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Christine Jaeger, MGC 1970 leaver

Malvern Alumnae 100 Tine Jaeger

My destiny emerged one evening when, with other Hatfield girls, I saw a film about relief work after an earthquake. I was gripped. By the end of the evening, the shy, idealistic, sheltered 14 year old me knew I wanted to ‘do something overseas with suffering people’. I wasn’t clever enough for Medical Studies; and Nursing, not being a degree subject, didn’t fit with expectations that most MGC girls should go on to university. So, influenced by my father’s interest, I took a Biochemistry BSc. On its completion I knew this was not for me so I refocused and trained as a nurse and midwife. This led to four years working as a District Nurse in a deprived part of Brixton, London where none of the houses in one of ‘my’ streets had hot water or an indoor toilet.

The pull overseas continued, leading me to work as a Community Health Nurse in a UN-run camp for Cambodian refugees in Thailand. My MGC days had taught me the resilience needed to survive and enjoy living in a community! The work was varied and, apart from running routine clinics and making home visits with refugee health workers, occasionally it included mass immunisation campaigns, managing cholera epidemics, and tracking potentially rabid dogs. I stayed for six years, until a peace accord was signed and the refugees went home.

Thereafter I worked for 15 years as a Community Health Advisor to various charities. The work involved conducting needs assessments and evaluating projects in many vulnerable countries such as Afghanistan, Mauritania, and Colombia. The people I met, often poor, illiterate and marginalised, continue to inspire me.

What does success look like?

Discovering who you really are.

What is your best piece of advice?

Seek to fulfil your life according to your own passion and gifting, not others’ expectations of you.