Where children have a chance
Terre des hommes (Tdh) has been active in Morocco since 1965, offering among other things special medical attention for seriously ill children, usually those with cardiac complications (http://www.tdh.ch/en/topics/health/specialised-care). Tdh takes steps to see that children with life-threatening illnesses can be, when appropriate treatment is not available in their native land, operated upon and cared for in Europe. In Switzerland Tdh cooperates with the university hospitals of Geneva (HUG) and Lausanne (CHUV) and with the Inselspital in Berne, so making it possible each year for over 200 children to receive adequate medical attention. In March this year the Tdh ambassadors Niccel Steinberger and Sandra Boner travelled to Rabat to discover our projects there. Niccel Steinberger reports her impressions (http://www.tdh.ch/en/news/giving-children-smiles-niccel-steinberger-ambassador)
18.03.2014, Niccel Steinberger
Even the outward journey turned out to be a special experience for us: On the flight from Geneva to Casablanca we were accompanied by Yousra, a three year Moroccan girl who, thanks to Tdh, had undergone cardiac surgery and had spent around three months in Switzerland. I was so impressed by this young girl, who had been away from her family and parents for such long time and, not only that, had had to endure a serious operation. However she was healthy again and we all looked forward to the moment when, after so many weeks, her parents could hold her again in their arms. The arrival and the joy of Yousra and her parents was one of those emotional moments which deeply affected not only the parents but also us, the accompanying persons.
In the following days Amina Smimine, formerly nurse and now deputy chief of Tdh Morocco, introduced us to the Tdh projects and explained how the children are helped locally. We saw, for example, how parents came to the Tdh offices with their sick children in the hope that they would receive attention there or in Switzerland. During the consultations Amina took time for the parents, listened attentively, sought to calm them, and when necessary passed them on to a heart specialist for further examination. I was impressed especially by hospital visits and by our numerous discussions with paediatricians and specialists in child heart diseases. We talked with cardiologists, accompanied visits in the children’s wards and looked over a paediatrician’s shoulder during a treatment. During a visit to one of the children’s hospitals I saw many parents who with their children had, without an appointment and mostly without medical insurance, travelled hundreds of kilometres, with the hope that they would be helped. It was not easy to accept that many children could not be helped because often the local infrastructure was inadequate.
Through my journey to Morocco I received an insight into Tdh’s impressive activities and local medical aid. I saw that all those involved in Tdh – whether employees or volunteers – are fully committed to their work, and that donations support an efficient aid organisation. What I remember particularly are the happy and smiling faces which met me all through my journey. These people made me happy, and strengthened my intention as Tdh ambassador to campaign for the children in Morocco and throughout the world.
Every year, Terre des hommes offers sustainable solutions and a better future for over two million children and their relatives. Learn more about our projects in Morocco (http://www.tdh.ch/en/countries/morocco).