Beautiful, blond Sara died Sunday morning, August 27, from an asthma attack. She came to New Life Foundation as a volunteer at the beginning of this year and in June, because of he extraordinary marketing expertise, joined our staff to lead the New Life Marketing Team.
A skilled videographer, Sara was frequently seen around the Foundation with her professional video camera and microphone in hand. Because of her talent and dedication, we have a video record of our recent (and hilarious) New Life Olympics. She had also just completed a video explaining our mission. It debuted at an August retreat hosted by the Venerable Lama Rinchen Phuntsok from Nepal. Sara is responsible for all the videos on our website and Facebook pages. She also took and posted many of the still photographs on our blog, as well as worked tirelessly to find ways to bring more residents and volunteers to New Life.
Sara was a native of the Isle of Wight off the South Coast of England. Before beginning her world adventure, she owned and managed a digital publishing company specializing in videos and print for the sailing world.
From June through August 2011, Sara volunteered in Ghana, shooting and editing videos for the non-profit Volunteer Partnership for West Africa. One of her videos on Morianga as a nutritional supplement to help alleviate starvation in Africa was named one of five finalists in a UN Women video competition for practical ideas on how to change the world.
For three months last winter, Sara volunteered in Nepal where she produced a documentary detailing the plight of lower caste Hindu women with no rights in society or marriage. She hoped by publicizing their hardship she could help bring justice to these disenfranchised women.
Sara called the table in the New Life dining hall where she gathered her marketing team the “Corner Office.” She loved good, strong black coffee; her French press was usually at arm’s reach. She adored our Foundation dogs, Foxy and Jack, and took it upon herself to buy them food and fill their bowls every evening.
She was also our own special “bread fairy.” Often on weekends, she’d rise at two or three in the morning to make fresh bread for breakfast. With her computer playing her favorite music, she mixed, kneaded and filled her dough with sweet and savory flavors. None of us will ever forget the glorious smell of fresh baking bread in the dining hall.
This week local monks came to New Life to conduct a Buddhist ceremony to give Sara safe passage to her next destination. It was a lovely ceremony. No doubt, if she had been here, she would have recorded it all.
Sara was a brave, smart and strong woman who chose to give her talents to helping make the world a better place. We are grateful for all she gave to New Life. She certainly made this a better place and us better people.
Sara Coombes will live forever in our hearts and minds. She is too special to be forgotten.
We send our deepest condolences to her family and friends back in England.