Helen Loewenstein was born and grew up in Nottingham. She studied for her midwifery degree at the University of Nottingham, and having a keen interest in developing countries, she decided to undertake her elective placement for her degree in Zambia, which she absolutely loved. Following her graduation Helen became a midwife at Nottingham City Hospital.
Helen‘s ambition to work in a developing country led her to look for opportunities and in 2016 she found one. She travelled to Liberia for two weeks to help deliver two in-service training courses for midwives on behalf of a UK-based charity. She so impressed those with whom she worked that she was asked by the charity to return to Liberia later that year to negotiate an extended in-service midwifery training programme with the Liberian Ministry of Health. The programme was agreed and Helen was asked by the charity to coordinate the year-long programme. From October 2016 until September 2017 she took a sabbatical from her work in Nottingham to do this. During that year 375 Liberian midwives, birth attendants and ancillary staff attended a series of two-day in-service courses across Liberia.
Helen suffered distressing bullying as a teenager which left her with emotional scars, pain and hurt – and with low self-esteem. She had always wanted to find the right partner and to have children but she had developed a medical condition which was physically and psychologically draining. A combination of these factors drove her to take her life in December 2018. However, even in the weeks and days before she died, bolstered by so many positive experiences in Liberia, and surrounded by her many wonderful friends, Helen was upbeat, doing much and looking forward. That’s how we should remember Helen, someone who brought an added dimension, who touched so many people and lit up the lives of those around her. As Helen’s brother said at her funeral service, “All of the huge changes she made to so many lives all over the world were motivated by her earnest and unconditional love. It is for that, above everything, that I hope she is remembered.”
Helen was generous, thoughtful, talented, funny, passionate, loving, vivacious and much more. She had a huge heart, a strong and generous spirit and an acute sense of right and wrong, along with an incredible will and determination, which made her a powerful force for humanity. She had the biggest and brightest smile that lit up her surroundings and filled those around her with joy. Through her sensitivity and generosity she touched the lives of a great many people in the UK and Liberia.