The conflict in Ukraine continues - and so does the psychosocial support provided by RED NOSES International for internally displaced persons

This month marks the sad anniversary of the third year of the on-going Ukrainian crisis. This conflict has spillover effects for the daily lives of each Ukrainian. Over 1.5 million people have been forced to flee eastern Ukraine and are officially regarded as internally displaced persons (IDPs). Of these, nearly 150,000 IDPs are located in Kiev.

In partnership with the Ukrainian Red Cross Society (URCS) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), a team of four international RED NOSES clowns traveled to Ukraine for the sixth Emergency Smile mission. This particular mission marks the third successful cooperation with URCS. The team arrived on July 1 and will travel to three separate cities spending a week in each destination.

Their goal is to bring more happiness to these families, especially the children, through humour, respect and empathy. The professional artists will work with the children over a period of five days to create a grand circus performance. The show’s theme will be inspired by the young participants and their newfound creativity. Often, the narrative explores emotions of feeling at home or a sense of belonging. These themes often elicit strong emotional reactions from the audience and draw a large applause from family and loved ones at the show. 

The workshops have a lot to offer by developing undiscovered talents and skills that each child may have. These physical sessions are complemented by the psychosocial support each artist provides to the children. The stage experience also builds their self-confidence. In the rehearsals for the final performance, the children learn to work together and on their ability to concentrate as well as learn to deal with small mishaps humorously. Respect, tolerance and cheerfulness characterize the daily sessions.

Based in Vienna, RED NOSES International recruited four of the best and most qualified clowns from the 346 which are employed in the 10 RED NOSES countries. 

The team consisted of:

+ Alla Abramova (RED NOSES in Slovenia)

+ Juste Kulakauskaite (RED NOSES in Lithuania)

+ Pavel Mihaľák (RED NOSES in Slovakia)

+ Jan Šprynar (RED NOSES in the Czech Republic)

In addition to the appropriate language skills, these artists have extensive experience in Emergency Smile missions in crisis regions.

The three week mission begins in Kiev, after which, the clown team also travels to URCS branches in Pryluky and Poltava to work with their beneficiaries - IDP families and children.

In all three locations there will also be humour workshops for URCS volunteers and employees. These workshops will focus on sharing skills with the URCS staff on how to use humor and happiness in working with IDPs and facilitate their daily lives.

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