We stimulate

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We've been making
the difference for 20 years

We are a Private Social Solidarity Institution, with no political or religious ties, officially founded on June 4, 2002.

Our main purpose is to ensure a continuous intervention program within the pediatric services of Portuguese hospitals, through the visit of professional clowns. These artists have specialized training in the hospital environment and work in close collaboration with health professionals, putting on performances adapted to each child and to each situation.

It is the organization’s responsibility to train and guarantee the high quality of the artists who are paid for their work. Operação Nariz Vermelho provides hospitals with visits, raising the necessary funds through private and corporate donations, campaigns, and merchandising.

We currently guarantee weekly hospital visits, for 42 weeks a year, at the 21 hospitals covered by the program. The team of artists is made up of 35 Clown Doctors and 21 professionals working behind the scenes.

Meet the Clown Doctors


To bring joy to hospitalized children, their families and hospital professionals, through the art and image of the Clown Doctor, on a regular basis and with a team of professionals with specialized training.


To be the benchmark institution on a national level for the work of artists in hospitals

General Objective

To solidify the presence in hospitals as an indispensable institution of reference.


To differentiate ourselves through the professionalisation of the work of the Clown Doctors and studies that prove the importance of the humour brought by the Clown Doctor to hospitalised children.

Today we are 35
Clown Doctors

It all began in 2002, as a result of the spirit and dedication of Beatriz Quintella, who in 1993 read an article reporting on the work of the Clown Doctors who visited hospitalized children in the United States.

There was nothing like it in Portugal and Beatriz volunteered at the D. Estefânia Hospital to bring her clown character to hospitalized children, with the aim of providing moments of joy. She worked alone and as a volunteer for eight years. As she began to work in other pediatric wards, she visited two foreign projects: the founding project of the Dr Clown idea, the Big Apple Circus in New York, and the Doutores de Alegria in Brazil.

In September 2001, Beatriz invited two friends, Bárbara and Mark, to help set up the program, and thanks to a generous contribution from Glaxo SmithKline, the project took on a professional character, establishing itself in the following Lisbon hospitals: Santa Maria, the Portuguese Institute of Oncology and D. Estefânia.

That was the beginning…

Today there are 35 Clown Doctors working weekly in 21 hospitals! We take ONV’s mission in person to children in hospital care for 42 weeks a year. Our team extends beyond the Clown Doctors to the 21 employees who work behind the scenes. We rely on donors, partners, institutions, and volunteers to grow one of the most recognized non-profit associations, without active political ties in Portugal.

After almost two decades, what is the challenge? To keep growing. Always keeping in mind that everything we do, every donation we receive, every gesture, every smile, has a single motivation: to bring joy and happiness to hospitalized children.

Join us!

Operação Nariz Vermelho has been bringing joy to more than 47,000 children a year in Portuguese hospitals for 20 years! To take this mission further and further, we are looking for people with good communication skills and committed to the cause who want to join our team of Face-to-Face recruiters

Take part


Behind the work done by the Clown Doctors in hospitals is a tireless team! Big people (really) with the courage to always be a child.

Anabela Possidonio

Director General

Carla Reis

Social Media Management

Catarina Pereira

Private Fundraising Coordination

César Gouvêa

Creation and Content

Elisabete Costa

Fundraising North

Flávia Diab

Hospital Relations Area Coordination

Fernando Escrich

Artistic Direction

Inês Aguiar

Graphic Design

Inês Peceguina

Research Centre

Isabel Marques

General Resources Coordination

Iêda Alcântara

Coordination Centre for Studies and Research

Jéssica Rocha

Press Office

Joana Carvalho

Regular Donor Loyalty

Mafalda Ataíde

Corporate Fundraising

Margarida Marques

Corporate Fundraising

Mark Mekelburg

Co-Founder and External Trainer

Rita Fialho

Communication Coordination

Roberta Matias

Donor Support

Sara Ferrão

Events & Online Shop

Sílvia Carvalho

Northern Hospital Relation

Tila Moreno Pereira

General Secretariat

Por detrás do trabalho realizado pelos Doutores Palhaços nos hospitais está uma equipa incansável! Gente grande (de verdade) com coragem de ser sempre criança.

Luiza Teixeira de Freitas


Elgar Rosa


Ana Sofia Catarino


Francisco Abecasis


Matilde Ricciardi


Receiving a visit from a Clown Doctor is a fantastic and very special experience for a child

Meet the Clown Doctors

Where we work

The Clown Doctors currently visit 21 hospitals in Portugal, from north to south.

Hospitals Monday Tuesday Thursday
Hospital de Leiria X
Hospitais Monday
Tuesday Thursday
Hospital Santa Maria X X
Hospital D. Estefânia X X X
Hospital S. Francisco Xavier X
Hospital de Santa Marta X
IPO Lisboa X X
Hospital de Cascais X
Hospital Amadora Sintra X X
CT. Med. Reabilitação de Alcoitão X
Hospital Beatriz Ângelo X
Hospitais 2ª feira 3ª feira 5ª feira
Hospital de São João X X
IPO Porto X X
Centro Materno-Infantil do Norte X X
Hospital de Gaia X
Centro de Reabilitação do Norte X
Hospitais 2ª feira 3ª feira 5ª feira
Hospital Pediátrico, Coimbra – CHUC X X
Hospitais 2ª feira 3ª feira 5ª feira
Hospital de Braga X
Hospitais 2ª feira 3ª feira 5ª feira
Hospital Garcia de Orta X
Hospital do Barreiro X
Hospitais 2ª feira 3ª feira 5ª feira
Hospital de Guimarães X
Hospitals Monday Tuesday Thursday
Hospital de Vila Franca de Xira X