MOST VIEWERS watching the BBC recently would have seen the tremendous effort by many television stars and the public to raise an ever increasing amount of money to help people around the world.
Here in Portugal, there is an organisation called Associação Nariz Vermelho (Red Nose Association), which is a non-profit making organisation that also helps people, but in a slightly different manner – it sends ‘Clown Doctors’ to hospitals’ paediatric wards on a weekly basis.
The Resident met with Mónica Sharp of Associação Nariz Vermelho, who informed us: “Our mission is to bring fun and happiness to children in hospitals, in a way that contributes to their quality of life, and takes away the anguish and horror of being hospitalised. The association’s main objective is to continue the weekly hospital visits, which our ‘doctors’ make free of charge, and create a really positive impact on the children. It is incredible what laughter and joy can do to the human soul, especially during a time of ill-health and suffering.”
The association also works closely with the hospital staff, who do an incredibly difficult job and often without recognition. “It is our aim to expand the good that we do, get in touch with more hospitals and increase our number of Clown Doctors,” Mónica said. “So far we have 13 ‘doctors’, who are specially trained to cope with children with all types of illnesses. We use new and classical techniques of paediatrics and child entertainment.”
Presently, Associação Nariz Vermelho visits eight hospitals: Hospital Dona Estefânia, Hospital Santa Maria, Instituto Português de Oncologia, Hospital São Francisco Xavier, Hospital Pediátrico de Coimbra, IPO Porto, Garcia da Orta and Hospital Cascais.
Mónica continued: “The association survives only on the benevolence of donations, sponsorship and other fundraising activities. Our recent involvement with St. Julian’s School is a good example of the latter. Together, we collected funds for our association as the school’s students helped us distribute red noses for a donation. On the fundraising day, the students didn’t need to wear uniform, but painted their hair and nails red, and sold cakes to raise money for us. We would heartily like to thank St. Julian’s School for their help and donations to a worthy cause that will brighten up many children’s lives.”
• If you would like to find out more about Associação Nariz Vermelho, contact Mónica Sharp on [email protected]