Doctor Clowns dose sick kids with joy and laughter

RIR correspondents spent a day with Dr Kaplya (Drop) and Dr Sova (Owl), volunteers from the Doctor Clown Foundation. Alongside doctors, medical staff and parents, hospital clowns help children get better.

Doctor Clown is a charity that practices the art of clowning as a form of therapy for children undergoing long-term inpatient treatment. Several times a week volunteers from the foundation, many of whom are professional actors and musicians, visit such children to make their lives in the hospital that little bit more bearable and joyful.
 
“We go around the wards, trying to find an individual approach to each child, that’s what makes our work special,” says Yulia Kostenko, aka Dr Kaplya.
 
Volunteers say that clowns are often the only people in the hospital who children can say “no” to, which is a means of emotional release no less important than games and jokes.
 
“When we go to a hospital, we’re ready for a dressing down or verbal barrage... For them it’s instant psychotherapy... For us? We’re clowns. We take a deep breath and get on with it,” continues Dr Kaplya.
 
Despite the difficulties faced by volunteers, most who join the foundation are very fond of their work and stay on the project for a long time.
 
“There are some very touching farewells. When a child is discharged, we wish each other never to cross paths again...” says Dr Sova, aka Marina Zadvornaya.

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