Third Emergency Smile Mission to Lesvos

04.October 2022

In closed cooperation with Eurorelief, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Crisis Management Association (CMA), for over three weeks, our international team from Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania and Poland, brought psychosocial support to the Mavrovouni camp and its surroundings.

The situation in the Mavrovouni Camp, in the Island of Lesvos, was very similar as the last time our team was there. At the beginning of 2022, the total population of Mavrovouni Camp (Moria 2.0) was of 1.922 people including 484 children. If the number of residents in the camp is relatively low compared to the past, when 20.000 people were estimated living in Moria camp, and the basic living conditions have been improved thanks to the work done by many aid organisations, the situation for people on the island remains very challenging. Even though the camp is not currently overcrowded, two families are still sharing an 18 square meter isobox.

In these strenuous circumstances, our healthcare clowns create an enabling and supportive environment that encourages and promotes the children and their families’ active participation. By turning the performances into restorative experiences, and not merely recreational moments, we seek to attenuate the tension and vulnerability to which these people are exposed every day.

Circus Smile for families

Circus Smile is a workshop for children that takes place each day for a few hours. It usually ends with a final show where children and clowns perform, for their families and care takers, the circus skills they have learnt that week.

For this mission, with the support of Eurorelief, we had the opportunity to host Circus Smile workshops not only for kids but for families as well. It was beautiful and chaotic all at the same time. The mothers were extremely grateful to get this bonding time with their children.

“At circus smile, there are many challenges, but so much laughter, new discoveries, companionship, and breathing. It is an encounter where, through the language of circus, children and adults learn to deal with their limits, balance, patience, and recognition.

The fact of learning acrobatics, for example, doing a somersault, makes you live in the moment, get to test yourself, forget about the problems and focus on the exercise. It is a way of learning by playing and creating”. Luciana, healthcare clown working in the mission to Lesbos.

Men’s musical workshop

At the time our team was on this mission, there were 426 single men in the camp. Our team thought that getting them involved in some activity would greatly improve the overall atmosphere of the camp, so in cooperation with the coordinator of the single men’s area for Eurorelief, we succeeded to do a musical workshop with the single men of the Mavrovouni Camp.

One evening, the clowns went along with many musical instruments, a speaker and a rough plan, of music, rhythm games, etc.

It was great to see the team, men from the camp and aid workers all making music together. At one point the noise got so loud that the police arrived, only to find a musical gathering where they could also laugh, relax and get involved.

This is one more proof that our work can impact not only the children but the whole camp. Children, women, families, aid workers, single men, everyone can benefit from joy. We are able to create safe spaces for everyone and music is a great way to bring people together.

Humour Relief Workshops

During an Emergency Smile Mission, we regularly offer several Humour Relief Workshops for aid workers, medical staff and volunteers working in crisis settings. These workshops demonstrate how humour can create a powerful emotional connection between people, enhance and stimulate social interactions, reduce stress and anxiety, and foster a better professional environment.

 “The Humour Relief Workshop was such a gift for our leadership team. Being responsible for member care in our NGO I see a lot of volunteers that take too little time to take care of themselves.

This workshop helped us to focus on other things than work and to relate, relax, laugh and be encouraged. It was a very joyful and helpful time, to see my colleagues have fun made me very happy.” - Henk, coordinator for member care for Eurorelief Lesvos.

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