Project Turkey, July 2016: Refugees In Turkey
***Special Update from Clowns Without Borders ***
As a result of the Turkey coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the two United States based artists did not join the project in Turkey. Due to the lack of information about the state of Turkey combined with concerns for the safety of our artists, it was determined the volunteers not travel to Istanbul. However, there is a silver lining! The five Turkish artists carried on with the project. They brought laughter, joy, and happiness locations throughout Turkey. Visit the project blog post for more information and photos. Thank you!
Clowns Without Borders reunites with our partners in Turkey for a new two-week project performing for refugees living in Turkey. Seven artists will devise joyful experiences to help refugee children, and their communities thrive with their new host nation. CWB USA is sending two US volunteers, Mike Funt and Justin Therrein. Mike and Justin will join our Turkish artists, including Guray Dincol (performer and coordinator) and four more brilliant and skilled performers who have been training with us since 2015, including Ezgi Keskin and Zeynep Kuyumcu.
The Turkey project has two parts and takes place from July 18 to 31, 2016. The clowns will hold shows and workshops for one week in Istanbul. Then our merrymakers will move southeast across the entire nation towards the Syrian border. There, the troupe will visit refugee camps, sharing laughter and levity with enough gusto for every man, woman, child, and aid-worker. Clowns Without Borders will be working in collaboration with our friends at Solidarity Association for Asylum-Seekers and Refugees and Life Support Center for parts of this tour.
The UNHCR reports Turkey is hosting 2.7 million refugees. A large percentage of them are from Syria. The Syrian crisis has displaced 3.88 million Syrians since 2011. Clowns Without Borders has been sharing wonder and delight in Turkey beginning in 2015 in response to the conflict. We sent two teams to Turkey to support refugee assistance in July and December of 2015. The two projects were developed to offer psychosocial relief in the form of laughter for displaced people living in Turkey. Our volunteers simultaneously facilitated skill-sharing with local artists. The collaboration helped local artists refine their shows and workshops. The additional preparation helped them invest more time and resources within the refugee camps and surrounding communities.