‘Laughter is the best medicine’

2009-11-16 00:00

AT a fun-filled celebration at Cowan House School at the weekend, Rob Smetherham Bereavement Services for Children launched its new name.

From now on, it will be known as Dlalanathi, which means “play with us”.

Dlalanathi’s Rachel Rosenthal-Thresher said on Saturday that the organisation believes the time has come for a simpler name that is easier to pronounce by both adults and children and will reflect the core values of the organisation.

Founded in 2000 on World Aids Day as a tribute to the wishes of the late Rob Smetherham, who died after a protracted battle with brain cancer, the organisation provides psycho-social support and “hope and healing” to children dealing with the loss of loved ones. It also helps families and care-givers support and heal children who are suffering from loss.

In the past nine years, the organisation has reached 7 739 children, supported 645 families and trained 1 757 people. Today, it serves 17 communities and has forged strategic partnerships with over 30 organisations.

At the heart of the organisation is a recognition of the importance of play in the lives of children.

Dlalanathi uses play as a tool for communication, healing and strengthening relationships between adults and children.

The new “very relevant” name has the blessing of Smetherham’s widow, Helen, who attended the launch.

She, Liesl Jewitt and Sandy Laurens are the organisation’s founders.

A highlight of the morning was a side-splitting performance from the Clowns Without Borders, who proved once again that laughter is the best medicine — for children and adults.

*For more information, visit the newly-launched website: www.dlalanathi.org.za

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