"Os Continentais" Initiative – Clinic Clowns
For more than two years, employees at the Brazilian Continental plant in Camaçari have been actively involved in the "Os Continentais" initiative for sick children in hospitals. Colleagues visit the four large hospitals in the state of Bahia three times a month.
All they have with them are colorful hats, huge glasses, red clown noses, and some musical instruments. But most importantly, they bring with them a big heart. They have already brought laughter to over 900 children thanks to their sketches, slapstick routines, and plays. They play music with the children, talk to them about their fears, put their arm around them, and give them confidence and reassurance.
Fernanda Della Cella is convinced: "Laughing is healthy, it's the best medicine." This deep-felt conviction makes a lot of sense to a lot of people. Many doctors are also certain that laughter has a positive effect – one which aids the healing process.
The involvement of "Os Continentais" is based on the findings of the American doctor and professional clown, Patch Adams, who was already promoting laughter as form of therapy back in the sixties.
Della Cella and her colleagues stress that it is not just the little patients who benefit from the project; they too get a great deal out of it. This is because rehearsals take place once a month. Making people laugh, playing a musical instrument, standing up on stage – it’s all got to be learned!