We are thrilled to announce our Nurses in Action Ambassador, Helen Zahos! Helen is a Humanitarian, Emergency Nurse and Paramedic who has volunteered in disaster areas around the world. World Youth International will be working closely with Helen to further develop and expand our Nurses In Action program as well as empower our Volunteers, ensuring we can continue to make a positive and sustainable difference to the vulnerable communities we work within.

We are particularly excited to announce Helen as our Ambassador in 2020, which has been announced as “International Year of the Nurse and Midwife” in honour of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of ‘modern nursing’. World Youth International is aligning with this global campaign with a series of exciting initiatives throughout 2020 to celebrate. This includes our partnership with Helen, which aligns with our aim to educate and empower Nurses on a global scale, inspiring positive change where its most needed.

“Year of the Nurse means a lot to me; I was there when they announced it at the World Health Assembly in Geneva and it was a significant moment for me. It is our year to be recognised in the community for the work that we do.” Helen Zahos, Ambassador – Nurses in Action (World Youth International).

“In celebration of Year of the Nurse, I marked the beginning of 2020 with a trip to Kenya on World Youth International’s Nurses In Action Volunteer Program. It opened my eyes like never before. I saw that we can empower the next generation of nurses by encouraging the sharing of skills and knowledge across cultures. By caring for some of the world’s most vulnerable people in Kenya, alongside Kenyan Nurses and Midwives, I learnt more than what I could physically give, particularly due to the lack of medical supplies, equipment and facilities. I often couldn’t escalate care due to the limitations of the available equipment, and this was heartbreaking, but also highlighted that we have a long way to go in achieving the United Nation’s ‘Sustainable Development Goal 3; ensuring healthy lives and promote well-being for all.”

Helen grew up on Groote Eylandt, a remote Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria in the Northern Territory of Australia. She completed her Nursing and Paramedic studies in Darwin, where she was working in the Emergency Department and was involved with the Royal Darwin Hospital Response to the Bali Bombings. Helen has volunteered in Iraq in IDP Camps, in Nepal after the earthquake and Philippines after the Typhoon, as well as assisting during the Syrian refugee crisis on the border of Greece. She has worked in Emergency Departments in Tertiary hospitals; in Remote Indigenous Communities; attended Disaster Responses both locally and internationally, and worked with Asylum seekers and Refugees.

Helen is recognised internationally for her volunteer humanitarian work and has been nominated for multiple awards including Australian of the year QLD 2016 and 2017. She has been a panel and keynote speaker for various international humanitarian events for agencies such as the United Nations.

“Its an honour to have Helen represent World Youth International as our Nurses In Action Ambassador. She is such an inspiration, empowering others in her field, and using her knowledge and skills to care for those who may not be cared for otherwise. She is a strong advocate of our mission and vision, and shares our aim to enhance quality of life, strengthen communities and reduce poverty through sustainable development projects,” said Terry Hoey, General Manager, World Youth International.

Throughout the year, Helen will be involved in our International Year of the Nurse celebrations. This includes travelling throughout Australia to be involved in various conferences and events, sharing her experience and insights from her time in Kenya on the Nurses in Action program, and how other Australians can also embrace and benefit from a unique, powerful and immersive Volunteer experience.

“During my team’s Nurses In Action placement at Mama Ann’s Odede Community Health Centre we hosted sessions for the Centre’s permanent local nursing staff and community health workers, providing education on nutrition, diabetes and maternal health. This then empowered them to educate the Odede locals and encourage them to receive the care they needed at the Centre. According to World Health Organisation, the largest needs-based shortages of nurses and midwives are in South East Asia and Africa. Having the opportunity to work alongside Kenyan nurses and midwives, gaining insight and sharing skills has been invaluable to me,” Helen Zahos, Ambassador – Nurses in Action (World Youth International).

Learn more about the Nurses in Action program and how you too can inspire change where it’s most needed here.

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