“All of us have the power to change something in one’s life. If we are aware of that, we must do so.” – Sandrine Murengerantwali
Meet Sandrine Murengerantwali, a 20 year-old Rwandan-Canadian talented pianist, music teacher and student at McGill University. Sandrine is the President and Founder of VIVO CUORE FOUNDATION, a foundation that provides access to open-heart surgeries for Rwandan children who suffer from congenital heart diseases. How? Through piano benefit-concert.
Sandrine was born with Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), congenital heart disease that requires expensive surgical procedures to treat. Fortunately, Sandrine was able to receive surgical treatment at age 4 in Kenya, thanks to her father’s employer who generously covered the surgery costs. But what about those not fortunate enough?
There is an estimated 2000 Rwandan children suffering form congenital heart disease awaiting for surgical treatment, and an estimated number of 10-15 children at risk of dying weekly if not treated. For this reason, Sandrine decided to start this foundation to provide those children the same chance she had also been given.
“Heart defects are very frequent in Rwanda, and unfortunately the cardiac care are not always adequate, therefore the children often have to travel in order to receive operations.”
Cardiological surgeries are not yet available in Rwanda, forcing children with congenital heart disease to travel abroad for treatment. When asked about the process of sending children abroad, Sandrine said that “cardiological surgeries are not available in Rwanda, therefore, the foundation works with associations working in Rwanda with Rwandan children affected by CHD. We have collaborated with teams like TeamHeart America, and Humura, Mecenat Chirurgie Cardiaque Enfants du Monde. The collaboration with those teams make the fees less expensive.”
VIVO CUORE has gathered funds through benefit-concert and public engagement campaigns. Their last campaign was 102% funded, with a total of 5,100$ fundraised. Since its inception in 2015, the foundation was able to send its first patient for treatment abroad, Pierre Ndayiragije. Pierre, 14 years old, was sent out on October 25th 2016 to France where he successfully received surgical treatment for double valve replacement. Three other children were also sent to France recently this year: Esther, Violette & Layanna. Way to go!
VIVO CUORE’s next benefit-concert is happening February 18th, 2017.