“If I can stop one heart from breaking, if I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain. I shall not live in vain.”
Wrote poet Emily Dickinson. And the efforts of the Save a Child’s Heart Foundation have certainly not been in vain given that they have now successfully treated their 5000th child.
This Israeli NGO has treated children from 59 countries, including more than 2,500 Palestinian patients from the West Bank and Gaza, free of cost, mending their hearts, regardless of religion, gender or nationality.
“There is nothing more gratifying than being part of saving a life,” Lior Sasson, the organisation’s lead surgeon, said. “To be able to put aside politics and help a human being in need—a child is the miracle the doctors at Save a Child’s Heart perform every day.”
A not-for-profit, Save a Child’s Heart has been running since 1995, treating 5,000 children suffering from congenital and rheumatic heart disease in countries where adequate care is unavailable. Approximately 50% of the children are from the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Iraq and Morocco, more than 40% are from Africa, and the remainder are from Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Americas.
In 2016, the organisation made global headlines after saving the life of an Afghani one-year-old after a relative of the baby, an English teacher, had turned to social media for help and had found it from a retired US State Department official living in Haifa.
Its work being so crucial, Save a Child’s Heart won the prestigious UN Population Award last year for its work with children in developing countries.
As well as treating children, the NGO based in Holon, Israel, also offers a comprehensive training program within Israel for doctors and nurses from developing countries as well as leading surgical and teaching missions to partner countries.
“The training I am receiving from Save a Child’s Heart will do nothing less than enable me to go home to Africa and save children’s lives,” Dr Godwin Godfrey, Tanzania’s first paediatric cardiac surgeon said.
Patients are flown to Israel accompanied by family members, and they remain at the Save a Child’s Heart children’s home for all the time needed for recovery. Currently, the house hosts more than 30 children from Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Iraq, Gaza and the West Bank.
Click here to read more about this life-saving organisation