LIFE IS A CIRCUS – Traveling Circus Tour in Ukraine – Spring/Summer 2023
A new idea for continuing our circus mission in Ukraine started to be more concrete:
A mobile CIRCUS SHOW of Ukrainian and European Artists traveling around smaller Cities in West Ukraine sharing magical moments of joyful togetherness in difficult times. Taking inspiration from the traditional circus art that traveled from town to town, The Mobile Shows will provide emotional relief and joy to the local communities in west Ukrainian sharing one of the oldest forms of entertainment, The Circus. The Shows combine elements of the classic circus, music, theater and improvisation and most importantly an active participation from the audience. The Circus Tent offers a magical roof where children can feel free to dream and play together, inspired by the healing beauty of art. Contact us if you wish to get involved or want receive more information.
ARTE MOVIE about Leila&Thibeau from LaMule Cirque, showing their work at our project on the Ukrainian Broder, thank You for your support and inspiration
LIVING SOLIDARITY DAYS 2022 – this is where everything started
The After-Movie from our Living Solidarity Days 2022, a multidisciplinary gathering of activists and change-makers, where we can explore together the diverse aspects of solidarity, share knowledge and empower social change. We have been creating a diverse and participative program hosted at the collaborative HUB: “MOOS” in Berlin and also in a virtual space. For the 3 days (25-27.02.2022) we have invited everyone motivated to explore and share the topic of Solidarity to contribute to join a creative and playful journey on how to empower and implement Solidarity as an inclusive foundation in the different areas of our lives (culture, work, community building, economy, education, etc.). With the beginning of the Russian War on Ukraine the event become a space to connect and support each other in the dark times of aggression and fear, giving us a feeling of hope and supporting an empowering dialogue for peace. Thanks to everyone who made this event possible and contributed to the common vision of a living solidarity, co-creating together a culture of peace and dialogue for making a change within our local community
Sharing our Story – Getting ready for the Next phase
In the last 4 weeks we put a lot of focus on sharing our story from the last 4 Months working at the Ukrainian border with the wider circus community in Europe: We prepared an photo exhibition and traveled with it to diverse festivals and present it in Berlin at various events. The feedback which we got was overwhelming, so much appreciation and offers of support we got. People were asking questions, sharing their feedback and ideas about the circus activities at the Border. We felt a lot of understanding and openness to collaborate, which motivates us to continue the project and develop the further steps to keep the circus magic alive at the Ukrainian border. We want to say thank you to all the places, organisations and festivals which gave us a space and supported us to share our journey: Zirkus MOND, Boulevart Festival, Roztoc Festival, Alte Münze, Sektion8 Humus Festival, MOOS Space, Circus CABUWAZI, Garbicz Festival, Zurück zu den Wurzeln Festival, Abracadabra Roadtrip…
ABRACADABRA Road Trip joining our circus project at the Ukrainian Border
SPOT ON SOLIDARITY – JOB SHADOWING Project with Experts with the Mobile Circus
For nearly 3 weeks we were hosting the Job Shadowing project in Przemysl inviting various experts from the European youth work field to join our actions, learn together and develop future ideas for collaboration.
Our activities aimed to develop a network of experts and practitioners from the Youth work field interested in circus pedagogy as well as develop and implement concrete measures in Przemyśl.
We have together explored how youth work can support humanitarian solidarity work directly at the place where the Ukrainian refugees are arriving at the border to EU and learn from the existing examples how youth work can support solidarity in a crisis situation.
- To learn how circus pedagogy can be used in the youth work field, especially for international volunteering and solidarity projects;
- To learn how the reception of Ukrainian refuges is set-up in Przemyśl, Poland;
- To explore a link between solidarity and youth work through direct involvement;
- To learn and share professional skills between participants as well as with volunteers of the refugee center;
- To network and build partnerships for future European Solidarity Corps projects;
New Structure – RED CROSS taking over the coordination – Circus gets Mobile
After several weeks of self organisation the City of Przemysl decided to give the coordination of the Humanitarian Aid Centre to The polish Red Cross. The lack of openness of the Red Cross to listen and their ignorance for the for the work, which had been contributed through the last month by hundreds of volunteers made us very sad. We had been without any discussion force to close the outside space for the kids and remove our structure from the area of the Humanitarian Aid Centre in Przemysl. We are still motivated to stay in the region and share our circus magic with the Ukrainian people escaping the war but we need to find a new base for building up the circus tent again. This weeks of uncertainty and tension around the future empowered us to recognize that networking is a huge element of our project here. We reached out to new potential partners in the region to exchange ideas, connect our perspectives and give value to a constructive dialogue, which will create a supportive ground to collaborate and develop our mobile circus for peace project further. We wish to thank everyone for all the support we received during the last 4 Months to build up that project here in Przemysl and we looking forward for the next chapter to open.
Spot on Solidarity – Job Shadowing Project
When we first time spoke with Tomasz Szopa from the SALTO EE&C Resource Centre about the idea to host a job shadowing project at our circus project on the Ukrainian Border it was an early stage of the conflict and our project had just been starting. We shared the idea to connect humanitarian work, circus pedagogy with the youth works sector on the European level. We want to invite professional youth workers from all around Europe to visit us at Przemysl and have a week of common learning, sharing experience and contributing to the activities here at the MOBILE CIRCUS FOR PEACE. We are looking forward to reach out for the youth work field and offer an invitation for a practical experience in the field of humanitarian help. “Spot on Solidarity” became the name of the child and we want to host twice, groups of int. youth workers for a week each and create a supportive learning environment for their ideas, common reflections and networking towards common projects. The pre-meeting on the spot allowed us to look deeper on the idea, and collect many inspiring aspects how to support this learning experience. Thanks to Tomasz Szopa and SALTO EE&C for the trust and support of our activities here at the border and we are looking forward to host a wonderful learning space to explore the different aspects of Youth work int he context of Solidarity and humanitarian work.
Ranulfo is coming to TESCO
Receiving the call that Ranulfo wants to come at the border I got very emotional, as he is more than a colleague or friend – he feels like family to me. It was him I shared my first steps as a circus animator traveling 2004 together to Israel/Palestine. It was him who empowered me to step on the stage as a clown and explore this art form in my work with the kids. And finally it was him who was working with the Syrian refugees in the Templehof hangers long before there was a “refugee crisis” announced. So it feels like a big honour to host him now at the Mobile Circus for Peace project and learn together from his rich experience how to grow our project activities further and develop our competence as youth workers. We took the 12hours train ride together from Berlin and shared many insights about the work and the project on our way – now the adventure is starting – the mission is on, Lets see how Ranulfo will offer his wisdom and experience to develop the project further.
Cooperation with LaMule Cirque
having Leila and Thibeau from La Mule Cirque in our project had been a wonderful gift. They came nearly straight from Lesvos, where they were setting up a project with circus activities for refugees – Circus Lesvos. We could learn so much from their professionality and experience; understand where we need to adjust and develop the project further, but also benefit from their direct contributions: workshops with the kids, shows, building together a lights set up in the tent and they also brought a lot of circus equipment to use together in the space (areal structure, walking balls, stills…) As they are traveling with their two small kids Lotta, Elliot our place became for the two weeks a family project – with a lot of community feeling. We started to work also in the morning with smaller groups (8-12 kids) coming for 45min workshops with Areal, Acrobatics, Walking Balls, Pyramids, Juggling. Everyday opened a new aspect and we grow a lot of ideas through the 2 weeks together. Mixing artistic circus performances, with workshops and animation our offer became very full and rich. At the end of the common stay the kids prepared a beautiful performance sharing their learning in from of their parents, mates and us. Thanks you so much for joining and supporting the project to grow further.
Eric the Magician – Its a kid of magic
Hearing first time that Eric the Magician wants to join us at the border I got a huge smile and excitement: coming from Texas, USA he had been a professional magician for his whole life developing an amazing professionally and supported many young magicians to grow. He is the author of the “Secret Art of Magic”, an important foundation for all street magician around the world. After the start of the War in Ukraine he felt the calling to contribute something to the situation and what could be more appropriate than MAGIC – so he funded his journey through the crowdfunding platform “gofundme” and came on evening to our circus place in Przemysl. We supported him as much we could in making his magic shows accessible for the crowd of kids he met here at the centre. The excitement of the kids was very huge and their level of patience very low, so we needed to adjust his performance to the circumstances. But magic is magic, its an universal language full of “oooooh” and “aaaaaah”, which sounds in every language the same. Another gift Eric brought was the great sense of reflection and stroppy telling, so every night became an inspiring moment to share how we experienced the activities, how we can adapt and change what we do and learn from his huge experience. After week he left further to bring his magic to some other places around Krakow but hopefully his return is just a question of time. Thank you Eric for sharing your Magic with us.
ARTE-Filmteam coming to TESCO
Several month ago we met already with Mathias from the Out-Of-Focus Filmcrew and spoke about the possibility to document our circus project in the 30min documentary about Leila&Thibeau life adventure to support the circus work with refugees directly at the hot spots like Lesvos and now Przemysl. His idea to build a bridge between the situation of the refugees on the southern borders of the EU and the refugees at the eastern border, showing how the circus pedagogy can support the empowerment of kids coming from the war, has been very exiting and inspiring. So we agree to host them and prepare one week of filming at the spot giving an insight in our work and supporting them with interviews. The experience had been challenging, beautiful and very inspiring. After some weeks of preparation we even got an official permission to film inside the center form the Town Hall, so the team got all the necessary information to tell the complexity of the situation. The movie is produced for ARTE and will be broadcast in October but the learning is already very valid and we look forward to share the outcome with the world.
Summer at TESCO
In the last years the topic of the climate change was pushed from he front sides of the newspapers and we speak about the corona virus, lockdowns, vaccinations and now the war in the Ukraine. But being all the time outside at our circus place here at the Ukrainian border we can see that something had change in the climate: for several weeks now we are facing 35-38 degrees, sun is burning and the rain came only very rarely. We are happy about the summer but to work during the day in such conditions became more and more challenging: children can’t really move or run – the heat is making everyone slow and to look for shadow. So we established some water games in our place, give the kids water to drink and focus our main activities in the afternoon hours 17h-20h, so the temperature become more moderate. But this shift of the climate is more than visible and we need to act and make a change otherwise life on this planet will become impossible.
Dance performance and Ballet workshop with Katie
Meeting Katie from Artist without Borders was such an inspiring encounter as an artist and also as a person: her kind and emphatic way brough a lot of inspiration and grounding to our Peace Garden. She came together with a professional composer and live musician, who accompany her during the performance and dance workshop. They stood with us for nearly a week and shared a lot of their magic with the kids and our team.
The kids could experience a professional modern dance performance in the circus tent, something which many of them saw for the first time in their lives. It was funny to see how some of the younger children joined Katie on stage and started also to make expressive body movements. After the performance she offered a Ballet workshop, distributing to every child a colorful Tutu (ballet skirt) and for the next 45min the kids where in a creative trance. Nearly without any word Katie menage not just to facilitate a complex workshop about movement and dance, but also create a vortex, where many of the children and youngsters around watched passionate what the dancing group was experiencing. The kids had great fun and learned the basics of ballet, but what is more important for a short moment of time they felt the passion for dancing and could dive into the creative flow. Thank You Katie for this wonderful gift you brought to the Circus sharing your dance magic.
Here a new short movie about our circus project at the Ukrainian Border: With the Mobile Circus For Peace project we set up a space for playfulness and circus magic at the Ukrainian Border to support the families fleeing from the war. We offer a wide range of activities (animation, workshops, small shows, open space…) for kids of various age with the aim to empower and inspire joy and hope through movement and community building. We are very open for people to join and support our team; also donations are very needed to maintain our work and invest in more equipment. So feel free to reach out to us if you want to support: email@example.com
Thanks everyone for the amazing support to make this dream come true.
Thanks to the wonderful Team: Aaron, Aio1, Anjane, Cecillia, Curcio, Danielle, Fiona, Gaya, Georgie, Jenny, Laura, Leila, Leonie, Lev, Maggie, Marie, Marta, Roy, Thibeu, Tina, Timothy, Tom, Tomek, Viky, and many more…
Thanks to our supporters: Zirkus macht Stark e.V. ; La Mule Cirque e.V.; Circus Space Pirates; World Central Kitchen ; Fundacja Ocalenie; Jundos por la Vida ; Nippon Fundation; MOOS Berlin; Zirkus MOND; CABUWAZI; Just Juggling; Der Kleine Zirkusladen
CALL for Supporters – Join the Adventure
The first two month of circus activities at the Ukrainian border had been an amazing learning: we made something happen, what none of us could imagine: setting up a space for circus next to the biggest Humanitarian Aid centre, getting the necessary support to establish our offers, organising equipment, transport, a professional team and develop together a concept, which can grow and be flexibly adapted to the actual needs – this all had been a wonderful adventure. Now we wish to invite more people to come and share their gifts with the Ukrainian people, contribute their talents and skills to grow the project further. We plan to maintain here till the end of the summer and want to give more people the chance to come and support – so if you feel the calling to join for a week or two, play with the kids, become member of a trustful circle and work in a professional team – this is your Calling to come and join the adventure. We provide a place to sleep, free food is available here, we cover also the transport and can share some small financial gratitude – what we need are people who are self-responsible, have a passion to work creatively with kids, like to part of a team and wish to share their support with people coming from the war zone. Feel welcome to come and join the adventure. For more details and info: firstname.lastname@example.org
NIPPON FOUNDATION Support
Today we had a meeting with representatives from the Nippon Foundation, who are very active in the region to support the refugees. We could share our vision to bring to the kids joy& empowerment through circus and playfulness. The dialogue was very inspiring and we got a lot of supporting feedback, many common ideas appear and a shared understanding why we are here offering our support to the Ukrainian people. The Nippon Foundation offered us to get supported by Japanese students which are coming the the Ukrainian border and also give us a minibus to be able to make more mobile circus activities in the surrounding. We are very grateful that the dialogue was such constructive and productive, and appreciate their openness to listen to our needs and ideas, offering the support which we requested. Let´s hope this collaboration will be sustainable and fruitful with a lot of benefit for the Ukrainian families. Thanks a lot for the trust in our project and the team around.
Water Sprinkler – Fresh Summer Vibe
The summer fully arrived to the peace garden and we are facing more than 30 degrees in the last days. So we decided to build a Water Sprinkler Gate, to give the kids a refreshing moment to cool down and have fun with the sprinkling water. We found the necessary equipment and set up at the gate to the circus the sprinklers. After inviting the kids the joy was spectacular, so much fun and laughter, the kids felt like flowers in the rain, jumping around and celebrating a joyful water dance and enjoying the refreshment. Thanks for Ingvar to help us with getting the equipment, Tom for building the water gate and the kids for sharing their happiness in such beautiful way.
Tom our new Team member
Sometimes the path bringing people together to share a journey is designed to connect, like it has to happen because it is suppose to be way. This feeling we had from the first moment Tom came to our circle, starting to help with the build up off the tent and sharing his calm and shinning nature. He had been for many week the helping angel at the Medyka crossing, picking people up at the border and helping them to make their way to the transport. He gave his full power to help the people fleeing from the war to step safely over the bridge towards a peaceful future. He decided to give up his flat in France and return to the border. Here our paths crossed and from the first moment we felt a connection and common ground to join the circus project. After few days he already started to play with the kids, putting on a clown costume and become a full member of our circle. His dream was to work in a circus and life is about making dreams come true – now he helps that the children can connect to their dream and flourish their true nature. Thank you Tom for the trust and motivation to unfold this vision together.
Grande Opening with New Show
After the rebuild of the tent we invited for a Grande Opening to the Peace Garden- Jenny and meta prepared a special show and we made a walking act as the whole team through the centre to invite the families to join. Walking with steels, making bubbles, playing hoop and juggling attracted a lot of attention and many people joined the opening. We had a special food table with waffles and fruits, and we very exited to open again our gates to the circus magic. The tent was more than full, the show a beautiful joy with many kids getting exited and running on the stage to become part of it. After the show we made the circus-disco, with bubbles, colourful tissues and hoops – the kids were getting into the flow and celebrate with us the start of a new chapter.
Actions at the Station
We also continued our mobile activities at the railway station, where many families are waiting for a place in the train, sometimes even for many days. With Jenny and Marta we offered a kind of street show at the station and invited the kids to play together. Although the circumstances were not the easiest to gather a public and have a space for the games it was still a very valuable impulse for the kids and brought a lot of light and beauty to the place. We also like to thank all the amazing volunteers who are helping at the Station with supporting the travelling and wellbeing of the Ukrainian families.
Activities at the Ukrainian consulate
We got the information that families with kids were also living at the Ukrainian Consulate and offered to come with some circus actions to share an empowering vibe through playfulness and joy we spread. We needed to adapt to the special location but the language of circus had been a beautiful common ground to invite the kids to join the magic. We offered a small show and played some games with the kids and afterwards they could also try some of the circus props and enjoy a free flow. We established this contact for future mobile activities and got a very positive feedback from the people running the place. Thanks a lot for the wonderful support and amazing opportunity to share our circus magic.
JAMES the Clown
Today we had a beautiful visit in our Peace Garden from JAMES the Clown from UK, who came to support as a Medic Clown the children at the Border. We hosted his specially for the situation prepared show and the kids were very happy to have this joyful moment to meet with the clown.
We were very inspired by his story how he came to offer the clowning in this circumstances. When the war started he hired some Trauma Experts and Actors to build a show which he could travel with to the crisis region and share it with the kids. The show had a medical purpose and is based on EMDR for single incident trauma. We had an inspiring dialogue to share how we approach the work we do and could exchange very valuable insights on the circus pedagogical work we do. He is planning to return and hopefully we can host a workshop day together for a shared learning.
Tent falls at the Strom – Rebuilding together
After the epic storms our circus tent fall in the night and we needed to rebuild it with the team, what has been a challenge we needed to face and learn from the situation together. Luckily none got hurt and nothing was destroyed but the situation reached us how important it is to be aware on safety of the set up. Next sunny day after the storm we build with the team (Viky, Jenny, Marta, Tom, Tomek) and many volunteers the tent again up – making the safety the highest priority, so we were exchanging the ropes and the getting longer spikes for the ground. The work was supervised by Viky, who helped us so much to understand where we need to be exact and precise to make the tent as safe as possible. Thank you Viky for sharing your skills and having the dedication to make this set up of the tent as safe as possible. After a day of concentrated work the tent was again shining bright in the Peace Garden of the Humanitarian Aid Centre at the Ukrainian border and for the next day we planned a colourful opening with a special show prepared by Jenny and Marta.
PROJECT PRESENTATION AT WURZELFEST
With a smaller team and support from Berlin we joined the Zurück zu den Wurzeln Festival to hold a Circus Space with our second small tent. We offered Workshops, made animation, supported other workshop happening in the circus tent and made some rightful walking acts in the nights. We also 1hold a Cacao Ceremony with the intention of peace and had a chance to present our Mobile Circus for Peace project in an interactive presentation. With having Viky, Aaron and Tomek on the spot we shared about the experience being doing the circus activities at the Ukrainian border, reflected with the people about the impact and next steps to take with the project. And also offered supportive information for the people who feel the calling to join us in our actions. The response was amazing and the chance to share the project with a wider public inspired us to see the growing potential of the project. We could encourage many people joining the session to stay in contact and be ready for making the step to support the activities at the Ukrainian border. Thanks @wurzelfest for giving us the space to share the circus magic and having the opportunity to spread the invitations to support and join the @mobilecircusforpeace project.
Grande Opening with Children Day Celebration
On the 1st of June – the day of the child, celebrated in Poland and Ukraine, we planned our opening of the new Peace Garden space on the other side of the car park, where the kids got much more space to play, green grass and safe environment.
After 3 days of moving all our stuff, discussing with the other organizations how to set up the space together and preparing the space for our activities we could finally welcome the children.
The music was playing, sun was shining and the joy of the kids moved tears in our eyes: so much excitement, fun and creative flow started to flourish in the new environment. Not only kids but also many parents and older teens joined the playful afternoon: sharing the games, learning new circus disciplines, getting creative, playing with bubbles, dancing to the music under the sun and just for a small moment forgetting all the troubles and sufferings related to the war and their uncertainties. The magic of the playing opens a door to share a moment of authentic connection, with each other, the green space around and their inner child – in this magical moment we all remembered that deep inside we are playful children, full of joy, need for connection and open to trust regardless our background or life experience. Being connected to the inner child means being able to connect to our true self and the language of play is a timeless space where this encounter can unfold and be an invitation to share this gift with others. Thanks everyone for creating this wonderful day together.
New space – new chapter begin
After several weeks of running the Peace Garden on the limited space next to the main road, we decided with the other NGOs active here to move to the other side of the car park. Here we would have much more green space available (ca. 10000 m2 of open field), more safety guaranteed for the kids as they would not need to walk over the car park to reach the space but could come directly through the side door of the building and with more space we could create more active offers for the kids to play. In theory all a beautiful perspective, but in practice we were challenged by many organizational issues: permissions of the authorities, security fence for the area, common vision how and what we want to establish in the space and finally the logistic of the move. But finally the big days came and the waiting and preparing time was over: we started in the morning to move first the circus tent with all the equipment and set up inside (luckily many helping hands appears and we could build down and build up the tent in one day, finishing just before the heavy rain start in the evening). For the next two days we were working together on establishing the new concept of the space, including all the different organisations and combining our various offers, setting up a colorful environment for the kids, families and volunteers from the center to come together, play safely and enjoy the sun and nature around. Now the Peace Garden started to shine in a new light and we were getting more and more exited to open the gates and welcome the children to play.
Mission into Ukraine- Journey to the unknown
Our Spanish partners from Fundacjon JuntosporLavida , who are coordinating some long-term centers for Ukrainian families around Przemysl invited and hosted our circus activities there invited us to join them to drive to inside Ukraine and visit their center in near Lviv to offer some circus magic to the kids. We packed our circus materials, costumes, bubbles, face paint, music box discussed the whole night about ideas what we could we do with the kids and together with a Piper the Australian Photographer (from him are this amazing pictures) we jumped in the morning into the van and started our mission. Sadly Georgie forgot his passport and going just with an ID or driving license was not an option so I needed to make the decision to continue alone only with the support of Piper, so everything what we planned became a solo mission: setting up the space, doing the show, making the animation, playing the games, establishing future contacts and moving with public transport all the equipment back to Poland after 2 days. After a longer check on the border we finally succeed and entered Ukraine, already from the first kilometers we could see and feel a different energy around: checkpoints with sand sacks and soldiers on the road, war thematic billboards and empty gasoline stations. After one hour of drive we arrived to the center, which was situated in an old hospital. ca. 150 Ukrainian people have found here a safe refuge fleeing from east Ukraine, but the conditions were very simple and not much support structure was established. After a walk around we set up the space for the show and invited the kids & families to come, more than 50kids and around 30 parents jointed the invitation and had a great time watching and afterward playing with the circus equipment, dancing and making bubbles. Again we could witness the magic of the circus transforming a grey corner of the abounded hospital into a colorful oasis of joy and playfulness.
After the time with the kids we had a chance to explore the local city center: on the first view everything looked kind of normal but with a closer observation we recognize soldiers on the street, many war propaganda on the walls, many closed shops, there was no street light shining in the evening and at 23h was an obligatory curfew, after nobody should be anymore on the street. The tension was very tangible, and the sirens which starts around 22h made it even more strong. We spoke with some local people to get ore insights about their perspective of being experiencing this situation living in times of war and walked around the dark city reflecting about our feeling being here. Next days we came back to the center and did an afternoon with games and music before heading further to Lviv, a very beautiful city with a wonderful old town – here we got a very similar impression like before: tension, military, war propaganda, carafe, sirens in the evening and empty street after dark. Next day in the morning I took the local transport to return to Poland, changing several times and witnessing a very long cue and the pedestrian crossing at the border. This whole experience made me much more aware about the pressure and tension the Ukraine people are facing even being far away from the combats in the east of the country. War is not just a act of physical aggression its also an emotional and psychological tension stored within the body and becoming part of the collective consciousness within the community and society. Now I could better understand the feelings of the people we work with at the Ukrainian Border.
Every Generation brings new treasures
Now being for already more than 6Weeks on the Ukrainian Border with our circus project, we see how it developed also through the changes of the people, who arrived from our team to do the activities here. With every change of the team composition, very new perspective arriving a new element opens, some fresh air come into the picture, the scope of activities increase, new motivation awakes. This continues fluctuation of the team, where some stay for longer, some come for few days, some for few weeks creates a dynamic of a dialogue to pass over and share what are the important features of the project but also every time opens the space for changing, for bringing a personal perspective and fresh view on the potential of the project. I personally felt very inspired to be the first 3 weeks on the spot, than to take two weeks distance and return for another 2weeks – to see how the project evolved in the meanwhile, how the people brought new aspect to life and increased the impact of the activities we do had proved how important this openness of the circle is, so people can step in and support in a flexible frame and their contributions are as important as from people who are working on the project from the very beginning. Its an important learning how to create within a team a culture of continues openness, where the changes of the team composition are seen as potential to grow and the communication is inclusive and supportive for the newcomers, so they feel welcome and empowered to share their gifts within the project.
Keep the fire burnin´- Team evenings together
The evenings had become our team moment, where we are meeting around the fire next to our circus tent, sharing about the experiences and learning from the day and plan the next day of activities. Supported by cooking food together, playing music and singing, hosting other volunteers and share how we experience this journey. The value of being together as a community, feeling the support and acceptance of the team and being able to reflect the challenging and empowering moments collected through the day became a very important part of the learning. Working the whole days in different dynamics and energies, having such various perspectives and feeling related to the experience needs this moment of re-connection to the circle of trust and support. The element of fire is giving a warm feeling of home and being able to listen without discussing or answering helped so much to establish a culture of communication, which allows everyone to feel safe and heard. Also yoga, playing music, telling stories or dancing together helps to go beyond the own perspective and feel a deeper connection with the team and dive into the depth of the learning related to our experience here. Thanks for all this pressures moments of sharing our lights and shadows and lets keep the fire of the circle burning bright. Aho
Safety Training with Flying Seagulls
Thanks to our connections with Ash Perrin we got an invitation for our team to participate in the Flying Seagulls Safety Training – Around 12 people from our team joined the afternoon on ZOOM and got inspired by a very professional and highly informative session on how to ensure children safe in the activities we do. We had a great opportunity to exchange our experiences from the last weeks of working here at the Ukrainian Border and reflect together how to ensure and increase the level of safety for the kids. And also how to work better together as a team to implement a culture of safety in our common work, how to set up standards and procedures, how to deal with risk, how to establish a clear communication and support structure within the team and how to cooperate with the authorities in case we need to reach out for external support.This has beed a wonderful learning to exchange with the Flying Seagulls team and share how the diverse circumstances of our work are still connected to a common value based foundation why we do what we do and how we wish to establish a common ground for safety and security in our work with the children and youth coming from vulnerable backgrounds.
We are looking forward to continue and develop this collaboration further and got many inspirations how to increase the quality of our work. Thank You @flying_seagulls so much for inviting and giving us this chance to learn and grow together.
Volunteers community at the Humanitarian Aid Center
What makes the center run is the amazing energy of the International volunteers community which came together to support the Ukrainian people. Around 50 people from all around the world are taking the different roles 24h/7days per week to ensure a safe and effective support for the families arriving to the center. In this group of volunteers there are people of all the different ages, nationalities, ethnics, religious and professional experiences but what connect us all is the spirit of support each other and the Ukrainian coming to the center: right here – right now, where its needed, in such uncertain times, with all the various challenges we are facing. The roles in the center and the teams are build up very transparent and the communication for supporting each other is part of the culture being here. Every day at 15h we have a common circle for around 30min where updates are shared, questions asked and reflections made to empower everyone to feel part of the whole and get the support needed to give the work which is needed and take the learning which is available. For the last weeks Ingvar from Norway was the volunteers coordinator giving his best to support everyone’s well being and establishing a culture of respect and understanding – not his last day of service we prepared a small surprise in the circus tent and invited everyone to join a common dance to say Thank You to Ingvar and give him a gift uplifting energy for his journey home. Thanks for all your wonderful support, the amazing patience, hilarious humor and great leader skill – it has been an honor and joy to work together; especially seeing how much you were seeing the value and supporting our circus project here. Thank You
Visit at the Spanish House
Thank you @fundacionjuntosxlavida for the Wonderful day together celebrating the birthday with all the Kids and Families from Your center … we did the special birthday show, danced, played games and music – had such a beautiful time together – you created a loving vibe around in the place and do an ama1zing work for the Ukrainian Families – 🇺🇦GRACIAS❤️- it has been a real joy and inspiration to cooperate with You – looking forward for the next time 🙏🏽❤️☀️🎪
Mobile Circus Activities at the Railway station
Today we went with a colorful team to the railway station in the city, where around hundred Ukrainian people, are waiting for further travels to Poland. The railways station is the official point of registration of the Ukrainians, who decide to stay in Poland. There are many volunteers who are supporting with food (Thanks World Central Kitchen), clothes, medicine and information. We brought the playfulness to share some smiles and make the waiting little bit less long. With a walking act and some animation games we changed the railway station into a circus space and allow the magic to flow. The kids were enjoying it so much and joined the circus activities, but also the parents smiled and were grateful for the colorful moment of circus magic. Thanks to everyone for the wonderful day together.
CIRCUS SHOW IN THE TENT
Today we prepared a small show for the evening inviting the kids with their families during the day – after preparing the tent nicely the lights went on the artists performing (Jenny, Georgie and Tomek) with the support of Viky playing music and doing the documentation. The magic of circus had been such a shining light in the tent, the kids were watched by the special atmosphere and also joined on stage for some of the parts of the show. The circus party with colourful tissues was a grande finale where everyone got on stage and shared the playful circus magic. Thanks everyone for supporting and contributing to this magic moment.
MUSIC JAM SESSION
Today we started to host a regular jam session for the adults in the evenings, where everyone is invited to join with music instruments we provide, or come with their music instruments to join the musical journey. It was a very warm and inspiring evening sharing a beautiful energy of making music our common language regardless where we come from or what we speak as out mother tongue. Thanks to Jenny and Gorgie for hosting the space and allowing everyone to enjoy the musical journey.
Circus Activities inside the center
We still go regular to the inside of the center to offer every day activities for the kids in the Kindergarden area in the place – the condition are challenging, as the center is hosted in an old shopping mall but the playful moment is very valuable and the kids are enjoying when the circus come in the place. We also share the invitation to visit us outside and come for the circus show in the afternoon. There are amazing animators helping to keep the positive vibe alive inside the center and we are very grateful to work together and make a complementary support offer for the kids. There are also in the surrounding places where Ukrainian families are staying for longer, where we also come to offer circus animation and present small shows.
Hullahoop Workshop with Masha
Today we had a wonderful guest coming to visit our circus tent: Masha from U.S., who offered to the kids a playful Hullahoop workshop. Through games and instructions from the experience hoop artist Masha the kids could dive into the magic world of spinning the colorful rings. fast they learned the basics and could present their skills to each other and their parents. Thank You so much Masha for coming and sharing your wonderful gifts with the kids.
On this sunny day we could offered with the help of an external trainer from Israel a self-defense workshop in our circus tent. In few hours the participants could learn the basics on how to respond to aggression, share their experiences and train concrete moves how to defend themselves. Thanks so much for the great day and sooooo valuable learning.
MAGIC SHOW in our Circus Tent
Today we had a visit from a magician and could invite the kids for a special circus show in our tent. The atmosphere was very beautiful and the kids enjoyed the magic with open mouth. It has been a wonderful moment also to invite the mothers and older kids to come together for the show. So the tent become a place for sharing art for the community. Thanks everyone for the support to make this magic happen.
Self-defense workshop in our space
Today we had a self-defense workshop in the circus space, the Israeli volunteers offered for the Ukrainian women and other volunteers a basic introduction to self-defense and gathered a lot of motivated people to learn and share together. The space become more and more a vital space for offers and sharing moment for the community at the center. Thanks so much for bringing this invitation to the space and everyone for supporting the activities.
Easter Special at the Circus Space
For the Easter Celebration we had a special moment having Ash Perrin from the Flaying Seagulls project, coming to the center. Its a great honor and inspiration to learn and share our experience with him, hear his feedback and tipps how we can grow the quality of our circus actions here on the spot. He offered us a training and invited to make a small show with games for the kids inside the center. After an intense moment of playing and performing for the kids we had a chance to reflect and learn from the experience. Thanks very much for all the impulses and ideas, we are very grateful for the guidance and inspiration we receive from the visit.
Regular Circus Activities at the Ukrainian Border
After establishing the circus space at the registrations centre near the Ukrainian border we started to host regular activities in the Peace Garden (the outside space for kids, where we offer in collaboration with other creative kids animators our circus magic). We established a vital space where everyday the kids are coming to have a moment to move, play, run and get creative. We host animation with different circus disciplines and group games, make workshop in smaller groups and organise regular small shows where the families can come together to explore the magic atmosphere of a circus tent.We also start to offer activities for the wider volunteers community working in the centre: music jamming together, meeting around the fire, yoga or circus play. Everyday we also join the volunteers meetings at the centre to speak with the other activist and NGOs about how to make the centre run smooth and support the Ukrainian refugees in the best possible way. The circus space become more and more an important part of the ce21nter and we feel very supported by everyone around. But the main motivation is the shinny light in the eyes of the kids, when they step out of the bus and see the circus being part of the space; and their big smiles when they leave the circus space after a whole day of playing together.
Thanks for everyone support to make this space possible and the great team effort to create this safe and empowering gift for the kids.
Setting up the Circus Space at the Ukrainian Border
After 3 days of intense work we set up the circus space at the Ukrainian border, next to a huge registration center to offer a creative and playful space for the kids fleeing from the war.
With an amazing support of the whole team, our wonderful partners on the spot and great help from Berlin we could establish this peaceful and safe garden of playfulness. We join the forces with the local activists on the spot to make this place become a beautiful oasis where kids can freely express themselves and feel the empowerment of circus magic…
Thanks everyone to make this dream become reality and we need your further support to keep the project alive and share the smile with the kids, so please support us with donations, we are very grateful for your help:
>>>The Action starts<<<
After some practice-time and getting into costume we were ready for our first circus action at a Wellcome-center. Aaron, Anjane, Fiona, Viky, Tomek and our documentarist Tina entered with a walking circus performance and moved playfully through the former shopping mall inviting the children for the circus show at the kids space. The circus magic started to shine and we shared many smiles and playful interactions on our way moving through the centre. When we arrived to the kids space and set up the stage, our small show could beginn: With a juggling, acrobatics, pois, rope walking and a lot of #clowning we told a small story about the journey towards the land of #peace and after the grande finale we invited the kids to join the #playful adventure. We opened the space with face-painting, bubbles and dance for the kids to enjoy the #circus flow. With the common language of play and the magic of imagination we empowered the kids to start to explore the various circus disciplines and express their playfulness with us. We finished the visit with a small circus parade through the centre and shared our joy and gratitude with the people around.
Preparing the Circus Actions
After our arrival to a place in Poland, we started to explore the situation at the #UkrainianBorder : we visited two big registration centers: The first one was placed in a huge empty shopping centre and had a very well established support structure with many NGOs and volunteers offering help with food, clothes, medical care, accommodation, necessary information about transport and kids activities. The Ukrainian people arrive mainly with big busses and stay for few days before leaving to their further destinations. Many #children were around and joined us when we started to do some small #circus interactions. We set up the contacts with the #kids space and agree to return next day with a small #circusshow and interactive animation in the morning. We spoke with the different volunteers to get a more clear picture about the current situation and were very touched by the stories and insights we heard. It motivated us even more to bring the joy and playfulness of the circus to this place. The second #registration place was also in a huge empty shopping mall in the middle of nowhere. Here we saw much more police and army presence, the coordination was very centralized through the local authorities and it took us some time to get through with our offer. The atmosphere was more tensioned, we were checked by several policemen and got the feedback that doing circus at Easter doesn’t fit fully and we agree to return in the next days and set up a circus space inside the centre to play with the kids. We also went to see how is the situation directly at the border in order to see if there is support needed. We saw on the polish side my stands and tents provided by NGOs from all around the world to welcome and support the people arriving from Ukraine, with food, toys, clothes, medical support, warm drinks. We crossed the border by foot to see how the situation is on the other side and there were also support point provided but much less. The traffic was mainly with buses, coaches and small vans. But people were only passing through and making further their way, so we decided to focus our activities mainly on the registration centers. Later we also explore smaller Hosting Centres around the area, where the families are staying, here we also offered circus animation and build up contacts for strategic cooperation.
Our Journey begins – Circus comes to Ukrainian Border
After a month of planning, organizing and preparing we finally start our adventure to bring the circus magic to the Ukrainian-Polish border.
Thanks to the success of the Gala and all the donors we go 2500€ and a lot of circus equipment to bring to the children at the registrations centers at the border.
With the support of the whole team we load our two cars, had a common farewell dinner and started in the morning the nearly 1000km to Przymysl, where we planned to have our base for the first days.
Our 7 couraged pioneers from the team who joined in the two full loaded cars were Aaron, Aion, Anjane, Fiona, Tina, Viky, Tomek. The feeling of making this dream real gave us a strong motivation to make this step into the unknown. After more than 12hours of driving we arrived happily to Przymysl and were ready to start our circus mission.
video by: Tina Eichner – www.tinaeichner.de @tinaeichnerphotography
Circus Animation at the MOOS with the Ukrainian community in Berlin
With our mobile circus team we started to support with circus animation the activities for the Ukrainian community in Berlin. We offered different games and hold workshops on every Tuesday and Thursday in the yard and shared our circus magic with the kids coming to the MOOS in the Moosdorfstr. 7-9.
The universal language of playfulness helps to build bridges and connect the local kids from the neighborhood with the Ukrainian children coming to the place. Feel welcome to join us and become part of the circus activites at MOOS. Thanks a lot for the great team holding the space and supporting the activities.
Photos made by @panrayphotography
“Colors of Peace” – Solidarity Circus Gala
“Colors of Peace” – Solidarity Circus Gala, last Sunday at Zirkus Mond, has been a wonderful Light of Hope and Joy sharing the magic of the circus with the intention of peace and solidarity.2
We celebrated together the magnificent circus art presented by the Ukrainian circus artists performing for the first time in Berlin and could support the Mobile Circus For Peace project.
A HUUUUUGE THANK YOU for everyone making this fantastic moment possible and allow the circus solidarity to flow:
the performing artists: Marharyta Bohdan, Sofia Kotelenets, Melaniia Kobaliia, @victoriia_malinovska_ , Markian Strotsiak, Dasha Ilnitskaya, Sofiia Latyuk, @angelina_fedorko and Alexandra Chala, Melaniia Bychkova-Andriievska, @arina_zinchenko2020 the singer: Alina Zolotariova the moderation duo: @marylovemagic &@masha.gerashchenko, the DJane: @juliia_jazz the stage hands: @weltenbummlerinloewenherz, @atillaaaron, @lelesmovementarts
the riggers: Boris the organization team: @daniel_burow, Marie, Tomek, Mary, Aaron, Leonie, Anjane, Fiona, Viky, Tina, Gaia the animators: Anjane, Gaia, Fiona, @ceciliaiaconelli, @dj.grey.show, @chiara.capo, Jenni, Manoush, Marta
the media support with photo and video: @tinaeichnerphotography, @panrayphotography , @_imagoria_ the warm host: @zirkus_mond
the light technician: Alex the bar team: Maria & Max the door crew: @viktoriya.678 & Myroslav; the music: @circus_tomek Our the donors: @justjugglingaround , @zirkusladen , @zirkus_hoppla Our supporting partners: @lamule_cirque , Zirkus macht Stark e.V., @CircusSpacePirates
All the wonderful visitors and supporters joining us on this day…
Film created by: Tina Eichner @tinaeichnerphotography www.tinaeichner.de
We support with our mobile Circus Team a space of movement and encounter with circus pedagogical activities, playful animation and integrative circus actions: at the places of arrival , the initial reception, temporary accommodations, at the offer for the Ukrainian children (Ukrainian School, local neighbourhoods, cultural centres), at Administration cues
At the Polish-Ukrainian border:
We support the Ukrainian people directly at the PL-UA border, by building an infrastructure for circus pedagogical activities (circus tent, props, mats, light&sound equipment) and organizing an offer for the arriving people in cooperation with the activists on site.
Our partners supporting the project: LaMule Cirque e.V. https://www.lamulecirque.com
CIRCUS WORKSHOPS – structured pedagogical offers, one day but also for a longer time frame (1-2 weeks), with a final show for families and mates
CIRCUS ANIMATION- open space activities, trying out disciplines, circus games
MOBILE CIRCUS SHOWS– small performances for the kids and families
OPEN CIRCUS SPACE- Prepared space where kids can taste the circus magic & get creative
INTERNAL TRAININGS– preparation for the team for the actions we take
We are an open collective of circus artists, pedagogues, activists who join forces to make this supportive actions possible.
IF you wish to join the team, feel welcome to contact us and fill out the team google form: https://forms.gle/vCDDPJEc2BJKgzUi6
Please support us: If You can donated circus material, costumes or funds for making our work possible
THANK YOU for your donations and support
Zirkus macht stark e.V
IBAN: DE46 1002 0500 00012965 10 Purpose: Mobile Circus for Peace
Facing terror and suffering of people from Ukraine, we want to support with our mobile circus teams a safe space of playful encounter and strengthening of self-perception of the Ukrainian kids.
Get In Touch
- (+49) 178 72 76 438