Our visits to hospitals are always painful. Even when we go to visit someone the experience is not very pleasant. What if there was someone to ease that feeling of dread and your pain? Bringing this very thought to reality is Harish Bhuvan, a 27-year-old who is trying to spread joy and laughter amongst ailing kids in the hospital via his initiative Compassionate Clowns.
A journey of spreading joy
The thing that pushed Harish to start Compassionate Clowns was Harish being diagnosed with Clinical Depression. “I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression and was prescribed sleeping pills and other medication. And that’s when I thought that there has to be a better way of dealing with any kind of illness than these medicines.”
He and his team visit hospitals dressed as clowns and try to add some happiness to the kids admitted there. The hospital corridors come to life when Harish and his team walk down the paediatrics ward all dressed up with some paint on their face and lot of love in their hearts.
They faced many challenges when they first started off. Issues with hospital authorities, finding volunteers and lack of funds were a few of these. Slowly, the authorities understood the kind of work they were doing and so getting permission became easier. But the lack of volunteers and funds are still an issue. So much so that Compassionate Clowns saw a complete shut down for a brief period.
However, Harish didn’t let anything deter his spirit and worked twice as hard in getting volunteers to sign-up and train them. He approached every person he met and tried to explain to people that humour can heal.
Today, they have grown into a large team of people spread across the country, sharing love and hope to children in pain.
Humorous yet Humble interactions
The excited volunteers are always looking forward to meet the children. They usually sing, dance, interact and play with the children in the hospital wards. The kids in dull and tired hospital gowns are greeted by colourful and enthusiastic clowns which makes everything a little better for a while.
When one spends a lot of time with kids, one makes some great memories. Every volunteer has at least one story which they say have stayed with them. In Harish’s case, this was especially true when a child recovered from his illness with a smile. He shares an instance where a one-year-old kid, Ramesh, was severely malnourished. “His wrist was the size of just two fingers,” recalls Harish. And as Harish and his team kept coming back, Ramesh started interacting with Harish and his health improved. “By the fourth day, he was running out of his ward and in a month’s time he got discharged. The nurses said his condition would have usually required two to three months of hospitalization.”
Taking Up A New Challenge
When his team was stable and the response by people was overwhelming, they decided to not only make children happy but also inform them about important things which are usually not addressed by adults. They started conducting workshops, where they informed kids about sexual assault and how to defend themselves in such a situation.
Harish added another feather to his hat by getting his name in the Guinness World Book of Records for conducting the largest child safeguarding lesson in Kittur Rani Chennamma Stadium, Bengaluru, India.
He advises everyone to always listen to people. You never know who requires your help and what opportunities may get uncovered. Also, one needs to keep striving to get through and achieve their goals, he says. Circumstances can and will challenge you and that’s when you really need to keep true to your vision.
Sticking to his vision has helped Harish take Compassionate Clowns to a stage where they are cheering the way to health in Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Baroda. They will soon start clowning in Pune.
Editors Note: We at CareerNinja believe that this is a beautiful initiative and really hope that Harish and his team achieve their mission of spreading joy to all the kids who are in pain. Compassionate Clowns truly live up to their name.