RED NOSES Clowndoctors bring joy and laughter to internally displaced children in Ukraine

RED NOSES Clowndoctors began a two-week “Emergency Smile” mission to Ukraine on 1 May 2015 in cooperation with YMCA Ukraine. The main objective of this mission is to support the youth who were displaced as a result of the on-going armed conflict in Ukraine´s eastern region. Currently the number of internally displaced Ukrainians stands at more than 1,000,000.

After meeting the basic humanitarian needs, it is important not to forget the necessity to provide this population with the necessary psychosocial support. Through the use of special artistic techniques, the team of four ´clowndoctors` from Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia will open the platform to create an enabling atmosphere that seeks to empower children and provide them with coping strategies. The aim is to help these children and teenagers to identify and express their emotions and rediscover positive feelings.

Working in IDP centres in Kiev, and making use of a humorous approach, the clowndoctors hold interactive theatre workshops with the youth and perform to a wider audience including parents and staff.

"We want to promote solidarity and help assisting the Ukrainian people who are suffering from the prolonged conflict, especially one of the most vulnerable groups - children and teenagers. Due to the unstable situation, there is the constant need to fully support them. We believe that the clown figure will be useful in this setting. Even if only for a few moments, people can distance themselves from problems, they are allowed to experience joy and laughter and let themselves be filled with optimism” - states Indre Vileite, head of mission and Managing Director of “RED NOSES” in Lithuania. She adds, “The clown has the power not only to trigger smiles, but also to stimulate imagination and to help regenerate the social fabric by building connections between people. The clown gives hope”.

Prior to the activities in Kiev, Ukraine, a workshop is taking place in Vilnius, led by Emergency Smile project leader Karola Sakotnik from RED NOSES International. Participating in the workshop are Lithuanian, Czech and Slovak performing actors who work as professional clowndoctors for the respective organizations in their countries. This mission follows previous successful engagements in Cameroon (2013) and Jordan (2014 and 2015).

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

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