Kabir Miah, Overseas Project Manager, (L) and Sayid Ali, Muntada Aid Manager collect the Big Impact Award at the 2015 Third Sector Excellence Awards for the Little Hearts Project (Photo: Muntada Aid)
Elham Asaad Buaras
Muntada Aid has won the highly prestigious Big Impact prize at this year’s the Third Sector Awards, which was held on September 24 in London. Muntada Aid was awarded for its flagship health programme, the Little Hearts Project, which has saved the lives of over 700 children born with Congential Heart Disease (CHD), since its launch in 2012.
Little Hearts Project, which offers free life-saving cardiac surgery to underprivileged families, beat off stiff competition from Cancer Research UK and Action on Smoking & Health, Cool Earth, St John Ambulance and the Silver Line for the gong.
Under its Little Hearts project Muntada Aid has sent teams of health professionals, including paediatric surgeons, to hospitals in developing countries.
The Little Hearts Project is a global first for providing heart operations on such a scale.
Each year over 1,000,000 babies are born worldwide with a congenital heart defect. 100,000 of them will not live to see their first birthday and thousands more die before they reach adulthood.
CHD affects 1 in 100 births around the world and can be treated with an invasive/non-invasive heart operation at birth depending on the type of heart defect.
In May, Muntada Aid assembled more than 60 medical staff from 14 countries to Tanzania for the first time.
Patients who were referred to be treated on the programme of health professionals in Tanzania, were carefully assessed and monitored ahead of surgery to ensure that they were strong enough to undergo the operation. For all the families that Little Hearts Project team saw, this was their only option to access medical treatment for their child.
Due to the success of this project, and the ever-increasing demand from around the world, Muntada Aid is moving on to phase II of the Little Hearts Project; the construction of the Little Hearts Paediatrics Cardiac Centre. The centre, which will be built in the heart of Mali’s capital Bamako, will be the first paediatric heart centre in the entire country.
Speaking about Little Heart Project, Jo Youle, Chief Executive of Missing People, who judged the Big Impact Award category said, “An inspiring project. Six hundred lives in truly impressive and the idea is to be applauded.”
Sayid Ali, Muntada Aid’s Manager told The Muslim News, “We are all thrilled that our Little Hearts Project won the Big Impact Award. Since the project was launched in 2012, 700 children and babies have gone on to have full and healthy lives.
“We would like to thank everyone who has helped with this project – whether that be the selfless medical team who donate their time and skills for free or individuals who have donated to our fundraising campaign which allows us to visit different countries several times a year to give many children the gift of life.”