Penn Nursing students graduate with a profound commitment to advancing practice, research, and health around the world.

After Zia Zaidi, Nu’14, graduated, he privately organized a service trip to Pakistan for a period of 2 months, where he worked at two orphanages. He spent 3 weeks at Saba Homes, an orphanage solely for girls, and he spent 2 weeks at SOS Children’s Village Lahore, a mixed orphanage. While there, he provided healthcare maintenance education, first aid and emergency care education, professional counseling, and donation dispersion to over 200 orphans, 1000 impoverished children, as well as numerous orphanage staff mothers.


After graduation, Zia knew he wanted to help the orphans of the world. Looking at his own two sisters, he recognized the importance and potential of educating young women. Inspired by his familial and cultural ties to Pakistan, Zia wanted to find some way to invest in the future of his family’s home country. Zia knew that an investment in women’s health and well-being was an investment in the health and well-being of all within in the community.

Zia wrote a few short articles on his experiences in Pakistan and created a Facebook page where others could see his pictures and videos. This helped him secure monetary donations from family and friends to support his efforts, as well as supplies from Johnson & Johnson and the Crest Foundation.

Excerpts from one of Zia’s articles about his experience at Saba Homes, an orphanage started by Saghir and Bushra Aslam, are included below:

“As a nursing volunteer and educator at Saba Homes, I was blessed enough to see up close just how much love, attention, and charity is given to these orphan girls. I must start by saying language is a barrier when attempting to describe the beauty of not just the home but also each and every being inside it, both staff and children. When I first entered the house I noticed dozens of young girls (currently ages 5 – 17) scattered throughout its many rooms. They roamed freely throughout the house as if it were their own; virtually no room was off limits. This sentiment of belonging is one that the Aslams have worked hard to create and instill in their daughters.

Throughout my time there I was met with nothing less than the love of a parent from the Aslams and the love of sisters from the girls. The chorus of “As-salamu alaykum Zia Bhai (Peace be upon you Brother Zia)! that greeted me every day as I walked through the front door is a sound that lifted my spirit to heights previously unfounded. I gave lectures on resumé and portfolio building in order to give the girls an edge as far as how to apply to colleges/universities both in Pakistan and abroad. After reading their resumés I saw that I was looking at future policewomen, politicans, doctors, and even one girl whose dream it was to start her own Saba Homes. In order to give the girls interested in healthcare some experience and confidence in their field of choice, I also held workshops that taught them how to take vital signs and give emergency care to drowning and choking victims, victims on fire, and to those in need of CPR. In terms of healthcare promotion, I thought it was prudent to get the girls active so I taught them how to play volleyball, badminton, basketball, and 4 square.”

To read more about Zia’s experiences, please visit his website.