Clowns to the Rescue!

The Clowns

Wear a red nose with pride.

Posted in our culture news feed this week was an Economist interview with a clown. Not one of those clowns who doesn’t know they are a clown (a politician for example?), but a young woman who celebrates the title, Selena McMahan.

McMahan is a member of an incredibly wonderful organization, Clowns Without Borders. Clowns Without Borders (CWB) is devoted to providing support and laughs to communities affected by trauma from natural disasters and political tragedies.

CWB raises funds to send clowns to refugee camps, countries in conflict, and areas affected by humanitarian emergencies. CWB’s recent projects include working in Egypt with Sudanese refugees, in Ethiopia with orphans, in Myanmar with children in distressed areas, in Guatamala after the hurricanes, and in Haiti after the earthquake.

CWB was founded in 1993, when Tortell Poltrona, a professional clown, was invited to perform at a refugee camp in Croatia. Seeing laughter’s effect on so many children in such a dire situation, Poltrona founded CWB to create a network of clowns willing to help. Currently, CWB has organizations in nine countries: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States.

CBW’s tag line? No Child without a Smile.

That’s not just a great tag line. That’s a great mission.

For another story of art as a powerful aid, listen to this week’s podcast with Sonya Mazumdar about the Laya Project.

- Bill Reichblum

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