Helene, originally from Paris, France, has been with us as a volunteer at the organization since 2009 when she ended her career in producing medical conferences. Helen decided that she wanted to contribute to society and since then she has been helping us with the care of the lovely children who come to the country for life-saving care. We asked Helene what volunteering at Save a Child’s Heart means to her and to share some of her best memories with us:
As a regular volunteer for over ten years, I've learned that helping, loving, and feeling empathy for people whose life is not a rose garden gives you overwhelming joy and what you are getting back is incommensurable.
This is a very special place for me, because I was a little girl a Holocaust survivor after the war, in poor health, I understand the meaning of children coming from difficult places with their mothers. It reminds me of my mother who kept worrying about me eating, it went straight into me - into my heart. I have no children, my whole family perished in the Holocaust, and the SACH children are my family.
I have so many amazing memories but this is one of the best: When I joined a mission to Ethiopia in 2019, I did not expect, and it was a complete surprise to learn that a completely loaded bus with children from Jimma were coming to Addis Ababa to meet with us. I met a lovely girl, Sorete, who was a teenager when she came to have surgery in Israel, and here I met her healthy, happy, introducing me to her husband and her little 18-month-old baby boy. Solerete was alongside Saddam who I remember had a really difficult heart surgery when he was treated by SACH and to whom I was so connected, in front of me, a real grown and healthy guy. Belete, a shy beautiful boy and now still shy but such a handsome young man, little Haya, the sweetest 14-month-old baby in 2011 and now a 9-year-old little girl, Baritu with her mum, she also was a baby and now a ten-year-old young lady and more beautiful than the queen of Sheba. How can I forget all the others - .it will take pages to tell each one's story.
So many children I met throughout the years who I got the opportunity to see healed back at home in Ethiopia. It is a privilege to be a part of Save a Child's Heart and I wish to be given the opportunity to give, do and help more.