Blogging from Abroad: Home is Where the Hearts Are

One of my internships this summer is with Save a Child’s Heart (SACH). Save a Child’s is an Israeli non-profit that provides free heart surgery to children from all over the world; including the West Bank and Gaza. In addition to bringing kids to Israel for surgery, SACH also conducts medical missions to train doctors from developing countries to be able to properly treat their own people. This cuts costs and empowers developing nations.

 I first learned about SACH while on a trip to Israel during my freshman year of college. I returned last year as a part-time volunteer in the recovery home and at the hospital. I spent 3 months bonding with the kids (too many to count) and watching them make full recoveries from heart surgery that literally saved their lives. Here are some pictures from last summer:

A Mother and her daughter, Malak, from Gaza at Wolfson Medical Center.
Sara from El Salvador. I am teaching her how to tame dinosaurs.
Andre from Angola. I was with him from before his surgery until the day he went home with a healthy heart.
After I left, I knew that it could not be the end of my involvement with SACH. A few months later I decided to find out if they would be willing to offer me an internship. As much as I love being with the children, I really wanted to see the behind-the-scenes work that made everything happen. I was offered a communications internship to assist with SACH’s current campaign; Climb Your Heart Out: Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Climb Your Heart Out campaign is in honor of SACH’s late founder, Dr. Ami Cohen, and to return to the place where it all began. Climbers from around the globe will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. The goal is to raise $1 million that will go to saving the lives of 100 African children (it costs $10,000 to save the life of one child). Right before the climb, a team of doctors from SACH will hold a teaching mission and perform heart surgery on ten children. Cool right? Part of me wishes that I was climbing with them (even though I can barely handle Pittsburgh’s hills).

This is my fourth week interning at SACH. It has been challenging since a lot of it involves computer programs I’ve never worked with before, LOTS of excel sheets, and using social media tools in a professional context. I’m not naturally a business casual person but I’m starting to get the hang of it. All this hard work has made it especially gratifying to see SACH slowly get closer to $1 million. Since I’ve been here, the amount raised has increased from about $180,000 to over $330,000! But the best part so far was getting to meet baby Nuru who arrived from Ghana last week while I was at work:

For more information on Save a Child’s Heart, I encourage you to visit their website. Also, check out their Facebook page.

Susanna, Intern Abroad