Through the streets of Warsaw, the capital of Poland, or in a train station, an improvised team of Clowns Without Borders achieves the impossible: to encourage the youngest refugees and make the children forget for a moment about the horrors of war.
“They come, they sit down, they have a look of doubt, what is going to happen… And as the show goes on you see how they start laughing, some start dancing“, Explain Nacho Waiterone of the artists belonging to this NGO.
These days Nacho and his companions make a tour of circus shows in different parts of Warsaw and the Polish border. Their goal is to spread their joy to children and families fleeing the war in Ukraine. “They are encouraged, it’s like something changes in what they are living,” he says Lucia Penninianother of the members of the improvised company.
It is not the first time they have done this type of tour in harsh conditions. Waiter was already in the country a few years ago, before the pandemic. “In 2018 and 2019 we were in the area of the donbas“, he affirms and wonders about the future of the children who were encouraged then: “All those children… Where will they be now?“.
Being a clown in the middle of a war is difficult, but it is a necessity. “You need food, a place to sleep, warmth… but laughs too“says Pennini.
Of the more than three million people who have fled the conflict to date, more than one and a half million are minors, according to Unicef data. They are his audience these days: they have left their home, their life and their loved ones behind… But they have taken their smile with them.
Mario Twitchell is an accomplished author and journalist, known for his insightful and thought-provoking writing on a wide range of topics including general and opinion. He currently works as a writer at 247 news agency, where he has established himself as a respected voice in the industry.