Conveying important educational lessons through humour 

GREECE - June 2016

The cooperation between RED NOSES Clowndoctors International, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Hellenic Red Cross (HRC) has been a huge success. By combining the expertise of each organisation, the refugees have directly benefited from the increased level of coordination.

Our second Emergency Smile team of artists, namely Tarek Zboun (RED NOSES in Palestine), Hakan Yavas (ROTE NASEN Österreich - RED NOSES in Austria), and Gabriela Rajniakova (ČERVENÝ NOS - RED NOSES in Slovakia), have been actively traveling to refugee camps near Athens since May 21st. In each camp they visited, a large crowd was always there anticipating their arrival. Word spread quickly as the audience eagerly awaited the performances. Each show began with a clown parade encouraging everyone to dance and sing along. Their latest show, “A Lovely Second Home” continued to make children laugh and communicate to them the importance of collecting garbage. 

Volunteers representing the Norwegian NGO, “A Drop in the Ocean” in Piraeus, were amazed at the impact our shows had. Tarra (pictured left), a volunteer originating from the United States, shared with us her enthusiasm for the clownish interventions, “I've never seen the kids so calm, peaceful and passionate to learn!"

Employees of the IFRC and the HRC, Sandra and Anabel, were as equally enthusiastic, "It is great that you guys are here. The bonds you create with them are amazing!” Both women are fully trained pyschologists working in Ritsonas. Their support for us is based off of observing numerous interactions between the clowns and the refugee children, “Thank you for your work. It is necessary and helpful - not only for children but also for the adults. We have never seen these women laugh as much as they are today."

The Emergency Smile team traveled often, visiting camps in Kordelio (approximately 1800 refugees), Cherso (approx. 3800 refugees) and Nea Kavala (approx. 4000 refugees). The clowns noticed that the children have an appetite for creative activities. Our artists encourage this natural curiousit in order to cultivate a safe learning environment. 

With a smooth transition, the third Emergency Smile team, consisting of January Špryňar (ZDRAVOTNÍ KLAUN - RED NOSES in Czech Republic), Tina Janezic (RDEČI NOSKI - RED NOSES in Slovenia) and Eva Trubanova (ČERVENÝ NOS – RED NOSES in Slovakia) to take over the mission from the previous team and began their tour in late June. 

They created a new production called "Olympic Smiles". The story explores how each clown wants to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. In order to do so, their strict coach, Gigi, prepares the team in the disciplines of singing, water ballet and handwashing. Their adventure is full of cultural anecdotes, slapstick and mutual respect. The premiere of the show debuted to over 70 children. It could not have gone any better, the children were so delighted and enthusiastic to learn more. 


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