great day for UP!

Submitted by ConsciousBabe on Thu, 2011-12-08 10:45

The UPliftment programme is a local organisation committed to uplifting and supporting society by sharing the healing power of joy.

A child benefits from playA child benefits from play

Through their work, The UP encourages people’s natural inclination towards kindness and love. Their aim is to inspire the growth of laughter, smiles and play in the world.

‘Bliss is the gift you receive when you share joy with another,’ believes Nicola Jackman, founder and chairlady (AKA ‘cheer lady’) of The UP. Self-proclaimed ‘joy activist’ this lovely lady is all about bringing back the smile, in a big way.

‘I like to greet people as I pass them, as nothing beats the feeling of seeing someone eyes light up,’ says Nicola.

For years The UP have been training Care Clown volunteers in the art of ‘joy sharing' and ‘empathic care’ so that they can help brighten up the days of those most in need. They visit hospitals, schools, crèches and even police stations.

‘There is a kind of selflessness involved when we visit the children that are unwell,’ says Lauren Steyn, practising Care Clown. ‘You have to leave all your stuff behind and become a vessel of love for others.’

Never underestimate the power of playNever underestimate the power of play

The benefits of happiness goes without saying, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we dedicate enough time to it. The UP reminds us there is importance in play and learning to let go, taking inspiration from the laughter meditation sessions that take place regularly in places like India.

‘Ultimately, I want to share all that I have learnt so that everyone may be able to facilitate ‘joy sessions’,’ says Nicola. ‘I like the idea that we can help re-ignite excitement in people’s lives, bringing with it a tangible vibrancy.’

During Tuesdays media meeting, she led us press through a session of games and laughter exercises. Before we began, we were told to put all of our ‘stuff’- stress, worry and the like - into an imaginary bag and ‘throw it away’. Afterwards we played the ‘princess/monster’ game, a bit of ‘evolution ching-chong-cha!’ , ending off with some laughing mimicry.

I soon forgot myself in the breathless games, becoming a child again as I tried my hardest to evolve into a lion and put on my best princess face. In a world where people like to take themselves very seriously, it was refreshing to experience some good old-fashioned ‘fun’.

‘In these tough times, I hear people say things like ‘…but I don’t have the money to have fun!’’ Nicola says. ‘But the reality is you can find play wherever you are!’

Nicola, the founder, always seems to have a smile on her faceNicola, the founder, always seems to have a smile on her face

Join The UP on the 16th December for its Free Family Fun event .

To find out more about the Joy Activist/Care Clown training or how you as a school/company can get involved, contact the UPliftment Programme on 083 300 2177 or email

As well as her work through The UP, Nicola Jackman is planning her 1-woman show tour, MAfrikan Dream , that will begin the end of January.