“I want to become a judge,” beams 11-year-old Munezero Rebecca from Rwanda as she prepares to return home after a successful heart surgery in the city. Rebecca had arrived here last month along with seven other children who suffered from the rheumatic heart disease. Such children can’t play, walk or do normal activities.
After successful replacement of heart valves at a Mohali-based private hospital, they looked cheerful and ready for a new life wh en they were given the farewell at the local Rotary House in Sector 19 on Wednesday. Sadly, a child named Denise, who was a high-risk patient, could not be saved post surgery.
The surgery and stay of the children were financed by Rotary Club, while the travel was arranged by the Government of Rwanda.
Rebecca, a Class V student, said that she had several good memories of her stay here. “I was scared before the operation, but encouragement by my mother over the phone removed my fear,” she said.
Jean Runuya, member of the Rotary Club from Rwanda, said that his country was thankful to the Indian people for saving the lives of so many children.
“Two batches of 15 children from Rwanda were successfully operated earlier too’’, informed ex-Rotary International president Rajendra K Saboo, who had initiated the heartline project back in 1999, as a result of which more than 500 children, both from India and other countries, have been given free medical aid in Chandigarh. They include 34 children from Pakistan.
Saboo said that the club spent roughly Rs 10-12 lakh on the children, but more than money, it was human empathy that played a vital role.
Several individuals as well as the club’s members jointly supported the cause.
He said the children came here as part of the club’s global medical mission in Rwanda. “Our team will go to Malawi and Zimbabwe later this year and on the recommendations of their government, more children would be given medical aid here’’, he said.
Paramjit Singh, president of the Chandigarh Rotary Club, said that the children recovered well and they were taken for an outing last week.