The stay in hospital is, especially for the little ones, a delicate and difficult time to deal with.
It has been scientifically proven that clown therapy results in a reduction up to 20% of the need of analgesics and of the time for clinical improvement (therefore of the length of stay) as well as in an increase of the immune system and the level of endorphins, resulting in an increase of the pain threshold.
Each week the Doctors Smile visit the pediatric wards, reaching 20,000 children each year. With a joke, a game, a magic trick, they accompany the children during the period of hospitalization, they draw a smile, distracting them from the sadness and fear.
Currently, Dr. Smile clowns are present in 16 hospitals and three rehabilitation centers covering 11 Italian provinces.
In carrying out their actions, clowns receive a constant psychological advise and work closely with all the medical professionals involved in the child care.
The clowns possess a wealth of artistic skills (music, theater, magic, mime, circus arts) and continually update their improvisational repertoire through the training workshops of the Foundation.
International Projects: since the first years of activity, Dr. Smile Onlus brought its mission outside the Italian borders, participating in international missions, in collaboration with other associations and non-governmental organizations.
1999: Mission in refugee camps in Macedonia, to assist Kosovar children with a group of 25 practitionners, led by clown Patch Adams. Over Christmas two Doctors Smile leave for Bucharest, to work with Miloud, a French clowns involved in the reintegration of street children.
2002: Two Doctors Smile participate in the humanitarian mission “Path for Peace” in Afghanistan, hit hard by the war. During the trip the clawns visit a hospital of Emergency, the recovery center of the International Red Cross and the Hospital “Indira Gandhi” in Kabul.
2003: “Mission Smile” in Israel and the territories of Palestine; the clowns of the foundation visit the children of Nazareth, Bethlehem, Bethany, Hurtas and Jerusalem.
2006: Mission to India. Two Doctors Smile visit schools, hospitals, orphanages and rehabilitation centers of the state of Kerala.
2010-2012: In the last three years, two of the Foundation clowns participated in humanitarian missions in Burkina Faso, in collaboration with NGOs Solidaid.
During the mission in Burkina Faso in December 2011, Doctors Smile Super-Swirl and Puà have visited different locations of the country, setting up shows for the community and assisting children admitted to orphanages.
In Sissin the Doctors Smile organized a clowning workshop for orphans of the village. Along the way the children have approached small theatrical techniques, have expressed their emotions freely, exploring a world of jokes and smiles.
After two weeks of daily lessons clowning, it was set up a street theater show which was attended by all the orphans involved in the project, between 6 and 12 years of age.
Thanks to their improvisational skills, clowns fit every circumstance in which they operate: a hospital room, a preoperative area or a rehabilitation center. In this way they are always able to meet the needs of children and their parents.
A love song, a simple greeting or a real show with scenography: the visit of Dr. Smile day becomes a moment of serenity and joy throughout the hospital ward.
Places in Italy where the foundation worked:
Hospital “Sant’Anna” Como
Hospital “Valduce” Como
Pediatric Clinic “De Marchi” in Milan
ASST Great Niguarda Metropolitan Milano
Hospital “San Carlo Borromeo” of Milan
Hospital “San Raffaele” in Milan
Children’s Hospital “Vittore Buzzi” in Milan
Desio and Vimercate Hospital
“S. Antonio Abate “in Gallarate
Hospital “Luigi Galmarini” Tradate
Orthopaedic Trauma Centre (CTO) of Turin
Policlinico of Modena
Pediatric Hospital “Bambino Gesù” in Rome
Home for the Relief of Suffering “Padre Pio” in San Giovanni Rotondo
Policlinico di Bari
University Hospital “Federico II” of Naples