South Sudan Dares To Live

South Sudan Dares To Live

By Molly Rose Levine   Yesterday was a sad day. I woke up to an email that I never want to get. Our partners in South Sudan letting us know that the situation in Juba has devolved violently. Our partners are on lockdown, travel blocks are in place for most travel to South Sudan, and some aid organizations are evacuating their staff. INTERSOS and Save the Children Juba can no longer guarantee a safety and evacuation plan for our artists, and it is not advisable that we plan on sharing programming in the next few weeks. Even if the situation calms down, it can change again in an instant. It’s a risk that we take when working in active conflict zones. When we confirm a project, we work under the assumption that that’s not going to happen- but this time, the assumption became reality. South Sudan is only five years old. South Sudan officially voted to leave Sudan in 2011, and the current conflicts are a piece of a civil war that has been a conflict on some level since 2013. It is between the Government of South Sudan, led by President Salva Kiir, and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition, led by former Vice President Riek Machar. It is also an ethnic war, between the Dinka people and the Nuer people. This racial tension spills over into civilian casualties as well and is a significant driving factor of internal displacement. There was a peace agreement in August of 2015 that brought high hopes for many, and the clashes this month are something that many hoped would not...
Social Circus

Social Circus

By Nadiya Atkinson Clowns Without Borders USA Guest Blogger   Grinning from ear to ear, the two children attempt to balance one plate on their individual sticks. Not an easy feat for anyone, let alone two kids from an impoverished area in Nicaragua. The pair works together and manages to stabilize the plate, smiles lighting up their dirty, excited faces. The joy is palpable, and not uncommon in CWB’s travels across the world. Social circus, a movement that Clowns Without Borders, Cirque du Soleil, and other organizations have been embracing for some years, is the utilization of circus to teach kids in at-risk areas new skills and to improve their confidence and emotional health. Social circus is commonly used to foster change intervention, specifically in the personal and social development of those involved in the program. In Lebanon, CWB used social circus principles and play to teach school kids to avoid explosive materials. Bombs and mines line the Syrian-Lebanon border. These “explosive remnants of war” have caused the death of many children. In Haiti, CWB shared songs and smiles with youth living in refugee camps still in place after the Haiti earthquake of 2010. In Kenya, CWB partnered with UNHCR to teach workshops, offering new variety and access to different skills for the refugees in residence. In South Sudan, CWB led the kids in Juba in classes, encouraging the various tribes to communicate together and have the children learn new skills that they then showed their community. In the Philippines, CWB taught instructors aspects of performance and circus. The instructors utilized their new abilities to support the mental health...