The Little People Association was born from the initiative of the founders Katie and Shajjad Rizvi in 1996 in Cluj Napoca from the desire to offer every child and adolescent with cancer the support he needs. Currently the association provides the oncopedic field in Romania and the Republic of Moldova a series of high quality services, daily psychosocial support programs for patients, complex events for young cancer survivors, professionalism in coordinating volunteers, material support of hospital departments through projects renovating playrooms, donating medical equipment and purchasing hard-to-reach medications, constant care and involvement from a dedicated team.
“I think fondly of my first meeting with a child from the Oncological Institute in Cluj. I was deeply impressed by his unbridled desire to play, the spontaneity with which he had accepted his situation, and his ingenious way of coping with the difficulty of coloring the edges of a magazine of his grandmother’s, with one hand partially numb from an infusion. I think that was the moment when I really realized that, while we only saw him as a very sick child, in his eyes he remained the same child he had always been: just a small child who was burning with impatience. to play. And he wanted us to see him in the same light.
Since then, I have met thousands of children with cancer in Romania, I have laid the foundations of a well-structured program that provides systematic support, both for these young patients and their families, a program that provides psychosocial interventions based on the international literature in the field, on clinical practices, but also on years and years of experience. However, the basis of this organization is a full conviction that motivates us all the actions we take and all the programs we plan: a child is a child, whether he is sick or not. Even very sick children have the right to live every moment of their lives to the fullest. Our attitude towards them must insistently send them the same message, namely that they are “allowed” to laugh, to play,
Children with cancer are not part of a different class or race. They are children like any other, only they face a very serious challenge that can sometimes endanger their lives. They don’t need mercy. Instead, they need empathy from the heart, care and attention, patience, total commitment from us, and a great deal of professionalism.
Looking at Little People today, I see the same values in each member. I see dedication, commitment to the cause, the desire to learn new things, to work hard and uninterrupted to make a difference. The center of our universe will always remain that little patient, but our work has expanded far beyond what I would have ever imagined. Many years ago we were looking for the best way to help children in Romania cope with the disease they were suffering from and the changes that occurred as a result of this disease. Now, the great challenge we face is that the complex program created by us remains sustainable and be reproduced in as many oncology departments as possible and, at the same time, to study the impact of our interventions, to improve our services, to try new methods, to learn new things – and to be able to teach all this knowledge to others. Every year, the Little People Association trains students in psychology and other associated sciences. These students, carefully selected, trained and supervised, provide the necessary human resources in our clinical activities, being indispensable in the interactions we provide daily in Romanian hospitals. ” – Katie Rizvi, founder of the Little People Association.
The organization ‘s mission is to improve the quality of life of children and young people with cancer, by providing psychosocial support throughout the hospitalization and after treatment, thus contributing significantly to the survival rate of this group of patients. At the heart of the Little People Association universe is the patient. Every planned activity, every organized camp and every written project puts the patient and his family first!
The Little People Association is dedicated to the promise not to expose a patient or minor to illness, pain or negative light and not to use images of human suffering in order to raise funds or make money. If patients want to make certain pictures public (for example in the case of celebrity meetings), parental consent is required in advance.