Main Dans la Main – Paris, France
Thursday 11 September by Marion Stewart
The charity chosen to tie in with the match in Paris was called “Main dans la Main” (“Hand in Hand”) and is operated mainly at the Necker Children`s Hospital in Paris.
Their purpose is to try to make a child`s time in hospital more pleasant and less frightening. There seemed to be three things they provided – toys and games, volunteers to play with children, and furnishings.
At the hospital a group of footsoldiers (Willie, Lindsey, Andrew, John, Mick and me) met with Odile the Volunteer Administrator, Pierre the president of the organisation and 2 well established lady committee members . Without being too intrusive, we got to see where Main dans la Main had contributed to different departments in the hospital. They had provided child friendly furniture as well as toys and explained that these improvements to communal rooms for families helped encourage children to eat more than they might otherwise. There was a play area made to look like an operating theatre so that children might find going for surgery less frightening when the time came. One of the play/family rooms had been painted by art graduates at the request of the charity. This had become part of the students degree work and was a fantastic idea for some outstanding decor that children could really enjoy. As we tiptoed through some of the wards we were able to hand out Scotland beanie bears and Nessie pencil cases to some quite poorly looking wee people.
After a coffee in the hospital cafeteria and a swapping of Glengarrys for photographs we were clear that Main dans la Main were making a significant difference for any child and their relatives who were attending the Necker Hospital.
The Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal donation will add to the great de-institutionalising touches they have made throughout the many departments.