Clowns Without Borders USA returns to Ecuador for the first time since 2013. CWB will parter with Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados–Ecuador (JRS-EC) to perform for Venezuelan refugees and their host communities in Ecuador. Our goal is to offer levity and create a space for community celebration amidst the tensions of forced displacement.
Ecuador hosts 65,000 refugees in addition to at least 135,000 unregistered displaced people, who are at greater risk for exploitation. Many are Venezuelans, fleeing the humanitarian crisis in their home country. According to the UNHCR, there has been an 8,000 percent increase in the number of Venezuelans seeking refugee status worldwide since 2014. The primary host countries include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru and the southern Caribbean.
The influx of so many people has raised issues of integration, inclusion, and opportunity for refugees and, in this tour context, Ecuadorians. In response to the mass migration, the UNHCR launched a Regional Response Plan for Refugees and Migrants (RMRP) in 2018. The plan aims to support the needs of migrants alongside the needs of their host communities.
JRS is a humanitarian aid organization whose mission is to “accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons.” Worldwide, JRS served 680,000 people in 2018. Through legal advocacy, JRS Ecuador raises awareness about the basic rights of people experiencing forced displacement. They also work to encourage the inclusion and integration of refugees in host communities through participatory community programmes. CWB’s partnership with JRS focuses on those community programs.