Caritas Bangladesh, relieving the pain of a people, Rohingyas refugees

The following collaboration was very special for us, not only it returned us to the field work and it meant collaborating with a new organization, but it was also for people who are now in a critical situation. This is the Rohingya refugees, expelled / escaped from Myanmar by the bloodthirsty repression suffered by the country’s military.

The Rohingya people are an ethnic group of Muslim religion living in the state of Rakhine, called Arkan by the Rohingyas, in Myanmar. Its antiquity in those lands is one of the main disputes between the Rohingyas and the government of Myanmar. Today the number of refugees amounts to 1.2 million people, crammed into very basic conditions, living in tents, without any internal security control, with a growing dominance of mafias and without the possibility of any solution or hope to short term.

In addition, the reluctance of the Bangladeshi government to invest in these fields and create a minimum infrastructure, with the idea of ​​ensuring that these refugees are only temporarily and do not settle on these lands permanently. Nor do they allow schools to be created, which is why Caritas has created Child Friendly Spaces (CFS).

These spaces provide a safe place where children, 60% of all refugees, can be safe and have minimal development, learn basic hygiene, eat properly and can develop minimally through complementary education.

Our collaboration was through the Jesuits Refugee Service (JRS) that operated through Caritas, so for practical purposes our work directly reported to the staff and facilitators of Caritas Bangladesh. Caritas is a huge international social service organization started in 1897 that is dedicated to providing worldwide support for the defense of the poor and disadvantaged.

We flew from Barcelona, ​​for about 14 hours. Once in Bangladesh, and after endless passport checks, we met our contact, Mr. Shishir, one of the Caritas managers in Dhaka, the capital of the country. With him we were visiting the surroundings of Dhaka to take a domestic plane to Cox’s Bazar, where we would carry out the workshop.

The organization of Caritas Bangladesh had everything ready. We were housed in a hotel and the workshop would take place in the conference room. Everything was ready so that the next day we would start 7 hours a day of workshop during the following 5 days.

At 5 minutes by 8:30 we were all in the workshop room, observing each other, curious, eager to start. You could see in the face the intrigue …: what is done in a Clown workshop …? Hahahahaha … shortly you were going to discover it!

We gave the start bell and Mr. Shishir was responsible for initiating the presentations … what nerves! We really wanted to start, to share together the following days of intense work, mutual knowledge, effort and a lot of truth.

In total there were 26 people, half Caritas staff, some senior and others junior, and the other half were facilitators, all women, who would be responsible for teaching CFS in the refugee camps.

At first the atmosphere was a bit more rigid, of shyness, there were some cultural barriers that we had to overcome, it was difficult to get used to our way of doing things, taking care of and looking for your own opinion, your own expression and each of them.

The facilitating girls, Muslim majority, at first cost them to integrate the exercises to their schemes, I do not blame them, jejejeje … but little by little we all merged into a fantastic and wonderful group of expression and play, learning and experimentation.

The dynamics raised more and more volunteers. Those and those who at first looked down to ask for collaboration, now shone their eyes with emotion, the need to say their opinion, to share with all of us the essence that they had inside. In the common bond: all for the children and learning to offer more, we all immerse ourselves in this trip that lasted 5 days.

And this feeling was palpable, the final opinions, the recognitions, the expressions of gratitude of the group left us on the verge of tears. Our different way of dealing with the concepts surprised them greatly, they told us that they had not been bored for a single moment, that the treatment of the concepts had been so simple, very clear … This is the prize for what we do … Happy people !!!

Through our technique, from us, leaving a memory and knowledge that will now reach the Rohingyas, their children, to a part of the world that needs to laugh and express, are limits or barriers, so we can say that the voice of the world is also yours.

   

After this experience, intense, emotional, with images that we will not forget, with looks, gestures, laughs and smiles that remain engraved on us forever … Good luck in your incredible mission, we will see each other again, without a doubt …

From Cox’s Bazar we fly to Dhaka to catch another plane to Chennai, India, where the next collaboration awaits us … Let’s go !!!

Shanti Bhavan, a school dream for the leaders of the future

This collaboration was with a very special organization, Shanti Bhavan. It is a school that provides food, accommodation and a high quality education to children without resources from different parts of India.

This organization allows many families to break the chain of poverty thanks to the fact that their children develop exceptional skills and achieve a high quality complete education. Without exaggeration, there is a grand piano in the meeting area, and it is normal that when you pass by there you will find a student playing a piece by Mozart or Ludovico Einaudi … a pleasure for sensitivity.

The organization also provides higher education, sponsors students to go to the university that most motivates them, in India or anywhere in the world. It is a pleasure to see how they stimulate and how they enhance the abilities of the students to the fullest. They hold daily assemblies to analyze the news of the day, locally and internationally.

They perform a multitude of artistic experiences, in addition to the compulsory subjects of each course. They are champions in local soccer leagues. So in this school the boys and girls get one of the most complete educations that I have seen, and from a close and loving relationship.

We contacted them thanks to some nice professors and American theater producers that we met at the Calcutta train station. They had been teaching as volunteers in this school and had had a fantastic experience. So after several emails we managed to square the agendas to be able to share our experiences as clowns with them !!

The school sent a car to pick us up from Bangalore, and after 2 hours on internal roads, between villages and villages, we arrived at the large farm of the Shanti Bhavan school. The enclosure was very big, full of field, at the end of the road that crossed it was the school and the residences. We were welcomed by two students, who would be responsible for a guided tour of the school and surroundings.

They left us impressed, the school is great, and they are super friendly, we enjoyed that moment with jokes and sharing mutual information. They showed us our room, simple but clean, perfect for us. They left us there to rest and we went to the assembly room a few hours later.

In the assembly we were able to meet all the students, teachers and volunteers. We listen to the news reported by the students themselves, with a space for questions and debate. After the chorus represented a couple of songs and finally there was a series of news from the teachers and they introduced us giving us space to describe who we are and what we do. Afterwards we were able to meet Ayesha, one of the school leaders, and she informed us of the time we had available. In total we did 4 workshops and 2 performances in the two days we were there.

The first workshop was with the 9th grade class, with 15 years. We went to the theater classroom, a perfect space to learn, the parquet floor and curtain. The students started arriving, which ended up being 13, and we started because we only had 1 hour and 20 minutes.

With the warm-up we got the group to concentrate, and each time they were more motivated. With the staging exercises we laughed for a while, they enjoyed, played and shared with us all their skills. In the end they did not want to go! they asked us to do more exercises, but they had to go to the next class … A joy of people …

We enjoyed the food in the dining room with the whole school. The 12th grade students asked us to sit at their table … they did not stop explaining jokes … some good ones not so much, but you could tell they were stimulated students, curious and eager to eat the world !!!

The next workshop was with the 11th grade class. 14 students attended, and we repeated the dynamics of the previous workshop, reducing the warm-up so as not to be so fair in the final dynamic. Grade 11 is 16 years old, so they already had a good conscience of what they did and what they expressed. They were very motivated, and they took it very seriously. It was a pleasure to see them giving their all, striving to express and share with us … a taste …

At night we had another assembly, but this time we were part of the entertainment … we acted !!! The occasion was witnessed by an old friend of the founder of the school, so the audience was distributed in a somewhat strange way, in the central area the adults and on the sides the students were distributed … And at the time the recital ended of piano … we left!

With an audience of about 100 people, it was not hard to get the first laughs … especially when we made the teachers leave as “volunteers” … the students broke up !!

 

The whole show was a pleasure, the people flowed and shared with us, all together, without public or actors, in everything they followed us and we followed … In the end, there was applause and mutual thanks. But the night did not end there, and we joined the audience present to enjoy the skills of the students.

The next day we had two more workshops, with those of grade 7 (of 13 years) and those of grade 5 (of 11 years). Attended 12 and 15 students respectively. Although in this case the boys and girls were younger, the desire was not minor. The game was different, the motivations varied, but they all flowed with us to express a bit of their art, their innate aptitudes, their desire to learn and express. We were surprised by their endless motivation, how they let themselves be surprised and how they shared their concerns with us. We feel good, perceiving the best of what we do, sharing, and providing a different point of view, together.

Finally, Ayesha asked us if we could repeat the show for the little ones, since the previous night they had not been able to attend, and we accepted with pleasure. The show was made in the courtyard. They gave us the signal that everyone was in their place, and we started !!!!

We went out and the children started to laugh. Some were perplexed, others scared, but most laughed just to see the clowns. The whole show went on fantastically, we all shared the moment, and the little ones, already more confident, left as volunteers even without asking! hehehehe …

They were very cute, with smiling faces, enjoying that special moment, the color of the smiles, the road we traveled together … When we finished, nobody moved, everyone wanted more! but we had acted in full sun and we were melting … So we went to the room to change.

And the end came, after two incredible days in this fantastic school, we said goodbye to the children, the teachers and the volunteers. Ajit, the director of operations, and Ayesha thanked us for the visit and Ayesha accompanied us to the car that would take us to the Bangalore train station. We already miss you, and we are left wanting to return, to share much more with such wonderful children, in this school so rich in sensations and education. See you soon!!!!!

JRS Drop out girls from Sri Lankan refugees, generating a future

We continued through southern India, and from Bangalore we returned by train to Dindigul. Our next collaboration was again with JRS (Jesuits Refugee Service). JRS does an excellent job of providing assistance to Sri Lankan refugees who are based in South India.

These refugees are the Tamils, and they have been in the 107 refugee camps in the Tamil Nadu region for more than 25 years, without any solution, the government of India does not provide them with papers and the government of Sri Lanka does not return them the lands from which they were expelled, in addition to in some cases not having papers.

Governments have been promising solutions for years but they never come. Meanwhile JRS carries out mediation to improve what their living conditions may be, and if possible to accelerate the arrival of possible solutions with the help of the UNHCR.

While the solutions do not arrive, JRS asked us if we could share a little of ourselves with a group that they provide support so that they can have some option for the future.

This group is about the “Drop Out Girls”. They are girls who have left school prematurely and have not obtained any other training. The reasons for leaving school can be several, lack of attention from parents, discrimination in Indian schools, having to work … In any case, this situation condemns them to have great limitations for their economic development, with a single alternative , get marry.

JRS provides intensive training for six months in a row. They teach them sewing and all the necessary knowledge to make clothing, and can sell it to build a future. They also learn beauty salon skills, and other skills.

Father Alex came to pick us up at the train station, he explained the details of the availability of the girls to do the workshop. There were 25 girls, two of whom had been hired as teachers. The workshops would take place at the Shakthi residence. Shakthi Folk Cultural Center is a traditional Indian dance school for Dalit girls (the most denigrated caste, even if it is not considered chaste for being very inferior) who have no training and no way to develop economically.

This center teaches traditional dances from South India, more specifically from the Tamil Nadu area. The girls earn a salary touring in shows nearby (and sometimes internationally), they offer dances as a traditional show. We have seen them and they are really good.

So Sister Chandra, the head and founder of the Shakthi Folk Cultural Center, kindly agreed to house and feed the 25 JRS girls, as well as her 25 girls and us. There we all shared more than two weeks. In return, we would hold another two-day workshop for their girls. As you can imagine we have lived great experiences for more than 2 weeks there, we try to make a summary.

The place was very clean, it was nice to be there, surrounded by nature in a rural area in South India. The food was excellent, all made by them, with rice, coconut and vegetables. What we liked most were the idlys with coconut chudney, a sauce made with coconut … a delight! Also, we ate an excellent rice byriani …

The workshop was great! two weeks, four hours a day, so we had the opportunity to apply several techniques, many exercises. They enjoyed it, and a lot, you should see them playing, screaming, enjoying as girls, transported to carefree times, in a temporary parenthesis. There were 25 girls between 14 and 21 years old, in full adolescence.

At first, it cost them. When we met for the first time, nobody could stand beside me, they were frightened and made an empty space between me and any form of feminine life … Little by little I was gaining their confidence, they began to interact with me and everything was like silk.

It was very interesting the strong old beliefs that they had, differentiating tremendously the masculine and feminine gender.

In the end with many of the girls we had jokes that we were repeating until the end of the weeks. One of them called me big brother in Tamil every time he saw me, this girl was very funny, and we ended up being friends !!!

In the group there were several characters, as it usually happens in a group of people, which is heterogeneous, and separate groups were formed. We tried to break these groups, make them understand that differences are positive characteristics in the individuals that benefit the whole group.

It was very interesting to share, we taught them our arguments and principles and they taught us their culture, their customs, their expressions, their music and their dances … almost nothing! As the workshop progressed the girls were more and more motivated, we were already a group, that together we were creating something, expressing, developing one another.

The last day was sad, they returned to the residence of Trichy, and we continued our trip to other places. We took this experience very much in our hearts, the truth is that it was very intense, very close and we worked for many hours … Aaaaaish … we just hope that we have been able to change for the better, even if only a little, his life. We will see us again!!!!!

JRS Sri Lanka Refugees, sowing the future of the people

After the experience with Chin refugees in Delhi, JRS asked us to give another workshop, this time to refugees from Sri Lanka. In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu there are 107 refugee camps in Sri Lanka. These are refugees who mostly left Sri Lanka because of the civil war.

Durante la colonización inglesa, se trasladaron gran número de trabajadores indios, principalmente del estado de Tamil Nadú, para trabajar en las plantaciones de té de Ceylan (nombre inglés de Sri Lanka). Una vez los colonizadores se fueron, el gobierno de Sri Lanka negó la nacionalidad a toda la gente de origen indio, llamados Tamils, y ordenó su regreso a la India.

A process of repression began that led in 1983 to Black July, a national revolt against the Tamil minority. Since then, a civil war that lasted 25 years has begun, the Tamils ​​claimed the north of Sri Lanka while the government did not grant them citizenship. In 2009 the Tamils ​​admitted defeat and the war ended. During the entire civil war the majority of the population moved as refugees to the state of Tamil Nadu in India, where they reside since then awaiting a solution, without nationality of Sri Lanka or India, they are exempt from any rights as citizens.

JRS is responsible for training refugees to be teachers of personal and professional development within the refugee camps. These promote and teach skills to young people and adults in refugee camps to facilitate their integration into employment wherever they reside.

We were going to do a training for these teachers in the first edition of the teachers’ meeting of all refugee camps of Sri Lanka in Tamil Nadu, which would be held for two days in Tiruchirapally, or Trichy.

The objective of this meeting was to unite all the professors of the different refugee camps to get to know each other and share experiences. With the JRS staff that manages them, it was a total of 250 people. Our contact was the director of JRS Tamil Nadu, Father Alex, director of JRS Tamil Nadu, a very nice man.

We arrived at Trichy by plane from Delhi. The lack of time and the enormous distance between Delhi and Trichy meant that we could not go by train. There we were welcomed by Father Alex, who took us to our accommodation, located in the center of personal development, TMSS de Trichy, where the meeting would begin the following day.

We went to the room to review the plan a bit for the next two days. We would do 4 sessions of 2 hours to groups of 60 people between 20 and 30 years old. Two people for 60 person was a challenge … but we were sure it would not be difficult.

And it dawned on Trichy !!!! Breakfast started at 7:30, but the sessions would not start until 10 a.m. First there was a ceremony to present the event with guests such as the United Nations representative of India for refugees (UNHCR), the chief of the Tamil Nadu police, a very powerful person, or the superior father of the Jesuits of Tamil Nadu. Between typical dances and speeches that we did not understand we spent an entertaining time …

And time of truth arrived. In a huge room we had almost 60 people. they had placed the chairs as a conference room and they were all sitting waiting for the speech … in India they love the speeches … Well, not this time … we made everyone get up and put the chairs stacked at the end of the room. Everyone did it with a face between shock and amazement … hehehe …

We started with the warm-up, a fun and casual tone, then the typical exercises of concentration to unite and focus the group, and we are already in the field. We had prepared communication exercises and group work. Everything was great, communication, coordination, everyone had a great time. They were surprised to perform practical exercises !!

The faces of concentration and fun were great! Every moment they discovered concepts by themselves, shared them, played with them. They discovered different realities besides simple and obvious …

The content of the workshops was the same for the 4 groups. Although we lacked time to perform the last exercise in all cases, the sequence of exercises was great, for the enjoyment and enrichment of all.

Group to group concluded with different comments but oriented in the same direction, and above all praised the teaching techniques … we are clowns! what did you expect? For good or bad this fact could not go unnoticed … hahahaha …

And the night came. In the program I had prepared a kind of Christmas gala, where different groups showed dances they had prepared, reading poems, skits, songs … Until it was our turn … They asked us to do something … they left us frozen, what were we going to do!!!!!

So dead of shame in front of about 250 people we started singing a song … without music! Well, that “we” is not completely true … Mayra very boldly stepped aside and left the brown in my hands … Anyway, we have the video but we will not be able to see it because we do not remember the moment … hahahahaha … In addition, of all this, two Santa Claus appeared, with masks of shrunken face that was scary … But everyone had a great time, we spent some time together enjoying and sharing … Good organization!

The next day we did the last workshop, with the same exercises. It came out great, and at the end I played the routine session of selfies … an endless round of selfies with everyone, alone or / and in a group … hehehe ..

And the day ended between greetings, hugs and talks about the workshops. A very interesting shared experience that has taught us a lot. Especially about the kindness of these people and the great work that JRS does for the refugees from Sri Lanka in Tamil Nadu. We will see each other again !!!!

JRS Chin Refugees, the daily routine of saving lives

In New Delhi we contacted Jesuits Refugees Service (JRS), an NGO started in 1980 that comes from the order of the Jesuits. They have been dedicated for decades to the attention of vulnerable people, the result of armed conflict or natural disaster, sometimes running many risks. Above all, they are dedicated to assisting people in refugee or displaced camps throughout the world, to assure them a life as dignified as possible, to defend their rights in the countries where they are refugees and to implement development programs for individuals and communities so that they can re-enter society as soon as possible.

  

JRS covers several areas of attention. They work in education, personal and professional development, economic development programs, health, psychological support, functional diversity centers, emergency assistance, nutrition, and also provide legal and human rights assistance. With 1400 workers, not counting the refugees who train to be teachers, they have helped millions of people around the world, in 60 countries … almost nothing … from the first moment we were surprised by the incredible social and help work what they do, giving hope to thousands of people around the world …

We had already worked indirectly with them in Myitkyina, through Sister Rose Mary of the Sisters of Jesus. We sent an email and we did not take long to receive an answer, Father Stan, director of JRS India, summoned us to speak with us. He suggested that we take a workshop for Myanmar refugees from the Chin ethnic group in Delhi. We accept without hesitation, and agree that it could be the following Monday. In Delhi there are about 2000 refugees of the Myanmar Chin ethnic group, one of the 7 most important ethnic groups in this country.

Chin is one of the 7 ethnic states of Myanmar. It is considered the poorest region with a poverty rate of 73%. 50% of the economic activity in this state is agrarian. In 1962 General Ne Win gave a coup in Myanmar and has ruled the country for 26 years. During this period the government carried out a birmanization of the country for various interests, persecuting all ethnic groups other than Burmese. The Chin ethnic group has been escaping to the Indian state of Mizoram, bordering the Chin state, where they are not recognized as citizens. More than 12,000 of these refugees moved to Delhi, a large city where finding a decent job can be an impossible task.

So the following Monday we went to the place where we had been quoted, a JRS development center where the Chin refugees learn English, basic informatics, sewing, and other activities to give work to people from the refugee camp. We remind that the main objective of a refugee camp is its disappearance, due to the reintegration of its people in a society without violence and that allows them a normal development. However, there are many refugee camps that have been in operation for decades. For this reason, JRS provides resources for personal and professional development, to enable them to earn a living independently.

At the development center we prepared what we had been asked for, a relaxed and fun workshop for the women who attend there … that is, a Clown workshop! Hahaha … We greet Steffi, Jovin and Morning, part of the JRS staff. We entered the room, and there they were, all women. A group of about 20 women between the ages of 20 and 60, sitting on the floor, some with children around their necks. They had no idea what we were going to do, their faces were of extreme shyness !!!! hahahaha … no problem, that’s normal … Hands to work!

We started with warm-up, fun, all motivated and willing, laughing at the sight of their partners. At first it was noticeable that they were not very trained in attention exercises, but little by little the concentration was increasing, getting them to give everything … The timid ones were very shy !!! hahaha … but others pulled the car dragging the group. There was a sense of community, of support among them, and it was evident that they went to the development center to learn.

Among laughter they motivated each other and challenged each other, pushed each other out and laughed together with each other … The improvisation exercises went very well. They were very funny with the nose of clown … that cute … at first they were all super tense, but little by little they relaxed and allowed themselves to enjoy the moment, laughing and commenting, amazed that they could be acting in front of a public …

We all parted with laughter, it was really fun and tender to see them there, enjoying as little girls, offering generously to their companions those scenes of their lives …

It was a great experience, they made a great effort, we had taken them far away from their comfort zone, and they had responded very very well, with value and understanding the proposal perfectly, two very important values to take a step forward, to be willing to enter a society very different from yours … We wish you the best of heart, you have everything for to get it!!!!

JRS Chin Refugees, the daily routine of saving lives

In New Delhi we contacted Jesuits Refugees Service (JRS), an NGO started in 1980 that comes from the order of the Jesuits. They have been dedicated for decades to the attention of vulnerable people, the result of armed conflict or natural disaster, sometimes running many risks. Above all, they are dedicated to assisting people in refugee or displaced camps throughout the world, to assure them a life as dignified as possible, to defend their rights in the countries where they are refugees and to implement development programs for individuals and communities so that they can re-enter society as soon as possible.

JRS covers several areas of attention. They work in education, personal and professional development, economic development programs, health, psychological support, functional diversity centers, emergency assistance, nutrition, and also provide legal and human rights assistance. With 1400 workers, not counting the refugees who train to be teachers, they have helped millions of people around the world, in 60 countries … almost nothing … from the first moment we were surprised by the incredible social and help work what they do, giving hope to thousands of people around the world …

We had already worked indirectly with them in Myitkyina, through Sister Rose Mary of the Sisters of Jesus. We sent an email and we did not take long to receive an answer, Father Stan, director of JRS India, summoned us to speak with us. He suggested that we take a workshop for Myanmar refugees from the Chin ethnic group in Delhi. We accept without hesitation, and agree that it could be the following Monday. In Delhi there are about 2000 refugees of the Myanmar Chin ethnic group, one of the 7 most important ethnic groups in this country.

Chin is one of the 7 ethnic states of Myanmar. It is considered the poorest region with a poverty rate of 73%. 50% of the economic activity in this state is agrarian. In 1962 General Ne Win gave a coup in Myanmar and has ruled the country for 26 years. During this period the government carried out a birmanization of the country for various interests, persecuting all ethnic groups other than Burmese. The Chin ethnic group has been escaping to the Indian state of Mizoram, bordering the Chin state, where they are not recognized as citizens. More than 12,000 of these refugees moved to Delhi, a large city where finding a decent job can be an impossible task.

So the following Monday we went to the place where we had been quoted, a JRS development center where the Chin refugees learn English, basic informatics, sewing, and other activities to give work to people from the refugee camp. We remind that the main objective of a refugee camp is its disappearance, due to the reintegration of its people in a society without violence and that allows them a normal development. However, there are many refugee camps that have been in operation for decades. For this reason, JRS provides resources for personal and professional development, to enable them to earn a living independently.

At the development center we prepared what we had been asked for, a relaxed and fun workshop for the women who attend there … that is, a Clown workshop! Hahaha … We greet Steffi, Jovin and Morning, part of the JRS staff. We entered the room, and there they were, all women. A group of about 20 women between the ages of 20 and 60, sitting on the floor, some with children around their necks. They had no idea what we were going to do, their faces were of extreme shyness !!!! hahahaha … no problem, that’s normal … Hands to work!

We started with warm-up, fun, all motivated and willing, laughing at the sight of their partners. At first it was noticeable that they were not very trained in attention exercises, but little by little the concentration was increasing, getting them to give everything … The timid ones were very shy !!! hahaha … but others pulled the car dragging the group. There was a sense of community, of support among them, and it was evident that they went to the development center to learn.

Between laughter they motivated each other and challenged each other, pushed each other out and laughed together with each other … The improvisation exercises went very well. They were very funny with the nose of clown … that cute … at first they were all super tense, but little by little they relaxed and allowed themselves to enjoy the moment, laughing and commenting, amazed that they could be acting in front of a public …

We all parted with laughter, it was really fun and tender to see them there, enjoying as little girls, offering generously to their companions those scenes of their lives …

It was a great experience, they made a great effort, we had taken them far from their comfort zone, and they had responded very well, with courage and understanding the proposal, two very important values to take a step forward, to be willing to enter a society very different from his … We wish you the best of heart, you have everything to get it!

Lakshyam Vasant Kunj, we dream together because all the children smile

Through Lakshyam we also went to Vasant Kunj’s school. Google Maps had located it to us the first one, for that reason we did not ask for confirmation of the location, but it was wrong … We spent some time looking for it, and finally we managed to get to the place … It is located in the southwest of Delhi.

Neha was our contact, she found us on the road and accompanied us to the place. Upon entering we stayed a few seconds in shock … It was a neighborhood of barracks as we had not seen so far … All an esplanade full of cardboard, wood, sheet and corrugated shacks, at best …

The area of ​​the school is a space with a plastic on the floor, which in the distant past had been a brand new banner … The school was under construction. This consisted of a room delimited by walls made of sandbags. There was still half a height to think about putting up a roof.

The children were very cute, there was everything from the boy in jeans and shirt, the very cute girl with her pink curta (knee-length shirt), the boy with the tattered clothes and the naked little children who appeared from time to time out there … with dirty and disheveled hairs, with faces of rogues and pillars … a good photo … Families looked at us with curiosity, from the entrance areas of their homes, in front of the fire where they prepared the naan (type of Indian bread cake).

We started the workshop with translations of Neha. At first the children had a hard time, they were not accustomed to concentration exercises, they dispersed, we could not make a group. Little by little everything was improving, looking for the right exercises to motivate them, we got their full attention.

The clown exercises were  a little difficult for them, they had to open and expose themselves. Some even had a hard time reacting, they were a little lost, they just smiled with a nervous grin … Accompanying them little by little we ended up understanding, and then we started to play together, to share experiences, to travel together for a while in other worlds , timeless, where they showed reality.

It was a great experience, and the important thing is that they were stimulated, provoked and infected, accompanied by the hand to visit the interior of their imagination, endless and incredible place. When we left they were left wanting more, they wanted to experiment, learn and enjoy … they were motivated … but this would be the next day !!!!

The next day, we went straight from Ghaziabad, crossing the city by subway, from end to end. We miscalculated the times and arrived quite late … Anyway there all the excited children waited for us, only to see us went crazy !!! nervous because we arrived and wanting to start, they had waited for us for an hour and finally we appeared! There were also two young volunteers from Lakshyam who made us translators.

We started warming up in a wider area. First with the exercises and games, they were super motivated! Even the older brothers watched and helped us control the kids. We felt very welcome, people smiled warmly at us, and the children had a great time. Some older lady approached us to thank us for what we were doing and to shake hands with a big smile.

We prepared some representation, the boys were to eat them! Look at the photos! but what sweetness of boys and girls … we were drooling how sweet and motivated they were, giving everything, with the noses of a clown … More mature and savvy than usual … Each time an intervention was over, They all raised to not miss the opportunity to be the next, with their hands raised, desperate to play, act, share their own stimuli with all of us … Aaaaish … but that precious … you just have to see their faces to want to eat them! !

And so the afternoon passed, the children had a great time, we enjoyed it very much. Now with the rotis in hand, we suppose it was their dinner, we said goodbye and left, followed for a while by the smiling children, clasping their hands, looking at us happy … We took their energy, their simplicity and the love that we they gave …

We hope we have left a spark of joy and we take you with us. And for this reason we write these posts, not to show what we do, but so that they are in everyone’s mind, accompany us forever, maybe one day we will understand … You deserve the best …

Lakshyam Ghaziabad, a school among rubble, an oasis of hope

Another organization with which we collaborated was Lakshyam. It is an NGO that collects funds to provide education to the population of the poorest neighborhoods of Delhi. It is not an easy task, not only they must collect funds to create equipment and pay salaries, but they must also ensure that these facilities are maintained and that children attend school.

Lakshyam works with three centers in Delhi, but due to problems of absenteeism we were only able to collaborate in two of them: Ghaziabad and Vasant Kunj.

The Ghaziabad school is located in the neighborhood with the same name, located in the northeastern part of Delhi. This school is a small building with three small rooms: an office, always closed with a padlock, a sewing room and a medicine service for the neighbors. Everything is surrounded by a concrete fence.

The children learn in a covered outdoor area, on a esparto carpet and with a blackboard. Inside the enclosure there is also a mini van with the name of Lakshyam that serves as a storage area, another abandoned car, some debris and a few demolished swings.

We were summoned at 10am, our contact was Aishwarya, with her we organized the children. Due to the variety of age, we decided to make two groups, and that day we would start with the older ones, from 8 to 12 years old. We had limited time since at 1pm another visit would come.

The children were very shameful, when we were in a circle the girls avoided being next to me, next to a man, we do not know whether out of modesty or shyness … hahaha … they were funny.

We started as always warming up, starting the group’s concentration, asking the children to pay full attention to what we were doing there … It was not easy, as often happens, but little by little everyone started to motivate themselves.

As we progressed with the exercises they got more and more into the interpretation, trying to do better, showing each other … all very focused !!! a love of girls and boys !!!!

The families, who waited for medication, from the room assigned to it, surrounded the students observing and commenting on the exercises they performed, curious and delighted with their antics …

In the end we lacked time for everyone to participate, but we would return the following week … So we said goodbye until the next day.

A week passed and we were there again. On this occasion Aishwarya could not come, so we tried to do the workshops without translation. We gather all the children. We were delighted to see that children had joined us who, the day before, were watching us from outside the premises … they were wearing their best clothes …

The warm-ups were repeated, most of them already knew them, so everything worked very smoothly. The following exercises were new and we needed translation … Luckily the teacher, who watched from a distance spoke a little English and helped us.

The interpretations of the kids were emotional, they all tried the best they could, some challenging a great shyness, others used to show themselves. As in the previous day, all the families surrounded the little boys who did the exercises, curious people enjoyed the interpretations of their children.

At 12:30 we prepare to do the show. We had everything ready when we gave the signal to start, and we appeared … The boys and girls were already motivated, any gesture and movement seemed funny. They received the shares generously and they were dying to leave as volunteers … So everything went very well. In this case I played sound technician myself, and that took away a bit of fluidity and brightness, but equally everything went well, all very clown and the children enjoyed it.

And finally we left, leaving behind children hungry for games, stimuli, curious and intelligent like any other children, but in an environment that does not help, to see if the good work of Lakshyam can help them to break the chain of poverty that tie them …

CanSupport, a life-giving aid (Part 3)

And the third and last experience with CanSupport, for now. This time it was on Friday, the Day Care for adults.

As the public was different we could make the same number as the previous days. This time everyone was sitting on the mats and just when we arrived they started to get up, but because at that moment they opened their turn to distribute the medicines.

We started the show, with the prized company of one of the responsible ladies and had a beautiful and contagious laugh … sure success!

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The adults began to smile, but when we looked at them quickly they hid their laughter, especially they, they made the hard ones showing seriousness before our antics … That was simply shyness and protection, to minimize the possibilities of which we chose them as volunteers… hehehe…

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A lady of the public, offered from the first moment to collaborate, did not stop laughing … she reminded me of my aunt Mari Carmen … I took her to dance, she challenged Mayra to conquer me, and we went to her to give her a little color to the scene with his presence … all a taste … The whole show continued with the enjoyment of all … with many protagonists … by timid or by daring … we played everything …

Once finished, we applauded and embraced each other, all delighted and with good feelings. Some smiles meant a lot to us, they taught us that we had really contributed to creating a better world, if only for a few minutes …

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Before we left we spoke with Pukhraj, he invited us to accompany him to make some visits in the afternoon that he does on his own two days a week. We accept, sure it would be interesting.

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We meet at the subway stop A.I.I.M.S (All Indian Institute of Medical Science). It is a mega public hospital, the largest in India. It serves illons of people from all over India. In the outskirts, patients accumulate for months waiting for their treatment, which can sometimes take years. So patients and their families move to Delhi awaiting treatment and stay on the street or in a “residence” designed for them, until their treatment arrives.

When leaving the metro we find Pukhraj. There was also a group of volunteers with whom he had collaborated long ago. They were preparing to feed hundreds of people waiting for treatment outside the hospital. They offered to help us and we got down to work there! Our function was to join the chain and give people water glasses. People received their portion of water with smiling faces out of curiosity towards us …

Then Pukhraj took us to where he wanted to take us … It’s about the hospital residences, where people live for months or even years. Prices range from a bed in a bedroom for 50 rupees to a floor space for 10 rupees per night. We went to see the crowded people in this last option, people without resources who also do not have the means to make a living …

It is a large room where each family is assigned a plot of 2-3 square meters, one plot attached to the other, on the floor, on cardboard, with the few belongings of the family. A really sad vision. There Pukhraj walks around the room and patients and family explain their problems, so he can make targeted contributions, such as medication, or in some cases items that can change lives, such as a sewing machine to make clothes to sell …

Many of the people we had shared with at Day Care were there. A man even offered us a soluble coffee from about … how little he had … to thank us for the good time spent with the show …

We were about to act there, we were ready, but the guards and the administrator of the site did not want us to make noise … to avoid any publicity, so he did not leave us …

It was a difficult situation, it was like walking through the lives of people who are not having a good time, but Pukhraj insisted, and he does a very good job. Our role there was to entertain and play with all the children that were joining our step. We made games and antics and had a great time …

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A vision that did not leave us indifferent … see it to feel it … At the end we said goodbye to the people and Pukhraj who was going to the pharmacy located outside the residence with a retinue of people that he was going to buy so needed medicine …

CanSupport, a life-giving aid (Part 2)

The next day of collaboration with CanSupport was Wednesday, the day dedicated to teenagers. After the first day we already knew the way, walking 2 km, journey by subway and another 2 km walking through Delhi … it’s already an adventure …

Arriving; there were the teenagers, resolving negotiations with CanSupport volunteers, picking up medication, sitting on the mats, or just waiting to start the activities reserved for that day … They had already advanced that they would have a clown performance, and they were waiting for the chance.

The person who received us was Mr. Pukhraj, a nice man of the Sikh religion, who always wear a turban. He told us that they would start doing a little meditation with them and that when we were ready we could begin to act. That left us with enough time, so we went to prepare a small adjoining room. There we put on our clothes and make up, and once ready, we let you know that to begin with …

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Just appear and began the first laughs … In addition to all the public was predisposed, one of the volunteers did not stop laughing very loudly !!!!! … had a very contagious laugh, and did not stop laughing .. It reminded me of our beloved Ulla, a clown companion who loved to laugh … the best gift to act … Quickly everyone joined the party, laughing and interacting with the people …

This performance was special, for the abundant laughs, for the improvised games that flowed like rivers, everything was expensive !!! There were also people in the audience were quiet, they were having a good time … although in a bad, very bad time … We try to convey all our love with the look, with our gestures, making them participants in this story, all together.

In some cases they were amusingly stupefied, open-mouthed, they did not respond to the stimuli we proposed, especially the adults who accompanied the teenagers … At the end of the show we discovered that if they did not respond it was because they were blocked by shyness or by the surprise of the moment … a love of people!

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The whole show was a gift that the attendees gave us, everything flowed from the first moment … a joy … At the end we shared the comments about the experience, the opinions were very good, they had enjoyed it … autographs !!!! We were very surprised! and he also praised us a little … hehehehe … we are not made of stone …

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At the end Pukhraj invited us to eat, commenting on the importance of the emotional work of adolescents. Then we agreed to return the following week to do a clown workshop with the same teenagers … And it would be a pleasure !!! But what are you guys … it’s a pleasure to see each other again.

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The days passed, and the next Wednesday arrived !!!! the day of the workshop for teenagers. We are headed to CanSupport !!!! We reached the first floor, this time the adults were in the first part of the main room and the teenagers in the second part, separated by a screen … There we started the workshop.

There were about 20 people, boys and girls. We start with the usual warm-up. We were aware that we had to lower the revolutions a bit, but it is also true that a little healthy march was going to make them enjoy themselves.

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We made a circle, most were standing, and some sitting on a chair since they were too weak. The truth is that most of us endured all the time! You could see them enjoying …

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It was a joy of motivation, participation and interest. They were delivered in each exercise. In the small improvisations, there were a couple of teenagers who saw innate qualities as clowns!

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They did not pretend, they did not force, they simply came from the heart. Their actions were rich in detail, easy to follow, with a tempo of silent film … It was a joy of workshop, these kids are very motivated … Maybe we can do something a little longer … we’ll plan it !!! We will love it !!!!!

After our workshop Franky appeared, an American who was on vacation in India and who also volunteered. Franky came to give a very special gift, he distributed a yo-yo to each one and taught them how to use … The kids were very excited !!!! all concentrated with their yo-yo …

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For them it was a great morning, with many surprises, emotions and above all love, that support we all need to know that things can go well, provide a smile, discover something, share a new moment, an emotion. So we end the day, with happy and happy people, between smiles and hugs … it is difficult to describe, we take it inside.