Emergency Smile Mission
to Ukraine,
May 2015

The international team of four clowns from RED NOSES organisations from Lithuania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic returned from their mission in Ukraine with their hearts full of smiles, laughter and friendship!


In May 2015, they worked with Internal Displaced People (IDP), mostly with children and teenagers, who were forced to flee with their families due to the on-going armed conflict in Ukraine´s eastern region, leaving everything they knew behind.

With the support from the Lithuanian Embassy and working together with the NGO YMCA Ukraine the visits of RED NOSES clowns sought to bring psychosocial support to people in IDP centers in the Kiev area, after covering the basic humanitarian needs.

The IDPs are living in these centers already for a year or longer. Whole families often live in one small room; parents are not able to find work. They live in the uncertainty of not knowing when and if they will ever able to go back home.

During this Emergency Smile visit RED NOSES clowndoctors performed for more than 800 children and their families and held theater workshops. Clowns have also visited the “Oxmadiet” children’s hospital in Kiev. Our experience has shown that the figure of the clown has the power not only to trigger smiles, but also to stimulate imagination. By engaging the participants to express themselves through arts, they stimulate and support the regeneration of the social fabric by building connections between people.

With the performances the clowns succeeded in bringing a positive atmosphere to the places they visited. Humour and laughter helped to change perspectives and imagine a brighter future.

Then the clowns continued with four experience theatre workshops. A total of 78 children, teenagers and adults worked with the clowndoctors and trained artistic and clown techniques. The result after a couple of days of training was a performance set up for the other residents at the centres. The story performed focused their story of “the journey home”. On stage, the new “superstars” met many obstacles, but also had to opportunity to fulfil their dreams – some became skilful equilibrists, whilst others were able to fly into space. Most importantly they were able to do all of that together with friends.

I didn’t think that your work would be so powerful. You brought so much good energy, positivity and laughter - not only for the kids but also for all of us adults. Thank you. Your work is heaven sent; a gift from up above!” described a pleased mama after one of the workshops.

Also Svetlana, an adult participant from the workshop, stated that the people living in the IDP centre only had one thing in common: they have all been affected by armed conflict. After the workshop with RED NOSES clowns, the people are more open and supportive to each other and even became close friends.

We are proud that we could bring some solace and happiness to families in IDP centres in Ukraine.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

Team of Emercency Smile Ukraine

  • Karola Sakotnik, Project Lead & Artistic Director Emergency Smile,
  • RED NOSES International
  • Indre Vileite, Head of Mission,  RAUDONOS NOSYS, Lithuania
  • Juste Kulaskaukaite, clown, RAUDONOS NOSYS, Lithuania
  • Indre Mickeviciute - Petrauskiene, clown, RAUDONOS NOSYS, Lithuania
  • Pavel Mihalak, clown, ČERVENÝ NOS, Slovakia
  • Jan Sprynar, clown, ZDRAVOTNÍ KLAUN, Czech Republic


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