22 June 1952 – 26 September 2019
Heli was born in Paattinen, Finland in 1952. As a child, her mother Mirjam Lahti worked hard from home and made sure to teach her children about the love of Jesus and God ́s promise of eternal life. As a 23 year-old young adult, she completed her medical studies at the University of Turku, Finland with a focus in Pediatrics and subsequently received a Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the School of Tropical Medicine from Liverpool University in the United Kingdom. As a doctor for the Finnish Missionary Society she then left to Senegal to follow her calling, where she met her future husband, Ambassador Sham L. Bathija.
Their life continued in New York before coming to Geneva and settling down to build a beautiful family. From 1985 to 2012 she worked as a Senior Official at the World Health Organization Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, where she coordinated re-search studies on reproductive health, involving more than 50 countries and was in charge of research capacity strengthening and giving technical support on program development.
Since 2012, she founded and lead Hope For the Babies International (HOBI), an NGO with the aim to increase the chances of survival of the newborn babies in developing countries by providing them hand-knitted sweaters. She also was Director for Knowledge Management and Sharing at the Geneva Foundation of Medical Education and Research, specializing in on-line training courses for health personnel across the world including training on mHealth. She pursued these endeavors with strength, passion and conviction until the very end.
Dr. Heli Bathija’s love for developing countries, children, reproductive health worldwide, particularly in Africa and for Women have been globally well documented. She touched the lives of thousands and has brought love and a lot of positivity to the entire humanity. As a known Lutheran Christian, she will be remembered in all corners of the world.
We thank all those who have sent messages of sympathy and support. We hope to be able to reply to all of you personally in due course.
May God give her Peace.
Sham L. Bathija (Spouse), Tarun K. Bathija (Son), Duran K. Bathija (Son), Annuka K. Bathija (Daughter) & Anita Bathija (Daughter-in-Law)
Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving for the Life of Heli Bathija was held on Tuesday 19th October at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva, Heli’s church home for 30 years. The ceremony was recorded and can be viewed here.
Opening songs in part one:
Song 1 Shivo Hum
Lord Shiva’s prayer for the departed soul
Sung in Hindi by Gobind R. Bathija
Song 2 Maa on niin kaunis
Text by Bernhard Severin Ingemann; translation J.C. Aaberg
Sung in Finnish by Tarun, Duran, and Annuka Bathija
Fair is creation, fairer God’s heaven, blest is the marching pilgrim throng.
Onward through lovely regions of beauty go we to paradise with song.
Ages are coming, ages are passing, nations arise and disappear.
Never the joyful message from heaven
wanes through the soul’s brief sojourn here.
Angels proclaimed it once to the shepherds, henceforth from soul to soul it passed:
unto all people peace and rejoicing, to us is a Savior born at last.