Hospitals are not fun places for children, especially when they have to spend a lot of time there during their treatment. Stuck between the same four white walls 24/7, the children welcome any kind of fun as well as visitors that can cheer them up.
Bearing in mind the children's need for fun, a group of university students geared up to brighten the day of the hospital's young guests.
Students of the Department of Social Services at Bingöl University try to help children heal by organizing a series of entertaining events. Dressed up as clowns and other fictional characters, students visit Bingöl's Maternity and Children's Hospital and turn the hospital into a colorful playground for the sick youngsters.
A student dressed as a clown entertains children who have long term stays at the children's hospital in Bingöl.
Once a week, the hospital's walls are adorned with colorful ornaments and students gather the children allowed to leave their beds in the common room and play games. For those who are not allowed to leave their beds, the students and clowns pay private visits and read stories and play with them for as long as the children want.
Eda Yenmez, president of the Social Services and Interaction Group at Bingöl University, said they organize these events to support children during their treatments as well as to learn more about social services for their classes at the university.
Stating that they focus on entertaining the children for the entire time they are at the hospital, Yenmez said: "One of us dresses as a clown and brings all the balloons. We aim to minimize the stress these children are feeling every day. However, these events are not only for the children; we care about the parents, too. We want them to have a carefree and entertaining day as well."
The entire program is based on voluntary participation. Students sign up to be a part of the team every week. Pelin Dayan is one of the volunteers who believes making children happy is one of the most important missions in the world.
Dayan said it is good to serve as the source of children's happiness and continued: "We come here every week to show our support for the children in treatment. We adorn their rooms with balloons and read them stories, the ones they love the most. It is important to spend time with these children and play games with them. I believe we contribute to their healing by entertaining them."
Children love listening to the stories that their big brothers and sisters read them, but what they really love is to play with the clown. İbrahim Aktaş, who dresses up as the colorful clown, said the smiles on the children's faces when they first see the clown is worth millions. Volunteer Gül Karahan said when children smile, they are happy with and for them. "Here, we tell them stories, read from books. With the ones who are able to leave their beds, we gather in the hobby rooms and make group workshops and play different games to have fun together."
Happy children, happy doctors
With their spirits up, the children are more eager to cooperate with their parents and doctors, which make all the events a win-win. Dr. Ferhat Korkutata, the chief physician of the hospital, said hobby rooms were set up especially for events organized to keep the children's spirits up. He said the children spend most of their time in the hobby room once their daily treatments are over.
Explaining that the university students' weekly visits have a positive effect on the sick children, Korkutata said: "We let children play with the clown after their treatments are done for the day. Students also pay private visits to the children in bed, which makes them feel special. It is important to keep the morale up while receiving medical treatment. We organize these events to make children happy as well as to boost their psychological state. The parents of the children are also happy with all these activities." Social services officer Yücel Fidan said these activities are a chance to keep the children's minds off their illnesses and get them away from the hospital atmosphere. "Our primary goal is to improve the children's social mobility and offer psychological support. They really enjoy listening to stories, playing with the clown and doing puzzles."