Clowns Without Borders brings laughter during crisis to kids around the world
Clown troupe has been entertaining children in crisis areas since 1993
Clowns without Borders is a non-profit organization that provides laughter to relieve the suffering of persons, particularly children, who live in conflict zones, including refugee camps, crisis areas and other situations.
Members of Clowns Without Borders have performed in war-torn and conflict-ridden areas all over the world. The group is currently operating in several countries, including El Salvador and Liberia, with upcoming projects planned for 2016 in Haiti and San Antonio, Texas.
Earlier this week, members of the clown troupe were busy entertaining kids in Liberia:
'We miss laughter'
In 1993, Spanish clown Tortell Poltrona was asked to perform for refugee children in Croatia. The children reportedly told their Spanish friends, "You know what we miss most? We miss laughter, to have fun, to enjoy ourselves."
So Poltrona filled his car with clowns and headed to a Croatian refugee camp, where he was greeted by hundreds of children and families. That performance marked the beginning of Clowns Without Borders, which continues to work with refugee children in conflict areas.
The plight of refugees in Syria has arguably been one of the biggest news stories of the past year. But even before the crisis was making headlines, Clowns Without borders was working with refugees in the area. Above, Syrian refugee children smile while watching members of the clown troupe perform at a camp in Bekaa valley, Lebanon in June 2014.
Respite for refugees
Lebanese clown Sabine Choucair recently returned from Lesbos,Greece, where she performed for refugees, providing some much needed comfort for those making a perilous journey by sea in search of a better life in Europe.
Members of Clowns Without Borders performed in front of young survivors of the super Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city, Leyte province, in December 2013. Survivors of the Philippines' deadliest typhoon spent a gloomy Christmas that year surrounded by mud as heavy rain drove many inside their flimsy shelters, dampening efforts to retain some holiday cheer in the deeply devout nation.
The clowns also entertained refugee children in Congo during a 25-day tour in 2009.
Clowns Without Borders also worked with rural communities in the tiny African kingdom of Lesotho to bring laughter to village children as well as train local care givers. Here, clown Jamie Lachman, also known as "Banjo Max," sings a song with a mother while performing for the sick at a medical clinic near Malealea, Lesotho in July 2008.
The clown troupe has performed in Haiti many times over the years — most recently in 2014 — and is planning to return to the impoverished Caribbean nation again in March. The group appears at schools across the country, bringing some fun to children who are under continual threats of violence.
Clowns Without Borders have also worked in the Palestinian territories on several occasions. Here, the clowns are seen performing on the Palestinian side of the Israeli built West Bank barrier in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis in August 2004.