Reflecting on 2018
A Letter from Jill
2018 was a big year for CircusAid. We built a geodesic dome from scratch and built it up and took it down continuously throughout the summer in multiple camps so we could provide a safe and inspiring space to teach circus skills to the residents in Malakasa, Eleonas and Thiva camps.
Here are some stats from our summer:
*15 volunteer circus facilitators
*30 dome builds and take downs
*50 days of CircusAid workshops
*180 kids and young adults per week attended our classes.
*1800 CircusAid experiences provided to refugees within Eleonas, Thiva and Malakasa camps this summer.
There have been many times this summer I have been on the receiving end of generosity and kindness from the refugee communities we have been working with. I am so grateful for the lessons these communities have taught me in terms of resilience, kindness, collaboration, courage and character. We look forward to our next projects in 2019
The CircusAid Mobile Circus Tent
This year CircusAid is raising funds for the material and labour needed to build a mobile circus tent. The build will occur between March and May 2018 lead by Aris Varagulis a Greece local from the island of Corfu and Sana Garner from New York City. While Aris will direct the structural components, Sana is designing the tent's aesthetic—a prismatic kaleidoscope of color and light. This array of chromatic geometries will create a warm, whimsical environment and serve as a beacon of fantasy from beyond. Sana will also document the tent construction process.
The tent will be used in our 3 month summer residency program this coming June- September 2018 and future projects throughout Europe. Your financial contribution will enable us to fund this capital expense which will support our program goals. We have run circus workshops without this structure for the past two years and have come up against many obstacles relating to adequate space. We are often facilitating workshops on concrete grounds covered in garbage, no shade or sun protection, with the added difficulty of finding adequate rigging prohibiting us from teaching aerial. Having no physical boundary within the space we facilitate also makes instruction and focus difficult. Bringing a magical and safe physical environment into the refugee camp in the form of a mobile circus tent we believe will encourage engagement and the transference of circus skills into little performances the participants will want to show in the space. We receive a lot of interest from volunteers wanting to donate their circus skills to CircusAid projects. We have also been able to keep 40-60% of the equipment in decent enough shape to reuse it for next years project. Although we could benefit from funding that would enable us to upgrade our equipment, pay our volunteer circus facilitators for their services and help cover some of our on the ground operating costs in Athens; the project can still run as is, it just makes it a little more laborious for us all. The need to fund the mobile circus tent is a matter of providing a safer space and more inspiring environment for the participants to engage, grow and continue as a collective.
*PLEASE HELP SUPPORT THE BUILD OF THE MOBILE CIRCUS TENT AND EMPLOYMENT OF SKILLED LABOR WITHIN REFUGEE CAMPS BY MAKING A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION HERE
Voulnteering in Athens
In 2018, CircusAid will be providing up to three workshops per day in multiple circus disciplines at refugee camps surrounding Athens. The workshops include clowning, juggling, hula hooping, acro-balance and games to provide an immediate alternative from the adverse mental health effects of occupational deprivation. The interactions the refugees have within the circus experience promote trust, empathy, communication, reciprocity and teamwork. These social and emotional qualities, once integrated, are transferred towards the newly acquired relationships and occupational roles migrants make within their new communities; ultimately enabling more diverse and integrated cross cultural communities to thrive.
This year’s project will involve two visits to Athens.
2 Month Mobile Circus Tent Build in Corfu March 1st- May 1st
Aim: Complete the building of the mobile circus tent for use in our summer residency June 1st-September 1st, 2018
* Employ local Greece building professionals to lead the build.
* Purchase materials, tools and resources from local Greece industries and manufacturers.
*Employ skilled labor from within the refugee camps to assist in the build process.
3 month CircusAid residency in Athens June 1st-September 1st, 2018
Based on the project’s success from last year, CircusAid has received recurring invitations to partner with three other NGO’s in the Skaramangas, Eleonas, and Malakasa Camps surrounding the Athens area to provide social circus workshops to the residents that focus on addressing short term occupational deprivation as well as facilitating experiences for life skills acquisition to help the participants in their resettlement.
* Providing ongoing circus workshops throughout the residency, which will engage approximately 4,800 refugees in over 250 hours of social circus workshops.
* Create, direct and performing a final show with refugee participants.
* Train five young adult refugee participants in Social Circus facilitation to continue the workshops once CircusAid leaves the camps in September 2018.
* Work in collaboration with 3-4 different already established refugee support organizations including Project Elea, A Drop in the Ocean and Secours Islamique France.
* Provide 60+ days of social circus workshops (3-6 hours/day)
* Serve approximately 40 people per day.
* Serve mixed ethnic groups (Afghani, Syrian, Iraqi, Sudanese, Eritrean, Ethiopian)
* Facilitate workshops in the following activities: Juggling, clowning, acro-balance, aerial and performance building.