“We are happy to risk our lives to get that reward of rescuing a child”

In the latest episode of her Better Angels podcast, Theirworld President Sarah Brown talks about heroes - to Raed al Saleh of the White Helmets, tragic British MP Jo Cox's husband Brendan and Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey.

What makes a hero? What drives ordinary people to rush into a building that has been bombed, to nurse patients with a deadly disease or to help their community rebuild after a war?

These are the questions asked by Theirworld President Sarah Brown in the latest episode of her Better Angels podcast.

Her guests include Raed al Saleh of the White Helmets, the volunteer Syrian civil defence force who have become known across the world for rescuing more than 70,000 people from the rubble. 

She also speaks to Brendan Cox, whose wife Jo was the British MP murdered in June; Pauline Cafferkey, the nurse who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone; and Ousmane Ba, one of Theirworld’s inspiring Global Youth Ambassadors.

Asked what message he has for young people who want to help, Raed says: “Love the people around you. Help your communities.

“When you work to help your communities, you’re actually spreading love and peace among each others.”

More than 140 White Helmets have been killed carrying out their dangerous duties.

Raed says: “We know that we will be at risk but nobody can feel the great feelings that we have when we rescue a child or any civilian. 

“This is the biggest reward for us when we get a person alive. We are always happy to risk our lives in order to get that reward.”

The work of the White Helmets was promoted by Jo Cox in the British Parliament. Her husband Brendan tells Sarah: “The thing that impressed Jo so much about the White Helmets was their bravery. When other people run away from danger, they run towards it.

“In one of the darkest situations imaginable, to have that shining beacon of humanity made her hope that something could turn around in Syria.”

Talking about her work in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak that killed more than 11,000 people, Pauline Cafferkey says: “All of us that went out there to do aid work, we’re not like crazy, risk-taking sort of people – we’re just people that care.

“I was just unlucky and I caught a virus doing my job. It was just sheer bad luck – I dealt with it and that was it.”

Listen to the podcast here

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Sarah talks to politicians, entertainers, activists and world leaders about their inspiration, their hopes and their dreams at a time of enormous international upheaval.

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