This is a guest post by Stephen Hoffman
On Thursday 19th December 2013 those on the ZF (Zionist Federation) Israel Trip saw the amazing work Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) is doing to save the lives of children worldwide including in the West Bank and Gaza. For this Israeli medical organisation saving lives crosses political borders. SACH is helping Israel live up to its title of being a light upon all the nations. All this wouldn’t have been possible without the work of its founder Dr Ami Cohen, who created the organisation in 1995.
In the first hour the trip visited the Wolfson Medical Centre in Holon, Israel, which contains a team of 70 experts. The Director of International Relations and Public Relations for SACH, Tamar Shapira spoke passionately and knowledgeably about the work of the organisation. From her and the short video we were shown it was highlighted that many Palestinian children, as well as Israelis, are treated by SACH and a number of Palestinian medical workers including doctors and nurses are trained by Israeli doctors from SACH. When we were allowed into one of the hospital wards briefly, I was able to see this firsthand when Palestinian children were side by side with Israeli children and their families. The story of Muath from Hebron illustrates this . It gave me an understanding of the daily work those at the Medical Centre partake in regardless of race, religion or creed and which has led to saving the lives of 3,300 children from 48 nations. It also demonstrated how SACH is a force for peace in the Middle East, showing that if Israelis and Palestinians put their minds to it they can work together. It seems apt then that one of SACH’s key lines is ‘Mending hearts, building bridges’.
In the second hour we visited SACH’S children’s home – children and families who are treated come here from across the world , and they are given all the support they need during difficult times. The children came from Romania, Tanzania, Ghana and many other nations. One such child was Deus, a little boy with a love of football, wearing a Liverpool FC shirt and a cheeky smile on his face that lit up the whole room. Thanks to SACH Deus was able to walk for the first time ever and also had lifesaving heart surgery. You can see an extraordinary video about this here, which should tug at the heartstrings of even the stoniest of people. At the end all those on the ZF trip gave gifts to the children, which were greatly appreciated. I’d like to thank the ZF for giving me a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the work this organisation does first hand.
Save A Child’s Heart has an active UK branch who work tirelessly to support an organisation which saves the lives of many children every year. In the near future I am looking to get much more involved in this organisation, as after seeing the amazing work it does there was no way I could walk away from the organisation. I’d urge others who have read this article to consider doing their bit also, so that the lives of children who would otherwise face death and despair are filled with hope and life.
You can find more out about the work of SACH here .