“I don’t pretend to believe that laughter can heal all. I’m not sure what state of mind I’ll be in a week from now, let alone what state of mind you’d be in as a Bhutanese refugee still in search of a job. But I do know, with confidence, that in this one hour we can have a good time together.”
-Becky Baumwoll, performing artist
Clowns Without Borders partnered with Refugee Services of Texas (RST) to teach and perform physical theater and circus for refugee groups within the Dallas community. This tour also focused on helping adolescents and adults work through language barriers, finding connection through physical movement and play.
The CWB team hosted adult workshops at a community center where newly-arrived refugees take language classes. There were some young people in these language classes, who have yet to be enrolled in school. During after-school hours, CWB worked with refugee youth in the RST neighborhoods of Victory Meadows and South Dallas. We spent time with participants between the ages of 12–17 years old, fulfilling five days of workshops. We were privileged to work with the same children for the duration of the workshop! Lastly, CWB offered one-off workshops for refugees children who attend a local middle school.
One of CWB’s 2016 priorities was to expand domestic programming. We’re especially excited about the opportunities we had to collaborate and share laughter in Dallas.
Dallas receives a large number of refugees, the majority of whom are from Syria and Congo. Refugee children seek and need outlets to express themselves, in whichever way they feel most comfortable. Since most of them are only just learning to speak English, verbal communication can be extremely frustrating. Many of the RST kids are expressive young people in their own languages. They’re looking for new outlets through which they can channel their passions, interests, and voice. Clowns Without Borders was honored to share resilience through laughter with these children.
The team included CWB – USA veteran David Lichtenstein, who has performed his comedy and tricks in 31 countries; Becky Baumwolf, founder/director of the Broken Box Mime Theater in New York; and Bekah Hammond, a top comedy juggler out of Boulder, Colorado.
CWB – USA follows United Nations naming conventions for all countries, nations, and territories, along with the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To read more about our Code of Ethics, click here.