In the world of volunteering, there are people whose impact reverberates far beyond their work. Joanne Lentfer was one such person, a beacon of kindness and unwavering dedication to serving others. It is with heavy hearts here at VSA that we bid farewell to Joanne, who passed away on January 5th, leaving behind a volunteering legacy in both South Africa and, more recently, Tonga that will forever inspire and uplift.

She first volunteered with us here at VSA in 2007 in South Africa, and later, in 2019, Joanne lent her expertise, both on the ground and virtually, for Live and Learn Tonga. Her willingness to fully immerse herself in every endeavour and her boundless enthusiasm propelled projects forward and inspired those around her.

Her fellow volunteers recall fond memories of shared experiences that underscore her remarkable character. A former colleague reminisced about the joy of unexpectedly reuniting with Joanne during their VSA stint in Nuku'alofa, Tonga. Their friendship, spanning decades, was reignited, as they embarked on their missions together.

Another volunteer echoed these sentiments, describing Joanne as a force of nature - a woman of petite stature with a larger-than-life personality. “She threw herself into the work there, and she got things done with enthusiasm, drive, and full commitment to the cause and to the people of Tonga. Her can-do attitude, her energy, her courage, and at the same time her kindness and deep love for people in need were truly inspirational.”

In the wake of her passing, Joanne leaves behind a void that can never be filled—a testament to the profound impact she had on the lives of countless individuals, both near and far. To her children, David and Soana, we extend our deepest condolences. Your mother's legacy is a testament to her extraordinary character and unwavering dedication to making the world a better place. We will celebrate her remarkable life - leaving a mark on the world and inspiring us all to live with compassion, courage, and unwavering determination. Rest in peace, dear Joanne. You will be deeply missed, but your legacy will endure for time to come.