A new photo exhibition in the lobby of the Tel Aviv Opera House is certainly taking things to heart. The photos focus on children before and after they have undergone cardiac surgery.
The children’s treatment is thanks to Save A Child’s Heart (SACH), an Israeli- based international non-governmental organization that provides life-saving cardiac surgery to children from developing countries, trains medical personnel internationally and sends teams on medical missions around the world.
The exhibit, which opened Wednesday night and will run until July 19, is an attempt to demonstrate the immense life changes that heart surgery provides to these children.
This is shown throughout the exhibition; it is about life transformations and the growth apparent within the children after receiving surgery.
The exhibition, curated by Udi Rosenwein, has already been shown internationally, such as at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, in the US and in Brussels, Belgium. It is now on show in Israel to “connect SACH to the Israeli community,” according to SACH’s Tamar Shapira, as well as to show Israelis the humanitarian work Israel does for developing countries.
Since 1995, SACH has repaired the hearts of 3,300 children from around the world, as well as trained approximately 100 medical teams. All surgeries are performed at the Wolfson Medical Center (WMC) in Holon, and while in Israel, the children receiving treatment, their family members and the medical personnel being trained by SACH reside at the SACH House in Holon. About half of the children treated by SACH are Palestinian, while others come from countries like Ethiopia, Tanzania, Romania, Rwanda and Iraq. All children are treated for one of two types of heart conditions; congenital heart disease and rheumatic heart disease.
One of the photographers of the exhibit, Sheila Shalhevet, has been volunteering with SACH for 13 years. She documents each child’s stay in the House, from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave, and then gives the children copies of the photos for them to remember their stay in Israel.
“They’re kids, they have the same dreams as other kids. They are no less happy or intelligent than our own children.... The thing is, you watch them bloom here,” said Shalhevet.
The exhibit is open Sunday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 20:30 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
For more information about SACH, go to: http://www.saveachildsheart.org/