Many of the children who are there (primarily from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) have crossed the U.S. border and are waiting for decisions to be made about where they will next be placed or deported to. There will likely be over 200 children and staff. This is a first time partnership between FIT and CWB, and we are so excited to laugh and learn together. Over the course of about a week, we plan to perform and teach workshops for the staff and children who stay there.
According to recent reports, many cross the border into the US attempting to escape hunger, sex-trafficking, poverty, and violence in their home countries. Commonly, young children are forced into gangs, because of a lack of government control and other social services. This results in many trying to escape to the US. The numbers of children coming into the US in the last few years has risen sharply. For instance, “the number of Salvadoran children detained has nearly doubled from 2013 to 2014, with 60% of the children detained in the U.S. stating that crime and gang violence was the primary reason for leaving their homes.” Many of the children speak Spanish as a second language and an indigenous language as their first. They range in age from infants to 18 years.
The Clowns Without Borders team of Olivia Lehrman, Derrick Gilday, Marisol Kimberly Rosa Shapiro and Leah Abel are honored to have been invited to join the efforts to bring some small amount of joy and ease to these children’s lives.