Inspirational heart-surgeon, Sir Professor Magdi Yacoub, made a rare a public appearance today to help launch a new health and education project for Western Saharan child refugees.
Professor Yacoub joined professors and celebrities including Olympic gold medalist, Hassiba Boulmerka, at an event organised by Imperial College’s International Education Fund.
The event aimed to raise funds for blind equipment and school computers for the desert refugee camps situated in Algeria, where 165,000 Saharawi’s have lived in exile for over 30 years.
Other celebrities and supporters including former Monty Python, Michael Palin who vísited the refugee camps as part of his travel documentary series, Sahara, sent their support and generous donations.
Professor Yacoub, who has performed more transplants than anybody else in the world, and set up his own charity called ‘Chain of Hope’, agreed to lend his support to the project. The project, set up and run entirely by medical students and Professors at Imperial College, will be travelling to the camps in February alongside the charity ‘Sandblast’.
In an emotional speech Suha Bachir, President of the IEF expressed her privilege at having Professor Yacoub supporting the project. “He has performed countless miracles as a cardiothoracic surgeon and has inspired us greatly.
“We hope that through our project we will also be able to achieve something miraculous for the Saharawi children living in desperate conditions in the refugee camps in the Algerian desert.”
Renowned author, Dr Yahia Zoubir, and head of the Sandblast charity, Danielle Smith, also spoke about the humanitarian conditions in the refugee camps where refugees have lived for over three decades.
Photo: Mina Yamini
For more information about the project visit here.