SA schools urged to have a heart and help save the lives of young children with heart disease

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Young Hearts Africa has launched a sports initiative for schools to help raise awareness and funds to save children’s lives with congenital heart disease (CHD).

Over 4 000 of the more than 13 000 children in South Africa born with congenital heart disease every year need life-saving surgery, but less than 800 of these operations actually take place. As a registered NGO,  Young Hearts Africa raises funds to help more of these vulnerable children to access life-saving corrective surgery.

“We believe that every child deserves a chance to live a healthy and fulfilling life and to become the best that they can be, no matter their background,” says Dr Wilhelm Lichtenberg who founded Young Hearts Africa in 2021. “We chose to involve schools in this journey because we believe with the help and support of caring parents and donors, we can bring a change to families that do not have access to private healthcare or the funding to pay for life-saving surgery”.

Two of Young Hearts Africa’s high-profile ambassadors include former rugby legends Corne Krige and John Smit, who are both passionate about this initiative.

“South Africa has a rich sporting heritage within schools, and are the perfect sector to partner with Young Hearts Africa. We urge schools to come on board and help vulnerable children with CHD to get the medical help they need as early as possible to give them the opportunity to thrive, so that they too can excel on the sports field as they grow older,” says John Smit.

Participating schools will join a growing community of South African institutions who are committed to making a positive impact in our country, and will also stand a chance to win an array of amazing prizes for their school.

Young Hearts Africa has also secured a partnership with the DSTV SuperSport’s Schools Sport channel, who will give the campaign, as well as participating schools, ongoing exposure to their broader South African viewership audiences during all school’s games throughout the duration of our initiative and beyond.

Schools can sign up at In consultation with Young Hearts Africa, they can then leverage a current sports event already on their annual calendar, or create a unique fund-raising sports event within their school community. The good news is that the schools that raise the most funds stand in line to win 10 laptop computers valued at R 50 000 donated by Proline or sports equipment from Decathlon valued at R 30 000. As a further incentive, every school receives 10% of the funds raised to put back into their own sports initiatives.

“We appeal to schools across South Africa to assist us in raising donations for desperately needed heart operations for the less fortunate children in our country, whose numbers are growing daily and will not survive without these operations” Lichtenberg says.

Click here for more information and to sign up, or to make a donation.