Dagmar Herrmannova is originally from Prague and is an expert in educating deaf and special needs children. In 2002, she started her charity work with all this energy. What was a project first turned quickly into an organization called SMILING CROCODILE. When I met her first, I could feel the positive energy surrounding her but also how humble she is despite all the great things she is doing with her team.
What is SMILING CROCODILE all about?
Based on Dagmar´s professional expertise, she gathered a team of other experts in order to help children with special needs in disadvantaged situations. “There are schools and institutions that take care about these children,” she says “but there are also limits. Most of SMILING CROCODILE´s children need one-o-one care and this can´t be guaranteed at usual special care centres.” In 2012, she opened a special kindergarten and elementary school here in Prague in order to close this gap. At the moment, there is a group of 20 children enjoys the individual care and education they need. This goes beyond the various necessary therapies. However, 40 additional children are on the waiting list due to a lack of space. The larger space that’s needed would also include a hospice.
Why SMILING CROCODILE?
The best medicine is happiness. Hence, the key focus is to create joy for all, be positive and smile – smile like the crocodile, which is omnipresent throughout the premises. The SMILING CROCODILE mascot named Smiley became a member of the team, which learns, plays and laughs with kids. And at one point, it even got married to another SMILING CROCODILE – princess Smilinka during a festive wedding ceremony at town hall. This was based on the fairytale book The Crocodile Story.
A Crocodile in Europe?
Smiley is a hero helping children around the world and traveler, who enjoys traveling to Asia and Africa. As the travel companion of Dagmar they work on educating people about how to integrate children with hearing impairment and other special needs into their society. Over 500 children have already been helped to be able to go regularly to necessary therapies and through various awareness campaigns to be part of mainstream education. “In fact, there is even a global anthem of SMILING CROCODILE, which is produced in many languages already.” She says. The campaign is called “Because I Hear I Live”. Together with her team and many local supporters and partners.
How many “crocodiles” are there?
In fact, there are many, who support the cause of SMILING CROCODILE. All these children, no matter if here in the Czech Republic or in Asia and Africa need special care and many experts help already with assessment, rehabilitation, equipment, education, and integration. All of them deserve a big thank you as they go the extra mile to help these strong children. They are fighters and need our support. Paired with the passion of Dagmar and her team they make a difference in so many people´s lives – children and families.
THE SMILING CROCODILE symbolizes the aim to enable children to have the chance for a happy and fulfilled life with family, friends and the rest of society. Please reach out to Dagmar and THE SMILING CROCODILE, become a friend of the crocodile and let´s make this crocodile smile together. Or join our event on the 20th of August.
Find more information here
Author: Mike Köppe