HuffPost What's Working Honor Roll: 'Laughter Is The Best Medicine' Is Working In Nepal

An Israeli medical clown entertains a Nepalese earthquake victim during a visit to a makeshift army camp in Kathmandu on May
An Israeli medical clown entertains a Nepalese earthquake victim during a visit to a makeshift army camp in Kathmandu on May 6, 2015. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck the Himalayan nation on April 25, 2015, has had a devastating impact on the economy of Nepal where tourism attracted almost 800,000 foreign visitors in 2013 -- many of them climbers heading straight to Mount Everest but also less adventurous tourists seeking the rich cultural history of Kathmandu. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)

As journalists, we dutifully report on what's going wrong, from scandals and corruption to natural disasters and social problems. But far too often the media fails to show the whole picture, neglecting to tell the stories of what is working. From scientific breakthroughs to successful crime-reduction initiatives, the What’s Working Honor Roll highlights some of the best reporting and analysis, from a range of media outlets, on all the ways people are working toward solutions to some of our greatest challenges.

clowns nepal

In the Himalayan country of Nepal, where thousands remain in need of food, shelter and medical treatment after last month's devastating earthquake, the power of laughter is proving to be much stronger than anyone could have anticipated.

Ron Fowler knows this firsthand. He is one of the many clowns who is helping bring entertainment and fun to Nepal's hurt and traumatized children. The April 25 earthquake, which killed more than 7,500 people, affected some 1.7 million children living in areas hit by the disaster.

Baltic Review's Bibbi Abruzzini highlighted how Fowler, who organizes balloon and magic shows for kids, and other clowns are using laughter to help the nation's youth heal. Yet another group of clowns known as The Dream Doctors recently traveled to Nepal to entertain hurt and traumatized children.

clowns nepal

"It might seem trivial to see a gang wearing red noses and floppy shoes where people lack basic necessities," Abruzzini writes. "But along with water, medicines, food and tents, they can offer psychological support and bring smiles to those in trauma."

They do it because it works. Research has proven that laughter, particularly clown therapy, can increase recovery time and improve overall happiness for sick patients.

The method isn't new. In 2013, an organization called Clowns Without Borders sent a group of clowns to Typhoon Haiyan-affected areas of the Philippines to perform for children. Clowns have begun bringing their talents to patients of all ages and people suffering from various ailments -- from children's hospitals to Alzheimer's patients.


If you know a story you think should be on our Honor Roll, please send an email to our editor Catherine Taibi via with the subject line "WHAT'S WORKING."

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