An “Emergency Smile Mission” to the eastern part of Ukraine which is characterized by on-going armed conflict took place for a period of 4 weeks between September 10 and October 8, 2018. “Emergency Smile” is an innovative healthcare clowning program organized by RED NOSES Clowndoctors International (RNI), in collaboration with strong international partners on the ground (the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies, IFRC, among others). “Emergency Smile” missions are organized to various countries around the world that suffer conflicts and natural disasters to provide psychosocial support to people in need of joy. Amongst others, children are the most vulnerable, they have lost their usual social and physical environments and found themselves living in crisis situations where laughter, joy and happiness are only associated to them with an old reality which no longer exists. RNI use an integrated approach when conducting emergency missions for the benefit of children and adults, victims of conflicts, refugees and asylum seekers who are obliged to live in terrific emergency and post-emergency contexts. Those missions provide them with the opportunity of reconnecting again with joyful moments and happiness, and alleviate feelings of insecurity and hopelessness. Additionally, RNI provides humor workshops to medical staff and aid workers to teach them how to use “humor” as a novel communication tool in their frontline daily work, especially when interacting with beneficiaries.
The project aims to:
- Give children the possibility to express their feelings in a playful manner, to help them reconnect to positive feelings and regain resilience and hope;
- Transfer the Skills of Healthcare Clowning to the local Staff members in order to increase their psychosocial wellbeing and help them reduce the stress they experience in their everyday professional lives;
- Strengthen the Capacity Building of the local Healthcare Clowning organizations to multiply the impact on the beneficiaries.
- 287 children (IDPs or with physical and mental disabilities) living in the shelter centers and/or hospitalized in the rehabilitation centers in the cities of Kiev, Bila Tserkva (Kiev Oblast) and Pryluki (Chernigov Region);
- 56 local Staff members and volunteers of the Ukrainian Red Cross Society (URCS);
- 29 local hospital clowns from 5 Ukrainian Healthcare Clowning organizations;
- 111 people (family and friends of the children and URCS Staff) attending the Circus Smile
Between September 10 and October 8, 2018, also with Alta Mane support, the Emergency Smile Mission Project in Ukraine foresaw the following activities:
- Pre-Mission Training in Vienna (September, 10-15, 2018) to get the 4 RNI’s clown-doctors prepared for the mission on the field;
- Mission in the cities of Kiev, Bila Tserkva and Pryluki (September 17- October 4, 2018) during which the following activities took place: 3 Circus Smile Performances reaching 40 IDPs children and 111 people (family and friends of the children and URCS Staff); some clowns shows, in Bila Tserkva, for the benefit of 100 children with physical and mental disabilities; 3 Humor Workshop & Training intended to 42 local Staff members (doctors, nurses and humanitarian aid workers), and 14 volunteers of the URCS; and a Basic Artistic Training for 29 local hospital clowns from 5 Ukrainian Healthcare Clowning organizations. In addition to shows, performances and specialized trainings, several hospital visits took place to the Psychiatric Ward of one of the hospitals in Kiev (TMO Psikhiatriya Department) and to some rehabilitation centers in Bila Tserkva for disabled children reaching a total number of 27 children; as well as a clown visit to a Special Needs School (Bila Tserkva) during which 120 disabled children could benefit of the clown-doctors’ artistic interventions;
- Debriefing in Vienna (October 8, 2018): during which the clown-doctors processed and reflected on lived experiences, discussed about critical issues detected during the mission, assessed the artistic interventions and shared the Lessons Learnt with the Emergency Smile Project Leader.
RED NOSES Clowndoctors International (RNI) is a Non-Profit Charity Organization, functioning as the umbrella organization for one of the largest clown doctor groups in the world. With over 20 years of experience, RNI brings together artistic and scientific expertise in the interface between the performing arts, healthcare and development. For RNI health and culture go hand-in-hand in a partnership that recognizes the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. RNI is active in 790 medical and social facilities in 10 countries: Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Poland, Palestine and Lithuania.
Alta Mane already supported RNI in 2018 awarding the Participation Scholarships Healthcare Clowning International Meeting 2018. Please click on the following link for further information.