Helen Bamber OBE dedicated her life and work to supporting survivors of torture and human cruelty for more than 70 years. Helen began her career in 1945 at the age of 20 when she went to work with survivors of the holocaust in the former concentration camp of Bergen Belsen. Many thousands remained in the camp until the early 1950s, unable to find a country willing to accept them. “Our job,” she said, “was to resource and strengthen the survivors, to find meaning for their survival.” Finding meaning for survival became a theme throughout her life’s work and remains a cornerstone of the work that we continue today.
At the age of 80 – Helen founded the Helen Bamber Foundation with the sole purpose to provide care, safety and dignity to those who had nowhere else to turn. In her mind, whether you had suffered state sponsored torture, or had been brutalised by criminal gangs, trafficked for labour or sexual exploitation, or had suffered prolonged domestic violence, in her mind – that constituted torture.
Today – our team consists of GP’s, psychiatrists, psychologists, body experts, therapists, lawyers and welfare and housing experts. We have the equivalent of 16 full time members of staff. But our team also has more than 60 volunteers who give up their time on a weekly basis to work at the Foundation. We are honoured to be the custodians of Helen’s legacy and distilled knowledge to support the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society.