I felt the magic at Save A Child’s Heart almost instantly, upon walking into the children’s home for the first time this summer. As I walked in, Linety (18 years old, Zambia) was finishing a puzzle with a volunteer, Mwewa (10 years old, Zambia) and Christina (9 years old, Zanzibar) were engaged in a heated game of Uno, and Mathna (5 years old, Zanzibar) dressed like a very cute fairy, ran to the gate to greet me and my friend–two complete strangers to her, with a hug. I was very confused. These were not the sights I was expecting to see. These did not seem like ill children who had traveled very far from home to receive life saving treatment, these seemed like joyful kids who wanted to play and make friends. That is the magic of SACH. Save a Child’s Heart does not only save the lives of countless kids across the world, they save their youth and allow them to remain kids during what must be one of the scariest times in their lives.
Volunteering at Save A Child’s Heart was one of the most meaningful experiences I have ever had. I was able to create such strong bonds and connections with the children, family members and staff at the home despite intense language barriers. I learned that a combination of laughter, play and silliness is really a language within itself.
These children are astonishingly resilient. They remain so brave and joyful during such a scary time in their life and that is something all volunteers learn from them early on. Volunteering at the house day to day I often forgot that these children are either pre or post very intense heart surgeries. One afternoon, Ermias, a 6 year old boy from Ethiopia, proudly pulled off his shirt to show me the large scar on his chest from his surgery. He showed me the scar, flexed his muscles and smiled at what he displayed as his most proud accomplishment. That is a moment that will stay with me forever. These kids have taught me to face the adversity of life head on, with laughter, bravery and strength, and that is something I will always carry with me.
Save a Child’s Heart is an incredible organization. The staff put so much love and passion into ensuring the well-being and happiness of these incredible children. I really hope I get the opportunity to return to the home in the near future and visit the amazing SACH family. <3