her family and friends.

  • Sarah (13 October 2011)

    Dominika, programme officer in Sudan:

    "This is a great loss indeed, what beautiful words to remember her by.

    Condolences to everyone who knew & worked for her. I am sure she will be sorely missed by many."

  • Sarah (13 October 2011)

    Dominika, programme officer in Sudan:

    "This is a great loss indeed, what beautiful words to remember her by.

    Condolences to everyone who knew & worked for her. I am sure she will be sorely missed by many."

  • Sarah (13 October 2011)

    Eduardo Klien, Regional Representative for East Asia/Pacific:

    "Querido James,

    He quedado anonadado por la noticia de la perdida de Luz. Siempre estuve al tanto de su inquebrantable quehacer en favor de quienes necesitan una mano de apoyo, de un corazon solidario.

    Por favor, expresa nuestras condolencias a su familia y amigos en nombre de quienes, en tierras lejanas, trabajamos con los mismos ideales que Luz."

  • Sarah (13 October 2011)

    Eduardo Klien, Regional Representative for East Asia/Pacific:

    "Querido James,

    He quedado anonadado por la noticia de la perdida de Luz. Siempre estuve al tanto de su inquebrantable quehacer en favor de quienes necesitan una mano de apoyo, de un corazon solidario.

    Por favor, expresa nuestras condolencias a su familia y amigos en nombre de quienes, en tierras lejanas, trabajamos con los mismos ideales que Luz."

  • Sarah (13 October 2011)

    Charles Knox-Vydmanov, Social Protection Policy Officer:

    "There's not much more than I can add to what James has said, but it is a truly sad day. In the short time I knew Luz she stood out as one of the people who most represent what the HelpAge network is all about. It's a real loss. Perhaps the only solace is being able to look at the changes now taking place for older people in Peru as a result of the work she has played such a leading role in. As James says, she has left an immense legacy."

  • Sarah (13 October 2011)

    Sonja Van Osch, HelpAge's Programme Director in the occupied Palestinian territories:

    "Very sad that we have lost Luz, please do send the condolences of the oPt team to the family of Luz."

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