This gift, of some moments of distraction from their illness and pain is what 12 hospital clowns have been offering children in hospitals.

In Chennais hospitals these clowns are making kids smile forget their painImage: Hospital Clowns Chennai/ Facebook.com
news Wednesday, April 27, 2016 - 15:20

He was 12, sick with a liver problem, and refusing to talk to anybody. The friendly painted face asked him, “Can we sing a song for you?” He said, “No, I don’t want to hear anything”, and shut his ears. But she persisted, asking if she could tell him a joke instead. He said no again, but added that he would tell the joke. “And soon, he played with us and I sang for him,” says the clown. Most interestingly, this entire exchange takes place in a hospital ward, where Dr Rohini Rau, a doctor, performs with her fellow hospital clowns.

When she sang, the boy was calm and smiling, and there was little sign of the discomfort his illness was causing him, says Dr Rohini. This gift, of some moments of distraction from their illness and pain is what 12 hospital clowns have been offering children in some Chennai hospitals.

 

 

But it’s not just a few minutes of levity. The happiness that the children feel isn’t momentary, says Dr Rohini, they share it with their parents and other visitors, and wait eagerly for the clowns to come back to the hospital the next week.

What do the hospital clowns do? “We sing, dance, act or do some magic. All of us have our own strengths: two of us are choreographers, one is an opera singer and a few others are excellent actors. So we all use our talents to bring smiles on their faces,” she said.

All the twelve clowns are actors working with the Little Theatre group and have been trained by a US-based hospital clown, Hillary Chaplain.

The idea of becoming hospital clowns came to the founder of Little Theatre, Aysha Rau (59) when she met another hospital clown from the US. “It is a wonderful idea, and I thought it is needed in our Indian hospitals and will also enhance the actors working with Little Theatre,” she said.

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