From left: Joyce Forsyth (associate director of nursing, Wairau), Linda Ryan (associate director of nursing, Nelson), Annette Milligan (clinical director of women, child and youth), Pamela Kiesanowski (director of nursing and midwifery) and Lynne Bary (charge nurse manager, ward 9, Nelson Hospital). Photo: Kate Russell.

Nurses helping nurses

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A group of senior Nelson nurses are helping to educate the orphaned children of nurses in third world countries.

Last month, they raised $2000 for the Girl Child Education Fund (GCEF) at an International Nurse’s Day dinner and charity auction at Chapel Cafe.

The GCEF is run by the Florence Nightingale International Foundation and currently supports 182 girls in Africa.

The money they raised will go towards supporting the primary and secondary schooling of girls under the age of 18 whose nurse parent or parents have died, paying for fees, uniforms, shoes and books.

Nelson Marlborough Health clinical director of women, child and youth, Annette Milligan, says she has been interested in supporting the charity for years.

“I think it just touches the heart of nurses. We feel humbled to do something to help the orphaned daughters of our colleagues internationally.”

And, Annette knows how much of an impact their contribution will make to these girls lives.

“For example, there is the story of one girl from Africa who went on to become a PhD student in Seoul. When you think of the background she came from and what this fund did for her life – that’s the difference it can make,” she says.

It also helps to save children’s lives, raises lifetime incomes, lowers HIV/AIDS rates, reduces violence and improves maternal health.

Annette says it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the magnitude of problems in developing counties.

“This focuses on a smallish number, but makes a profound difference. The impact of educating these girls is enormous – they would not have attended school otherwise.”

“Hopefully next year we can raise even more money.”