Get InvolvedJoin our team! Everyone has a starring role.
Without doubt the need for funding is our biggest ongoing concern.
If you have the means, please get involved. Find out how to provide corporate sponsorship, make a personal donation, volunteer or help raise awareness.
The desire to give back is of paramount importance & we celebrate those that choose to give to children. As medical professionals we have only a small role to play in changing little lives. Our corporate sponsors continue the legacy that we as a community have created.
Individuals & philanthropists donate much of our funding. For this we are extremely grateful. We understand that you want to see where your money goes and we encourage you to visit Our Projects to see how it is used. Making a donation is as easy as 1,2,3…
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Join our Volunteer Program
The little lives we change are more than surgical statistics; they are little people who need care, love and attention.
Our surgeons, staff & volunteers make a point of visiting, playing with & helping families through the recovery process.
As with young minds seeking love & learning this is never enough.
Please sign-up to find out where your personal time is most needed.
Volunteer Experience & Feedback
We are grateful to the group of volunteers who spend time with the little lives we change by helping with hospital forms, enjoying play & learning time together and a multitude of valuable tasks that are absolutely necessary to make a positive impact on these little lives.
Please read the feedback below sent in by some of our volunteers.
Jessica Paul's Experience
NAME & SURNAME: Jessica Paul
NAME OF PROGRAM: Various
After completing my Honours degree in Psychology last year, I decided to take some time this year to get involved in volunteer and community engagement experiences.
Having joined the Surgeons for Little Lives team in February, I have been able to take part in a number of activities and experiences at Baragwanath Hospital. I have been involved in the expressive arts programme offered by Jan which takes place in the paediatric burns unit. Not only do the kids love this time, but I thoroughly enjoy interacting with the kids, teaching them new skills and providing them with something fun to do outside of the usual hospital routine.
I have also been assisting Dr Vered Lack with her study (the THINK Study) and I have learnt how to administer psychological tests to children who have had head injuries, as well as score these tests.
Recently, I have begun the process of conducting my own research. This research focuses on the utilisation of the parental sleepover facility provided at the new PSOPD and will investigate how this accommodation has impacted the caregivers who have used it.
In collaboration with Dr Chris Westgarth-Taylor and Dr Catterina Bebington, I have begun offering counselling sessions for stoma clinic patients. These individuals often face body-image and self-confidence issues, and the aim here is to provide someone for these individuals to talk to, develop ways to manage their condition and improve their self-esteem.
I am thoroughly enjoying my time with the charity, and am extremely grateful for the opportunities and support I have been offered. I look forward to the rest of my time here, and the new experiences I will undoubtedly encounter.
Ruth Deolinda's Experience
NAME & SURNAME: Ruth Deolinda
NAME OF SCHOOL: University of the Witwatersrand
GRADE: 3rd year Student
NAME OF PROGRAM: Job shadowing at CH Baragwanath Hospital
On the 18th December 2017, I had the privilege of shadowing a group of doctors at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in the Paediatric department. During this time, I witnessed a couple of surgical procedures led by Dr. Chris Westgarth-Taylor.
It was one of the most heartfelt moments I’ve ever experienced, the chance to see the lives of children being changed by the hands of mere humans. If I was to be asked what the most stressful part of being a doctor as an observer, it would be the fact that these doctor holds the fate of an infant in his hands. I cannot begin to imagine how it feels to be under the scrutinizing watch of other doctors who are there to learn from the lead doctor.
It indeed was a marvelous experience, it came to me as a bit of a shock while I observed the atmosphere I’m the room. It amazed me to see the cool nature of the doctors as they went on to prepare for the surgeries they were meant to perform. One remarkable behaviour I noticed as I observed Dr. Chris was his never ending happy humour, amidst of the stress of having to operate on a child, he still remained composed and seemingly joyful. A behaviour which, in my opinion, made the environment a lot more bearable and conducive.
Having spoken to other doctors in the theatre, I wondered what kept them going despite what they see, despite the number of patients they may lose on the surgical table, despite the type of health problems or deficits they witness on a daily basis. Having asked them these questions, one answer that stood out for me was simply the fact that they rely on each other. The ability to talk about what they experience on a daily basis and to have a team of people who can so well relate to what they live through is a remarkable observation. It just shows how important it is to have someone to relate to in their line of work. In the midst of the trauma, it’s relieving to know that they have some type of coping mechanism.
Although these doctors have a coping mechanism, it doesn’t escape my mind to suggest another coping mechanism such as a visit for psychological therapy.
Although I have yet to qualify as a psychologist, I strongly believe that seeing a psychologist can help to deal with post-traumatic injuries that these doctors face. Very often we ignore the aftermath of a traumatic event, however, these events have an impact on us one way or another, it may not be today, nor tomorrow, but just as life teaches us, there’s never a better time as the present.
It doesn’t escape my mind that these doctors have been in the field of medicine for a long time and have had to witness a lot more dreadful situations in their line of work as opposed to myself, however, at the end of the day, we are all humans and whichever way we choose to look at it, we have emotions and as such, it is important to never neglect the significance of seeking personal help when we most need it.
Josephine Bezuidenhoudt's Experience
NAME & SURNAME: Josephine Bezuidenhoudt
NAME OF SCHOOL: St Mary’s School, Waverly
NAME OF PROGRAM: JOB SHADOWING
I came to learn more about what it is like to be a doctor and what the job entails. I was allowed to watch surgeries up close. This both fascinated and inspired me. This opportunity also allowed me to talk to the doctors about how they balance their lives with such a demanding job.
Ruvimbo Chiswo's Experience
NAME & SURNAME: Ruvimbo Chiswo
NAME OF SCHOOL: Wits University
GRADE: MBBCH II
NAME OF PROGRAM: JOB SHADOWING
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Surgeons for Little Lives. The Surgeons were really friendly and allowed participation at a level that I could not get elsewhere. An amazing opportunity.
Kelli Jade Frew's Experience
NAME & SURNAME: Kelli Jade Frew
NAME OF SCHOOL: Roedean School (SA)
NAME OF PROGRAM: JOB SHADOWING
A Truly motivating experience. I’ve always wanted to study medicine and this experience gave me the extra boost to make me want to study hard and follow through with my dreams of studying medicine.
Abigail Welthagen's Experience
NAME & SURNAME: Abigail Welthagen
NAME OF SCHOOL: NWU Potchefstroom
GRADE: 2nd year student
NAME OF PROGRAM: New PSOPD and maternal facility
Volunteering at Surgeons for little lives and helping with making the beds in the new PSOPD & Maternal Facility was such a rewarding experience, knowing that I am contributing to such a unique project.
It’s unique because very few Paediatric units in other hospitals take the social circumstances of the mothers of patients into consideration. Many of the parents travel long distances to get the necessary medical help for their children but once the kiddy is admitted they don’t have anywhere to stay.
I enjoyed my time volunteering at Surgeons for little lives and would do it again. I would also urge others to join as well.