Our mission in Palestine:  to also spread healing laughter in crisis regions

 

It was a very special and emotional moment!  After several months of preparations and intensive training, our six Arab clowns headed off to the first official clown visit in the Beit Jala Government Hospital (King Hussein) on 30 October 2011.

A dream had come true for Khalid Massou, Director of the INAD Center for Theater and Arts.  First attempts to consolidate a co-operation between RED NOSES International and artists in Palestine had already taken place in 2005.  However, due to insufficient funding and the unstable political situation in the region, this important endeavour had to be put on hold for the last few years.   This was an unfortunate event in exactly in a region constantly undergoing turmoil and traumas, and where experienced clowns are needed more than ever in local hospitals.

Finally, at the beginning of 2011 a new project was brought into life with the help of the European Commission and the Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development.

Since then two auditions and training workshops lasting a couple of weeks were held in Beit Jala.  The chosen artists were also invited to attend intensive courses and coaching sessions in Vienna during the spring of 2011.  The outcome of all this hard work was the formation of a new team of six talented and highly motivated clowns.  The newly formed group now known as, Dr. Clown, has the task of carrying out our mission in Beit Jala, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Hebron.

“Thank you, RED NOSES International, for believing in us!  Thank you for your trust.  Thank you for sharing your expertise and know-how with us.  We consider ourselves very privileged to have been able to learn so much from you and are extremely proud that Dr. Clown is now able to bring joy and laughter to children in hospitals in the Palestinian Territories,” Khalid Massou said in an emotional speech at the press conference during the opening ceremony of the first official clown visit.

Monica Culen and Giora Seeliger, co-founder and RNI’s Artistic Director, together with a small delegation from RNI headquarters in Vienna were present for this special occasion. Amongst the many invited guests were the Mayor of Beit Jala, Dr. Yousef Abu Jries, the Mayor of Bethlehem, Dr. Victor Batarseh, plus representatives from the Palestinian Ministry of Health and Culture who all heartily welcomed and supported the activities of Dr. Clown in Palestine.

“We are so grateful to RNI for not forgetting the many Palestinian children.  Your support means a great deal to us,” added Dr. Victor Batarseh.

“RNI is also very proud and thankful for the good cooperation so far.   We are also happy that we succeeded in launching this extremely important and much needed program with the joint efforts of the whole Palestinian and Austrian project teams.  This once more proves the effectiveness and strength of our mission.  Laughter helps - all over the world!” Monica Culen, co-founder and Managing Director of RNI, expressed her satisfaction of yet another success story in the organization’s history.

Filled with confidence we eagerly look towards next year, and although we have lots of work ahead of us, we’re very confident that we’ll overcome all challenges.

"Dr. Clown" has also been presented on TV:

 

Natalie Porias, project co-ordinator, is always happy to answer any enquiries.

Contact:

natalie.porias@rednoses.eu

Tel: 0043 1 318 03 13-25

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