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Clowns without Borders – this month´s Wishmakers!
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March 31, 2015  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

Imagine a job where the requirements are a huge smile, good vibes and love for children. No, we aren´t talking about a storybook, a play or a circus. We are speaking of Clowns without Borders, a non-profit organization whose mission is to offer laughter to relieve the suffering of all people, especially children, who live in areas including refugee camps, conflict zones and emergency situations. The professional artists who work with Clowns without Borders are probably the bravest clowns in the entire planet. At The Toy Blog we´ve had the chance to interview one of them. Keep reading to discover how laughter can become the best weapon against adversity and learn why Clown without Borders are this months´ Wishmakers.

Founded in Barcelona in 1993, Clowns without Borders partners with individuals and organizations to bring small teams of professional performing artists to share performances and workshops with children and their families in refugee camps, conflict zones, or with communities who have experienced trauma or crisis. And they do it with smiles.

Making people laugh and watch others laugh, when everything else is falling apart, becomes one of the best tools to enhance resilience and hope. Today we interviewed Ramón Fugarolas, member of the Board and expedition member, a title he has chosen to describe his important duty.

For someone who isn´t familiar with Clowns without Borders, how would you describe the mission?

Our mission is to deliver smiles and hope to all those in  places torn by war, conflicts or natural disasters. We believe that a good sense of humour and a huge smile enables people to fight against adversity.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is seeing children´s faces when we are performing or smiling or making them laugh. If we all looked at things through their eyes, the world would be a much better place.

Clowns without Borders uses laughter against pain and drama by engaging children to take part of workshops and games. Just as Ramón pointed out, if we adults could only stop and see things from their perspective, the world would be a better place. Here at The Toy Blog, we published an article precisely on this issue. If you´d like to discover the 6 things we can learn from our children, we encourage you to read this.

Could you tell us a little bit about the future of Clowns without Borders?

We will continue to do what we do in many more places around the world. Having said that, we all dream of a world that didn´t need us.

Through smiles and laughter, Clowns without Borders also creates bridges between villages, which are confronted. Whether it´s performing the same show in two different places or even gathering children who live in different communities, their message generates a connection.

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As parents and educators, we know how important it is to teach our children to live in harmony with others, to be tolerant, to teach them how to be solidary and learn how to accept the differences. If you haven’t had the chance to read these articles, we encourage you to do so by clicking on any of the links above.

Could you share a story about your work in Clowns without Borders?

We went to Sri Lanka a year after the Tsunami. Our logistics were taken care of by a young woman who began to work with children and adults just 8 days after the natural disaster.

When we arrived, we prepared our show and performed. Afterwards, the young woman came to see us and said it was the very first time, she had seen such happy and hopeful faces.

Exactly, what benefits does laughing have?

Physically, they say laughing requires more muscles than any other activity. When we laugh we forget about everything, we relax and are more open to those around us. Laughing makes us feel good, makes us feel free and capable of anything we set our minds to.

Do you have a special trick to make others laugh?

No. A trick is a technique and techniques don´t make anyone laugh. It´s a question of how you look at others, a simple gesture, a funny face or expression can provoke laughter and smiles. Each one of us has our own particular way.

What values does performance and performing have for children?

Any activity that requires creativity, imagination and play is invaluable for children to grow and discover who they are. Performance or plays are great activities because they are performed with the soul, more than the body.

¿What did you learn when you were a child that helped you later on in life?

At home we were eight siblings so there weren’t many toys to play with. So, we invented our own games. A tablecloth would become a hero´s cape, the broom would become a horse… We invented everything we needed in order to play. I’m not saying its better to have no toys. I’m just saying that ´children don´t really need that much to play with.

Who were your wishmakers growing up?

My mother. She was the one who taught me to overcome life´s challenges with alternatives. When I was little, for example, we didn’t have a TV and when it finally arrived, I had seven brothers and sisters to take care of. But every Sunday, my mother would sit with me and we´d play for hours on end and make up games or do arts and crafts.

What is the best gift we can give our children?

Love. If we give them love, they are the ones who will, in return, give us the life´s best gift.

At The Toy Blog, we bow our heads to these brave clowns, whose smiles help thousands of children all over the world to overcome tragedy, pain and the aftermath of war. Without them, these children would eventually forget what hope, happiness and laughter is. They would forget to be children.

If you care to donate, collaborate or become a volunteer, click on any of the links below. And remember, it´s important to talk to our children about the world we live in. Aside from teaching them to value what they have, the little ones will learn to become responsible and solidary citizens of the world.

To donate

To become a volunteer

Photo Credits: Samuel Rodríguez y Magmon Tona de Payasos sin Fronteras

 

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