News & Stories

A new degree, a new life

An inspirational Nursing graduate is changing lives in Africa.

Diana Butler began studying Nursing at the age of 40. Her decision to go to University changed her life. And in turn, she is changing the lives of those living in poverty in Africa.

Diana is the CEO and Co-Founder of the Tasmanian-based organisation Care for Africa Foundation.

“We work in Tanzania, in six outlying rural communities which live in abject poverty. 

“The humble beginnings were with a group of emergency nurses that wanted to help this community in Africa. We sent a shipping container over of medical aid. From bandages to beds- everything."

When I arrived there everything went to a small hospital in the area. I just looked at these people and thought, they’ve got no foreign aid, no water, no health care. I said to the people, what do you want? I’m going to help you.

"My days as an emergency nurse have been fantastic. We are taught to triage, and in my work with Care for Africa I think, what is a category one? Water. Safe, clean water. So water is the fundamental thing that we do."

Diana said the Foundations looks after a population base of about 16,000 people, and in addition, people from other communities walk for kilometres to collect water from the well.

We also run a mobile health clinic, so we work alongside local Tanzanian medical professionals and now we’ve got a really effective little clinic. We employ local Tanzanian people and we do education programs.

"With the education program, we do a triage, we do de-worming, we treat malaria, we diagnose malaria, and we refer them to other organisations," Diana said. 

"We also support education programs in the schools, we sponsor children, we run teach the teacher programs, we do social enterprise, bee-keeping, fish farming- there is a lot that brings the health and well-being of the whole community. They’re all very interlinked."

The Care for Africa Foundation also supports educational programs.

I studied a Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Tasmania. I was 40 when I went back to do my education. I was so proud to get a degree. It was just one of the most special moments, and my three boys came to my graduation.

"Nursing is fantastic because it is so flexible and it’s so broad. You can work in an acute setting, you can work out in the community. And you can work out in Africa….it’s really emotional work. I think it’s in my blood. I think I was born to do it."

I don’t know whether I could have done this work in Africa had I not had that base degree. I got so much out of it. So much. It just gave me new life. Best thing I ever did.