A conversation with Helen Catton
Having studied psychology, Helen initially worked in Japan for five years. She volunteered in South East Asia, seeing not only a great need for compassionate health care and education but also was struck by the imbalance of life that seems to be a roll of the dice. Helen believes that her privilege of being brought up with parents, opportunity, shelter and health care creates a responsibility for her to help those who were not as lucky to be born into what we consider basic human right.
She returned to the UK and studied nursing and gained practical care giving experience working in a London hospital.
She took a nursing course in tropical diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, then worked on the Thai Burmese border for two years mostly helping the Burmese, Mon and Karen who had little access to health care.
In 2010 she went to Angkor Hospital for Children which is a pediatric teaching hospital in order to manage the Satellite Clinic from the ground located one hour from Siem Reap in Cambodia. .
She dove in and found herself to be the only foreigner in the town and a large cultural and linguistic barrier. Her assimilation into Cambodia rural culture was started by living “in a modest, umm, house, with no running water; yet it was replete with spiders, scorpions and rats. Despite the cold water bucket baths and basic living conditions, she stuck it out, and is now transitioning the leadership of Satellite to the senior Cambodian staff.
Helen recently came to Vancouver and was a sought after speaker at hospitals and private gatherings. She has power point presentations about the hospital, she collects appropriate medical supplies and even donations of knitted hats for neonates and premature babies. Helen is creating awareness and interest for a community that is in desperate need of help. It is the kind of help that seems easy to give. “When there is so little, just a few things go a long way.”
Angkor Hospital for Children, founded by Kenro Izu, annual budget is actually 6 million dollars.
Taste The World fundraiser promotes awareness and donors and funds the most pressing needs at the hospital. Because it is not a restricted donation it can fill areas of greatest need in the hospital.
“If I have my health and energy and something to share I want to share that privilege to balance out that equation.”
“ “I feel extremely grateful to be able to do a job I am extremely passionate about. It is not just a job but a passion.”
Helen Catton spoke at the last two TTW events. She is British nurse who has worked in Asia for 12 years she heads up the satellite hospital for AHC and leads the Cambodian team to provide healthcare to rural population.