Those who know me well will know that I am a big believer in play, fun and laughter. My TED talk discusses the importance of every day play in fostering a personal sense of risk, creativity and innovation. And so, when I came across the fantastic work undertaken by Clowns Without Borders, I know I had to get involved.
“For one year, it is the first time that we see our children laugh. We get food and medication, which is very important, but no one thought about bringing us life” – Syrian Refugee in the Karaame Camp
The Clowns Without Borders tagline is ‘No Child Without a Smile’. They send small groups of professional street and circus artists into refugee camps, bringing emotional relief to displaced children, offering humour as psychological support to the traumas experienced.
We all have a right to laughter and play, just as every child has a right to a childhood. These children are living in a no-man’s land, having fled from their homes but not yet accepted elsewhere. Imagine what that feels like as a child. To watch your parents struggle and fight, anxious about an uncertain future.
The KH Foundation is delighted to support the 10-day trip four beautiful and talented artists made from Ireland to the Greek refugee camps in November 2018. As a volunteer group, it is difficult to fundraise and keep such international efforts going, and so I was delighted to step in and support.
This initiative is ultimately what humanity should be about – making an effort to help those less fortunate than yourself, with the skills you have. While it doesn’t solve the refugee crisis, or create a long-term life solution for anyone, there is nothing wrong with making people happy in the short-term. In making people laugh and forget, in making them realise that they are still human, still an audience worth playing to.
Rosie, Jim, Kim and Sam (pictured below) left Ireland on the 14th of November 2018 for their 10-day tour. From witnessing their rehearsals here in Ireland to the actual work they delivered in the camps, I was honoured to be involved.
As Charlie Chaplin once said, ‘a day without laughter is a day wasted’