“It’s amazing to see the girls giving back..” said Ana.
Ana is the volunteer co-ordinator at the foundation where I volunteer. One of the project’s of the foundation is Medical Clowns — where a trainer comes to work with theatre volunteers to train them as medical clowns. These medical clowns then visit children wards in hospitals. At the beginning it was experimental but soon hospital started to see the difference the clowns were making both in the keeping up the spirits of children high and also facilitating the doctor in the treatment. Angola is the first country in Africa to have Medical Clowns! The Foundation supports the clowns through ongoing trainings and also a token stipend.
Last month one of the clowns, Miguel, came forward to volunteer with the children at the foundation and teach them theatre. These children come from poor backgrounds where parents don’t have money to send them for after school activities. The girls had first started doing small acts as part of Kamba Verde – an environmental activity every friday. But with no formal help. With Miguel volunteering, they had guidance from a professional actor. At first the theatre group was just a fun activity. The children were shy of delivering a dialogue and would giggle behind. But slowly they started working together as a team. Miguel also did many theatre energisers with the children which helped them express through just actions.
Theatre adds so much to the personality of children! Not only could I see them become more confident with every little act they put up but they were also able to articulate and express better. And the pride of being able to put up a show. The first two acts they did, Miguel wrote the script — one was on domestic violence and other on hygiene. The presented the plays to the other kids and staff of the foundation in the foundation itself. Currently they are themselves writing the script for their third act on cleanliness
Soon we had an event at the paediatric hospital where the medical clowns worked. When the kids came to know about it, they expressed the desire to be able to perform for the children in the hospital. We were delighted! Soon the logistics were taken care of and we took 8 bubbly girls from the foundation to entertain the kids at the hospital.
We cleared a small area in the parking and put benches for the children to see. All the kids who could move from their rooms came down. One of the character was of a doctor and a doctor at the hospital readily gave his coat and cap to the girl. Soon the girls were performing in front of a crowd of 50-60 strangers including patients and staff. For those who could not come down from their rooms, they went to their rooms to meet them and wish them luck.
It was beautiful – kids for kids. It was amazing to see the circle of volunteering complete. The medical clowns received support from the foundation and they returned in the way they could — by volunteering with the children who come to the foundation. And the children who received from the volunteer returned the way they could — by volunteering to cheer up kids fighting with life threatening deceases.
If we all lived this way? Collectively the world has everything we need and if we all gave our gifts and received gifts, there would be no scarcity. A quote by Gandhiji kept coming back to me as I was thinking about this:
“The world has enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed”