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A proper tribute page will be made for our beloved Sophia shortly…
Beloved sister, daughter, partner and dear friend of many in the BabyTree Projects family, Sophia Saly, sadly lost her battle with cancer yesterday. Her family were with her when she slipped away in the early morning. Our thoughts and love go to the Saly family, her fiancée Silv and particularly her brother Koky Saly, BTP’s president, who has been by her side for much of the last few months.
Sophia has been an integral part of BabyTree Projects from its very beginning, and frankly it’s hard imagining it without her. In 2006 she joined two of her brothers, Koky and Toly, and other brave volunteers to build BabyTree Projects’ first school in Sophy Village. Building a school in the wet season is not an easy task. The stories we heard of the daily downpours, the ever present mud, fighting over the last potato, harrowing truck journeys and other such hardships were told in such a way to inspire us to volunteer for the next project (in the dry season).
In the months and years that followed she was instrumental in founding the charity in Victoria and shaping its values and approach. Sophia did not involve herself in the administration or management of the organisation, but threw herself into organising countless fundraising events (when we could pull her away from her duties at Carlton Football Club) and used her incredible ability to get the job done and done well. Seemingly effortlessly she drew many supporters and volunteers to BabyTree Projects. With her contagious laughter, energy, commitment and (for those unfamiliar with it) sometimes confronting sense of humour she helped build a charity that was honest, dynamic and one that found humour in the most surprising places.
Sophia had also planned to travel to Cambodia again for the Sambour Project earlier this year, but this was thwarted by her illness. Also her absence at BTP events, particularly over the last year, made them poorer for it.
Vale and farewell Sophia Saly, in our thoughts and forever in our hearts. We love you.