The "Doctora Clown" Foundation, is a non-for-profit organization, which visits sick children in public health institutions bringing them joy, laughs and fun to help them forget about their environment and their physical and emotional conditions. For a few hours, through costumes, tricks, magic and music, hospitalized children can be children: playing, laughing and healing. A regular dose of happiness and love does the trick each time.
This series of photos was taken in August 2013 and follows the clowns of the Bogota (Colombia) branch of the "Doctora Clown" Foundation during one of their "laughter therapy" session in the public hospital of Bosa, a popular neighborhood of the Colombian capital .
In many developing countries, like Colombia, there exists no universal public health care system, the public health coverage of the population being limited and deficient. Medicine has become a business and good health comes at the price of private and expensive facilities, health-care professionals and treatments. The right to health and health care access are threatened for those who do not have the economic means to pay for it. Indeed, underfunded, public health care facilities face economic, equipment, technological and professional deficits and challenges, struggling to make ends meet and to provide services of quality in aging infrastructures. In those circumstances, for those who cannot afford private care, good health and healing when sick is often the result of a drawing of lots, an accident, a coincidence and at times a miracle. Amongst those often left behind are children and their defenseless parents.
Under these difficult circumstances, alternative medicine and therapies have come to be viewed as powerful ways to provide hope as they seek non-traditional ways to help patients find a cure or simply feel better. Within such alternative therapies is the laughter therapy, a powerful and effective emotional "medication", using laughter and fun as a way to heal. Non-for-profit organizations, such as the "Doctora Clown" Foundation, dedicate their time and energy to the strenghtening and bettering of the emotional health of Colombian through laughter therapy and creative workshops. They regularly visit children hospitalized in public health institutions.
This series of photos aims to give a voice and face to children hospitalized in public hospitals in Bogotá, watch them laugh, play, and have fun with a little help from colorful clowns. A different angle to see them as children again, simply children.
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"Doctora Clown" Foundation. Bogotá, Colombia