Being stuck in a hospital bed is not easy for children. Not only must they combat illness, they also miss school and friends, cannot venture out on trips and holidays and deal with a lot of emotional and physical trauma.
Now with a new innovative program created by the Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer, the Ramat-Gan Safari, and Israeli communication company Bezeq, who is a full partner in the venture, children who are confined to their hospital beds will be able to watch monkeys play, using special cameras installed in the animals' habitats. The cameras provide live streams to the hospitals, allowing the children to see what the wild creatures are up to.
A safari, unlike a zoo, provides animals with living arrangements that mimic the animals' natural wild environment.
Safari spokesperson Sagit Horowitz said in a phone interview with The Jerusalem Post that the children allow themselves to express things in reference to the animals that they would not usually share with adults.
"They project their inner world on the monkeys," said Horowitz. "For example, when they say: 'Oh this monkey is sad,' it's their way of sharing how they feel. An adult who is present can learn a lot about how they are coping from such information."
Also, she added, who doesn't like to look at fun-loving monkeys?
"They can see something else, which is not the hospital," she said. "It's a minor escape from the reality of being sick."
In the future, the project might increase in scope to include other children units in different hospitals across Israel. "We would very much like to see this project grow." Horowitz said. "Bezek International has provided us with the infrastructure and cameras needed. We would like to receive further aid and photograph other locations in the safari because we have other animals such as wolves, bears, and elephants. Maybe in the future the safari channel will be available for viewing in each home. This way, people would be able to reconnect to animals because people can only love what they are familiar with."