Cameron asserted that “Walter’s service has saved young lives”. The Prime Minister continued: “Thanks to his work children have received world-class care that would not otherwise have been available to them and medics in their home countries are improving their skills. I’m pleased to name Walter a Point of Light”.
The daily Points of Light award “recognises outstanding individual volunteers – people who are making a change in their community”, according to its website.
SACH was founded in Israel in 1996 for the sole purpose of improving the quality of paediatric cardiac care for children from low to lower-middle income countries. The NGO has brought thousands of children to Israel for heart surgery from countries where medical care is unavailable.
Over 50% of around 4,000 children who have received life-saving treatment live in Gaza and the West Bank, having been brought to Israel for the surgery together with their parents.
Recently there have been calls from MPs for the Government to allocate funding to the Israeli NGO. 26 leading Conservatives who had visited the charity wrote a joint letter to International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, and Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, in April in which they said “Having seen the work of SACH at the Wolfson Medical Centre firsthand, we believe that further UK Government involvement in this laudable charity would be extremely worthwhile”.
Conservatives who signed the letter included CFI’s Honorary President, Lord Polak of Hertsmere CBE, and CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman, Rt. Hon. Sir Eric Pickles MP.
In her response issued last month, Greening commended the “admirable” work of SACH and confirmed that her department is considering the charity for UK funding.
She continued: “I am supportive of projects which bring together Palestinians and Israelis, and foster inter-community understanding. Going forward, my intention is for HMG to do more on this agenda, and I have asked my officials to rapidly explore options, including looking at SACH”.
Felman has raised more than £1 million for the surgery, which is conducted at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, and it is thought to have helped save the lives of around 4,000 children.
Felman has expressed his thanks for the award, stating: “I am still trying to come to terms with this wonderful recognition of Save a Child’s Heart, which has not only given many thousands of children the chance of a new life, but works to eliminate a killer heart disease by enabling children from poorer countries to access surgery in their own country and not be reliant on outside charity. My thanks to the Prime Minister, for this opportunity to give wider awareness of the work we do”.