Bhubaneswar: Fif Fernades – co-founder of MeDiClown Academy addressed the students, faculty and staff of AIPH University and emphasized the importance of humor and laughter as a therapeutic aid with multiple benefits for patients and health workers. With a background in theatre, Fif worked for many years in Canada on faculty of medicine as a professional health worker. This profession that helps alleviate pain and suffering while reducing stress and enhancing mental health has been recognized for its important role in western countries, especially North America for many decades now. Having moved to Aurovile, Fif Fernandes set up the non-profit MeDiClown Academy in 2013 which is a registered activity of the Auroville Foundation, incubated as a social startup by UnLtd and supported by Yes Bank. Fif Fernandes and partner Hamish Boyd aim to transform health and social well-being through Medical Clowning in rural and urban India. The Vision of MeDiClown Academy is ‘Healing through Love, Laughter, Play and Humour: A Healthy Happy India for All.’ Currently, hospitals, healthcare and corporate sectors, and educational institutions are some of the key beneficiaries of its services.
In her presentation, Fif demonstrated some of the commonly practiced techniques such as deep breathing, play acting, use of props and music to lighten the mental burden on seriously ill patients, care givers family and over-burden health workers. Working with the oncology department of JIPMER in Pondicherry, Fif has established the value of her craft in Indian setting. She now aims to create a professional cadre of several thousand trained medi-clowns to cater to the growing needs of hospitals, elderly care homes and palliative care among others.
Fif Fernandes was in Bhubaneswar as a speaker at the TeDx event organised by XIMB. She was also hosted by the Bhubaneswar based non-profit Silver Age Foundation that runs activity centers for the elderly. It’s co-founder Amarjyoti Mahapatra accompanied Fif and also addressed the students explaining the need for a new approach to life of the elderly and those living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.