Michael Newman 1944-2013

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Michael Newman, one of the founders of World Neighbours Canada (WNC).

Michael died on Saturday, Feb. 23, in his own Oliver, B.C., Canada homewith his family by his side.

In 1989 Michael was part of a small group that founded WNC, a group of volunteer directors who will continue to raise money among Canadians to support and partner with several development projects among the poorest peoples around the world.

Throughout his 23-year participation, Michael’s main focus was to monitor the implementation of WNC-funded programs in Honduras and Guatemala. These programs educated peasant farmers (campesinos) in sustainable, low-technology, agricultural techniques appropriate for their local conditions. He watched campesino facilitators, whose work was supervised by Honduran and Guatemalan people trained at area agricultural colleges, provide information and training to others. From successful, improved, agricultural practices, the projects expanded to include improvements in the health and self-sufficiency of campesino families and the empowerment of village women.

Michael took great pleasure and satisfaction when he saw how people in whole villages were able to make their own lives better over time. His proudest moments were when he saw pride and confidence develop in people who had been marginalized; formerly malnourished children growing up healthy, and campesino women gaining entrepreneurial skills they would use to raise the standard of living of their families.

In addition to his World Neighbours work, Michael will be remembered for his many contributions to the Oliver community, and for his generosity, kindness and mentorship. He was the publisher of the Oliver Chronicle community newspaper; a board member of the growers’ association and the concert society as well as a rural director and trustee for the irrigation district. More recently, Michael was elected chairman of the Oliver and District Heritage Society where he oversaw major changes and a thorough renovation of the Oliver Museum. He also sat as an Oliver Town Councillor, and was an active participant in Oliver Rotary.

There was a Memorial for Michael on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 2 p.m.

Michael’s family requests that those who wish to remember him with a donation, give to World Neighbours Canada through its website, http://worldneighbours.ca, or by mail to P.O. Box 1771, Oliver, B.C., V0H 1T0.

Letters of condolence can be sent to Celia and the family at 101 Willows Place, Oliver B.C., Canada V0H 1T4.