17 Apr 2015

Doctoral students show a heart for sick kids

The WTI doctoral school has distributed toys to two organisations in western Switzerland providing support to children with neurodevelopmental disorders. A third delivery is destined for a foundation for the visually impaired. The toys were donated to the WTI by Waldmeier AG.

As part of a commitment to intergenerational issues, the doctoral school regularly visits old people’s homes and children’s hospitals to sing to residents and patients. Waldmeier provided boxes of toys as gifts ahead of one such visit to the Bern University Hospital children’s clinic before Christmas.

Doctoral Programme Director Shaheeza Lalani, who is leaving the WTI at the end of April, said it was a priority that the toys left over after the Christmas visit were distributed before then.

“We had promised that the toys would find a good home and since they were specifically made for children with autism and cerebral palsy, it was important to donate to doctors and associations that work with children with related special needs," she said.

One set of toys went to Libellule, a specialised medical consultancy in Lausanne, with a second set going to the Cerebral Vaud association.

“A nice coincidence was that Cerebral Vaud is currently hosting a camp for children and the management was extremely moved by the generous gift of toys - one for each child at the camp. The delivery was greeted with a smile and the comment that it would make a lot of children very happy,” said Shaheeza Lalani, adding that the medical staff at Libellule were also very grateful.

The final set of toys will benefit Blindenschule, a foundation offering education and advice to the visually impaired, in Zollikofen near Bern.

The doctoral students’ concern for intergenerational justice is reflected in a conference on that very issue to be held at the WTI on 9 October.

“Our research focuses on three generations, and by spending time with the elderly and the very young, we try not to lose sight of the practical application of our research,” commented the Doctoral Programme director.