Studied in Nigeria and obtained a Master’s Degree in History & Diplomacy before moving to Ireland. She is a community activist and mentor, who has been active as an advocate for Immigrants especially children & women.
Helen was involved with the Galway Refugee Support Group as a Committee Member and later became Chair of the organisation. Also involved with Integrating Ireland, the Galway Intercultural Forum and other migrant led groups and organisations.
She has been guest speaker at the following:
- POWER Mentoring Conference titled “Ireland 2012: What migrant women can do for you”.
- Seeking the Village – Parenting Event (Dublin): 2014
- Youth Christian Mentoring Programme – May 2016
- Chairperson/Speaker: World Refugee Day (Galway) – June 2016
- Facilitator/Moderator/Report – Focus Group for Sport Inclusion Network, West of Ireland: FAI/EU (SPORT INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND GIRLS FROM MIGRANT AND MINORITY, April, 2019)
- Panellist - Contemporary Ireland - Experiences of the Social & Cultural Landscapes of Ireland (University of Sanctuary/Community of Sanctuary), May 2019)
- Guest Speaker/Panellist - Asylum Seekers, Refugees: Mental Health a conversation (The Bridge Project/Places of Sanctuary Galway, February 14, 2020)
- Guest Speaker/Panellist - NUIG Sanctuary in Politics Programme August 2020.
Helen has also been involved with groups campaigning for the scrapping of the direct provision system with politicians, academics and individuals. Has made presentations to the Seanad on the issues around direct provision and the need to abolish the system. Also signed up to various petitions to the Justice Minister campaigning for the scrapping of the system.
As part of her Masters in Family Support, Helen highlighted the issues around direct provision especially for children and women. Her thesis was centred on the difficulties of family life in direct provision. Then the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre launched her report which also highlighted the difficulties of parenting in direct provision.
She was also invited to present a paper at the Parallel session of the UNESCO Child & Family Research centre, 6th Biennial Conference in 2013. The paper was titled Faith: A Bolstering Factor in Parenting in Direct Provision and can be accessed at:
Helen published a Journal Article with her former lecturers in the UNESCO Child & Family Research Centre - Helen Uchechukwu Ogbu, Bernadine Brady & Louise Kinlen (2014) Parenting in Direct Provision: Parents' Perspectives Regarding Stresses and Supports, Child Care in Practice, 20:3, 256-269, DOI: 10.1080/13575279.2013.875462
She has also been involved with the TCRAF-Eu (Transnational Child raising Arrangements between Africa and Europe) as a Surveyor and Researcher.
She attended the INSPIRE Programme and the EQUIP Campaign School (Ireland's first ever political campaign school) by the Women for Election.
Helen was a member of the Patient Council of Saolta University Healthcare Group (2016-2020). She was also a member of the Social Inclusion Committee Group with the Social Work Department of the Child & Family Agency (TUSLA); 2016-2018
Helen volunteers as a Support Worker with Sexual Assault Unit (SATU) of Galway Rape Crisis Centre and also Court Accompaniment Officer for Survivors. Due to her interest in supporting families & children she set up the ‘Family Support Clinic’ at the ARD Family Resource Centre, Doughiska, Galway and has been volunteering in that role since 2017. She holds her clinic every Thursday supporting families, assisting them with various needs and signposting them to various agencies. She was appointed a board member of the ARD Family Resource Centre, Doughiska, Galway in 2020. Helen has also been involved with Faith organisation and is currently the Administrator and board member of the Galway City Baptist Church.
She has served in various capacities on her ethnic cultural group as Public relations Officer and President of the Igbo Progressive Union, Galway.
Participated in different programmes encouraging and empowering youths and family talk shops organised by the Union. Helen also championed the Healthy Heart Campaign with Croi Heart and Stroke Centre in 2015 and also been a cover for encouraging migrant health.
She is a person migrants in Galway would mention or come to if they need guidance, support, motivation and encouragement. She is an advocate and voice for migrants and offer support, accompaniments to various meetings and a contact for references/recommendations.
Helen also practices as a Life Coach and currently hosts the ‘Ladies Hangout’ a virtual platform for women she set up during the Covid-19 outbreak to enable women share and support one another and also to promote positive mental health. She was appointed a Peace Commissioner for Galway City and County by the Minister of State at the Department of Justice, James Browne in 2021. The appointment is an honorary, unpaid position and consists of taking statutory declarations, witnessing documents, and signing certificates and orders.
Most important she is the mother to a beautiful lady - Chinonyerem Aisling and foster carer to over 30 children from diverse culture since 2008.
Clubs and Committees
Helen works part-time with the Galway Volunteer Centre as a Project Development/Organisation Support Officer, Garda Vetting Liaison Officer and President. Helen is a Doctoral Researcher at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, University of Galway.