Clowns Without Borders UK – whose work entertaining children with the healing power of laughter is usually reserved for refugee camps and humanitarian crises – are now sharing live, online, weekly workshops to kids across the UK, as it is kids in the UK who now need support.
Samantha Holdsworth, Director of Clowns Without Borders UK says ‘It’s important children in the UK feel a sense of normalcy at this time. Creating specific opportunities to engage in fun activities and imaginative play is a great way of achieving that. We are in a unique position to provide such opportunities and support the well-being of children at this time.’
‘Humour can help us process and accept what is happening. Without it, our current situation could become overwhelming. That’s the opposite of what children need right now. They need play and laughter to help them express themselves and interpret what is happening’
Clowns Without Borders UK has provided psychosocial support for children affected by humanitarian disasters since 2014 working in more than 13 countries around the world with performances and workshops in numerous humanitarian contexts. These include sharing laughter with children and their communities after Typhoon Haiyan and the earthquakes in Nepal and across refugee camps in Europe and Bangladesh.
Luca, who is 10 years old and based in Chester, England says ‘Usually I am very active and do something almost every night like BMX, football and Cubs, but I haven’t been able to. I miss those activities but most of all I miss my friends.’
‘Clowning has helped me because it’s a fun thing to do and there’s lots of using your imagination. It just takes my mind off things. I like how I am allowed to be silly! I am enjoying learning how to be a clown. People often tell me I act like a clown but here I am learning to do it properly!’
Joey Robinson aka Joey Little Legs who is based in Peckham, London tells us
‘I’ve worked as a clown with Cirque Du Soleil and all around the world. Never in my wildest dream did I think I’d ever be performing in my living room.’
‘I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to find a way to play and find laughter through Zoom but we have. In spite of all the restrictions, we’ve found a way, again, to be “without borders’ and honestly, it’s been wonderful to be able to make a connection with children from my living room’.
Young people can sign up to the weekly Clown Camp here.
By Ellen Jones