Ideas Box part 2

Part 2 of Ideas Box began this week with Joelle starting the digital storytelling workshops with the kids.

They first got into pairs and filmed each other presenting themselves to the camera. They were then shows 2 short films which were followed by a group discussion.

The first session acted as an introduction to the world of film as a tool for storytelling. It was an opportunity for the participants to familiarise themselves with the equipment and for Joelle to introduce them to some visual material.

Ideas Box

We are very excited to be taking part in the IDEAS BOX project in collaboration with INTERSOS and the Geothe Institut which started in April and will be running through the summer.

The aim is to provide local youth in Choueifat with social therapy sessions designed to explore personal stories in a safe and judgment free environment. The teens are encouraged to work as a team and the sessions revolve around play, imagination and team work.

Chantal of of Clown Me In’s amazing clowns, has been running the theatre and storytelling workshop sin April, introducing the teenagers to different theatre techniques.

Her sessions begin with dynamic group exercises to strengthen bonds within the group. The focus is then shifted onto the individual to help participants to connect with themselves and find their inner strength and stories before partaking group storytelling and theatre exercises.

We are looking forward to beginning the digital storytelling part of the project with Joelle very soon!

Clown tour supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Lebanon

With the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in Lebanon, we started our clown tour around Lebanon, where we are offering 20 performances and workshops to Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese kids throughout the country.

5 clowns are already on the go -The performance is highly physical and visual, it follows the trip of the clowns, the preparations, their games and their little misunderstandings. It is based on clown skits, routines and fun interactive games.

 Clowns touring:  
Sabine Choucair, Sara Berjawi, Layal Ghanem, Walid Saliba and Hisham Abou Nasr.
Tour dates and places: 
April 19th  – Majdel Anjar, Saadnayel – 10.30 am , 12.30pm
April 20th  – Bar Elias, Nahrieh – 10.30 am, 12.30pm
April 21rst – Malala school – 10.30am, 12.30pm
April 22nd – Sawa camps Bekaa – 10.30am, 12.30pm
May 19th   – Palestinian camps Beirut – 10.30am, 12.30pm
May 20th   – Dar Al Aytam Beirut – 10.30am, 3pm
May 21rst  – La Maison des Jeunes et de la culture Zouk – 11am
May 22nd  – Kefraya, Lela – 10.30am, 12.30pm
May 26th   – Sour – 10.30am, 12.30pm, 3pm
May 27th   – Saida palestinian camps – 10.30am, 12.30pm

Lesvos- Greece with Clowns Without Borders

I remember before going to Lesvos, a friend who works for Unicef told me that it is going to be an intense trip.
My answer was: ” I am used to working with refugees, I think it will be fine”.
She was definitely so right about that.  I will share here some observations – statuses I have posted – pictures and videos from the journey-
What was I doing there with Clowns Without Borders? You can watch these two videos

and the AJ+ video below

October 28th
Our first performances in lesvos …
We’ve done one camp and a harbor so far.
It is so beautiful to be able to draw smiles on bored, tired, anxious, worried faces.
Thank you @clownswithoutborders Luz Gaxiola Clay Mazing and Molly Rose for being an amazing team. Clowns Without Borders

October 29th
Lesvos is where you can plan nothing ahead of time; even deciding to go to the toilet involved two shows because… why not? And what else we’re here for!
At night, it was a different story. we heard of a boat that had capsized with 400 people on it. We ran there not in clown costumes. I was translating, supporting wounded people, people who lost family members, women and kids. Molly and Luz helping with distributing warm clothes to the lucky ones who made it and Clay playing music for a family who couldn’t find their father and supported us.
There was this man in his 40s, crying sooooo much. I thought he had lost a family member like many others around. We sat together and he recounted
that the moment they started swimming he saw a baby in a life jacket drowning, he held him tight and swam and swam and swam…
then looked to check on him to realize that he was only holding the life jacket.
The baby slipped away and with him this man’s soul got lost in the sea…

Lesvos is a land where everyone you encounter has tears in their eyes.
Tears of joy after finding a sibling, a daughter, a son, a wife, a husband, a mother or a father.
Tears of horror and sadness after the loss of family members.
Tears of tiredness from sleeping on the sides of the roads, from the very cold nights and from hunger.
Tears of compassion specially observed on faces of the Greek people who are trying their best to help. The journalists who are covering the heartbreaking news, the volunteers coming from all over the world who (most of them) have never encountered that much misery in one place…
Tears of us clowns after every interaction with the crowds.
Lesvos is tired. Very very tired.

Thank you Clowns Without Borders today we performed 4 shows and done different “Clown Pit Stops” in different camps and ports.
Seeing people smiling (kids and adults) melts my heart…

I danced with this little kid on the right side of the picture wearing the light brown jacket and clapping. He was soaking wet but very happy to play and laugh with the clowns after enduring a rough time in the sea. He is a marvelous dancer by the way.
It wasn’t until today that I understood why he was so wet.
This kid survived the sinking boat and now off to a hopefully better life.

Sabine Choucair's photo.
We were on a “Clown Pit Stop” on the side walk of the harbor – there was this guy wearing a pink google shirt – he made a joke in Arabic that I didn’t really get but everybody in the crowd roared laughing; I thought this guy must be even funnier than us clowns so I invited him to take my part
his first comment was: ” Well, my dad is dead, he was burnt from head to toe and I almost died last night in the sea, so I might as well have some fun now”
Clay Mazing lasso’ed him and hugged him tight
Luz Gaxiola played amazing music while some bubbles were flying in the air.

it was a beautiful moment for him and us.
I feel so humbled to have taken part in this magical, hopeful, clown moment.
thank you Clowns Without Borders
Sabine Choucair's photo.

Today while performing in the UNHCR waiting area of one of the camps, a 10 year old kid was enjoying the show until he heard the sound of a helicopter. pure coincidence; I was looking at him at that specific moment.
His world collapsed, his smile turned into extreme fear, he looked at the sky then in no time put his and the two other kids’ heads on the floor and shouted : ” an airplane an airplane – hide hide”. But the other kids didn’t understand why he was acting this way and they did not obey…
That terrified him even more. He was shivering so much.

Not sure if he knew the other kids or just felt responsible for the ones next to him at that specific moment. But what I’m sure of is that this kid saw all the airplanes that once flew over his house in Syria in one fraction of a second.
At that specific moment I couldn’t help myself from crying. I went and hugged him, the helicopter left. We continued the show and he smiled again…
I hope it will be long before he hears such sounds again.

A happy day in Lesvos.
So far everyone arrived safely. We helped some people getting to the first registration camp and performed there.
One girl loved the small origami tree she got during one clown skit and after the show came to me and asked if we will go to Sweden because she’s going there.
I said she will definitely meet some other clowns there. Then she replied with a very sad and concerned face : ” but we will be staying in a house there and not in a camp – clowns don’t come to houses.”
Hurray clowns for making the refugee camps a desired place


an illustrator followed us to one of our shows in Moria camp in Lesvos
the outcome is worth sharing.
Thank you Hannah Kirmes-daly

From today’s show
Well one of the shows

Clowns Without Borders's photo.

6 November 

A ‪#‎rubber_boat‬ can mean putting people’s lives in danger, sinking and loosing loved ones but can also mean a new life worth being celebrated with the clowns;
Lesvos is where contradictory feelings travel with you all day long and mess with your mind!
Sabine Choucair's photo.

kids in Lesvos taught me that the simplest acts are the most meaningful ones
Clowns Without Borders, Molly Rose Luz Gaxiola Clay Mazing Clown Me In ClownMe In

Global Handwshing day – with UN Habitat

UN Habitat Lebanon has commissioned us ( the Clown Me In group) to perform in different public schools in Lebanon (supported by the ministry of Culture) – throughout the month of October and November 2015.

The touring performance is specifically tailored to tackle the hand-washing and hygiene theme. 

Sadly, this year, hygiene is one of the most important themes in Lebanon and specially among kids who are ( like everyone else) being exposed to all sorts of bacteria and skin diseases because of the excess of garbage on our streets and under our bridges. 

We are very humbled and thrilled to have been given this task. The clowns are having a lot of fun with the kids, laughing, playing, creating, dreaming and sharing precious moments. 
Clown Me In performances aim to make audiences laugh, they’re simple and soulful but also shed a light on social and cultural issues. 

For more pictures please visit this link 

Clown Attack – Trash problem in Lebanon

With the horrific trash problem happening now in Lebanon and the government that is not coming up with sustainable solutions – 

Clown Me In decided to join the #Tol3et_Rihetkom movement to call for sustainable, long-term solutions to this problem in its own fun way.  

We definitely added some humour to the tensed situation and  enjoyed playing, chanting and singing our 2 specially prepared clown songs. 

And we even made the above the fold photo on the Daily Star front page right under a title describing the challenges of the Lebanese Cabinet! 🙂 
Now this is fun!!!!  

Clown Me In Attack – Litter

On the 31st of May, between 4 and 5.30pm the clowns will descend…attacking the streets of Hamra with jokes, joy, and litter

Lebanon is a world leader in the art of littering, but we can do more! 

Join us as we drive our ecoclown car and artfully decorate the city with gorgeous aluminium scraps and angelic pieces of neglected plastic…because there’s no such thing as too many clowns, or too much garbage.

Clown Tours in Lebanon with Syrian Refugees and Lebanese community

 The year 2014 was amazing for our Clowns Without Borders Clown Me IN trips in Lebanon.

December 1rst till 17th we were touring in different Lebanese schools, partnering with MAG and LMAC who’s one of their many missions is “mine risk education”.
Clowns and mines education? it was definitely a super challenging theme. Samantha Holdsworth, Jan Damm, Clay Letson and myself accepted this fun challenge and came up with a super fun 30min performance. It was fun for us and I guess also fun for the kids.
Jim Muir from BBC followed us in one of our tours on the borders.

In June, CWB partened with Layan organisation- 4 clowns – Luz Gaxiola, Dave Clay, Claudio Martinez and myself – performed and gave workshops for Syrian refugees in the Bekaa and in the North of Lebanon.

photo by – Farah Kassem

We spent 15 days, performed 19 times for over 3800 kids.

It was an amazing amazing experience. I remember many sweet moments but one of the best was when we were performing in the back room of a mosque in the Bekaa and one guy was passing by!!! he loved what we were doing and asked us if we could go perform for the kids at the camp where he lives.

Photo by Farah Kassem

Us clowns, we loved the idea, and without even giving it a second thought we went. We were welcomed by tons and tons of red flowers held by the kids who were jumping around, laughing and hugging us…

Photo by Farah Kassem

Photo by Farah Kassem

Below I am sharing the work of the AP journalist Simone Camilli –
Simone passed away while covering the Gaza war few months after doing this awesome work.

IRC – Social Therapy in Jordan

A group of devoted, super excited, flamboyant young Syrian refugee girls in Ramtha-Jordan hit the streets today to send as message. They had a clear target, playing along with people on the streets, using home made cupcakes as vehicles to send a message changing attitudes in Jordan towards Syrian female refugees.

The group formed of 18 girls between the age of 13 and 19, 4 of the IRC team members and myself spent 2 weeks of social therapy in Ramtha-Jordan, the home of more than 60000 Syrian refugees now. We laughed together, played like kids, listened carefully to each other stories, shared the grief, supported each other and most importantly created something new out of what exists.

Usually in this kind of sessions and while sharing stories, the group points out some of their life difficulties and create practical positive ways to deal with them.

Being a female teenager is tough. Add being a Syrian refugee to the mix, and it’s not exactly the most pleasant way to spend the most sensitive years of your life. Not only have the girls expressed regular teenage frustrations, but they also feel they’ve lost the things they are familiar with that would have made those frustrations easier to deal with: their friends, their homes, their rooms, their belongings. In addition, being in a foreign country has had its challenges. The majority of Jordanians have really embraced the new refugees into their communities, but some have had a harder time adjusting to the new changes. Some of the Syrian girls said they experienced bullying in school, being called “strangers” and having a hard time fitting in with the other Jordanian girls as the stigma of being a refugee looms large. This, they said, hurt their self esteem and sometimes made them feel insecure.

Their own therapy started by a small idea. Wanting to send a clear message to the people they fear the most- the Jordanians. It was an amazing process where these “mostly” shy girls let their imagination drive the conversation. Each one added one more idea to the previous one, and in no time we had a project created and ready to execute. Only then, they all went silent for a moment, looked at each other amazed by the final product they came up with and went: “Oh no, how did we even come up with that? We can’t walk on the streets and distribute cupcakes, what would people say?” “What if people we know see us?”

“We cannot do it it’s impossible! “

But still there was something deep down motivating them. They formed 2 committees, organised the day, went to the supermarket, bought what is needed prepared the kitchen for a long day of baking cakes and started thinking about the messages they want to send.

That day was one of the most amusing, fun days we spent together. The centre was vibrating, loud Arabic music playing, some girls baking, others brainstorming, typing, cutting pieces of papers, gluing, decorating the cakes, laughing and dancing from time to time.

10 min before hitting the streets, half of the group decided that they can’t do it, they were too scared to face the world outside. Wasn’t long before we all convinced them and off we went.

Our first stop was at the butcher’s shop next to the community centre, one of the main characters that the girls despise and fear every time they pass by him. He thought the initiative was amazing, he said “I am going to take this cupcake to my wife, we always wondered what you girls do in this centre everyday”.

The excitement of the girls was growing with each step they took far from the centre. They made 160 cupcakes with 15 different messages among which: “ I am like your mother, daughter and sister. Treat me like you want other people to treat them”. “Border is an imaginary line why use it with us?” “ All I am worried about now is how we will pay rent and eat, please don’t make it harder on me” “thank you for welcoming us” etc. They reached more than 160 people. One of the girls who initially didn’t want to go on the streets stopped at one point took more cupcakes and said: “ this is super exciting, I think I can easily do it. Give me more cakes to share with people”.

For the girls, this project gave them the opportunity to go beyond themselves, to support each other, boost their self-esteem and play with people that they never imagined playing with.  They did what was impossible.

On their way back the butcher made sure to greet them and they greeted him back.

They simply remade their world by baking some cakes.