Help­ing peo­ple in need and lov­ing her life

Northern Outlook - - WHAT’S ON - EMMA DANGER­FIELD

A for­mer stu­dent of St Joseph’s School in Ran­giora has in­spired the next gen­er­a­tion of vol­un­teers with her com­pelling jour­ney.

Ni­cole Smit said she had no idea which di­rec­tion she was head­ing in when she left school so she took up a vol­un­teer teach­ing po­si­tion in Samoa with a friend.

Af­ter her first stint over there she was ‘‘still fid­gety’’ so she went back, plan­ning on stay­ing a few months, but this was in­ter­rupted when her fa­ther had a heart at­tack so she re­turned to New Zealand.

Her fa­ther ended up hav­ing a triple by­pass, an event that ce­mented Ni­cole’s future path.

‘‘I’d be watch­ing the nurses work and my love for nurs­ing just grew from there.

‘‘I’m now four years down the track and couldn’t imag­ine do­ing any­thing else, I re­ally love it.’’

Not con­tent with nurs­ing in a reg­u­lar first-world hos­pi­tal, Ni­cole wanted to reach out and help peo­ple in des­per­ate sit­u­a­tions around the world so she signed up with an in­ter­na­tional vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tion and set off for Uganda.

‘‘I'm now four years down the track and couldn't imag­ine do­ing any­thing else, I re­ally love it.’’

While there she met Pa­trick, the founder of char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion Rais­ing Up Hope for Uganda (RUHU), and be­gan vis­it­ing the slums twice a week, pro­vid­ing wound care and meals of rice.

He had been in­volved in the build­ing of three or­phan­ages and this year will be es­tab­lish­ing a four-acre area, the Vil­lage of Hope, which will see a com­mu­nity cen­tre, ac­com­mo­da­tion and a med­i­cal cen­tre, which Ni­cole will be in­volved in.

‘‘We want to have a labour and de­liv­ery room, with a bed, desk, chairs, ba­sic med­i­cal and clean­ing sup­plies, and med­i­ca­tion.’’

As she is fund­ing her trip her­self, she is now try­ing to raise $10,000 by Septem­ber.

Hav­ing raised $7,000 in 11 weeks for her last trip, she is quite con­fi­dent she will reach her tar­get and will be work­ing flat out to co­or­di­nate quiz nights, sell photos and raise the pro­file of her work.

She in­spired the chil­dren at St Joseph’s with her photos and sto­ries of poverty in the Ugan­dan slums, so much so that they raised $1,173 to­wards her goal with an im­promptu mufti day.

School prin­ci­pal Ben Gor­man said there had been such a buy-in from the stu­dents be­cause Ni­cole had proven that it was pos­si­ble to do any­thing in life.

Visit her Face­book page, Mak­ing a Change - Uganda 2018, to find out how you can help Ni­cole.

EMMA DANGER­FIELD/STUFF

Ni­cole Smit speaks to her for­mer school, St Joseph’s School in Ran­giora, about her time in Uganda where she is set­ting up a med­i­cal cen­tre. Pic­tured is her for­mer teacher, Mrs Mar­riott.

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