The word HELWEL is derived from the
Zululand Churches Health and Welfare Association, an organisation
with its roots in the early 1960s in the historic area of Natal,
South Africa, where the Zulu Nation prospered in the 18th and 19th
centuries. Helwel was created to serve the under-privileged people
of the region by the Christian churches and hospitals.
Drs Anthony and Maggie Barker worked for 35 years
at the Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital at Nqutu. When they, and
other medical staff and volunteers from this and other hospitals
(such as St Mary's Hospital KwaMagwaza), returned to the UK in 1976,
they founded Helwel Trust to provide ongoing financial support for
the work in the area now known as KwaZulu Natal. Helwel Trust is
also concerned to raise awareness of the many social and medical
problems that are endemic in the region, not least of which is HIV/AIDS.
Further information about the Barkers can be found through the Alan Paton Centre at the University of Pietermaritzburg and the University of Birmingham Archives.