A group of volunteers in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, is making sure that children staying in hospitals, orphanages, and underprivileged communities do not lack moments of joy and fun. The Doctors of Hope project was launched with the goal of doing good to others, especially those on the margins of society.
Volunteers for the project, first launched in 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, are carrying out social initiatives in area hospitals, orphanages, parks, and nursing homes across several Brazilian states. Since the first event in in Rio de Janeiro, the project has grown to include 11 volunteer teams and has expanded to other cities in Rio de Janeiro, Brasília (Brazil’s Federal District), and now Campo Grande, in the southwestern state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
The inspiration for the project came from the film “Patch Adams,” which told the story of a doctor who dressed as a clown as a form of therapy for his youngest patients. Interior designer Carlos Anderson Pereira felt inspired by the film and became “Doctor Gentile.” He developed the initiative to include games and laughter in his interaction with hospitalized children. He also included prayer and music and invited others to join. And thus, Doctors of Hope was born.
“Our goal is to bring a smile, a hug, a little hope to those who are going through a rough patch,” Júlio Salomão, state coordinator for Doctors of Hope, said. “Among the volunteers there are doctors, journalists, teachers, retirees, and so many others who have decided to make themselves available and share of their time to support others.”
When Doctors of Hope decided to explore the possibility of starting a team in the city of Campo Grande, 82 people volunteered to join. Among them are musicians, doctors, and teachers, leaders said.
The first training session in Campo Grande took place September 23-25, 2022. At the end of the training, the group visited Penfigo Adventist Hospital and Lygia Hans Children’s Home and implemented what they had just learned.
The project involves visiting hospitals, orphanages, schools, and underprivileged communities but it also includes a fundraising component, Salomão said. “We also work to collect funds to support those who most need it,” he said.
Doctors of Hope is one of the official projects of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Brazil. The humanitarian arm of the Adventist Church is a private nonprofit organization with offices in more than 130 countries. It supports assistance and development initiatives and establishes partnership with other organizations to serve those who most need it.
The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Portuguese-language news site.