Hi, my name is See Ying Yip. in July this year, my friend, Kate Porter went to Athens, Greece to work with CircusAid to provide workshops to bring relief, friendship and fun to refugees. I was unable to go but their work has truly inspired me. On 9th September I will be doing the Thames Bridges Trek across sixteen of London's bridges but I will be hula hooping! Please help me to support their project and beyond!
Here is the link to the Thames Bridge Walk that I will be doing, except I will be hula hooping!!
What is CircusAid?
The 6 week long CircusAid residency in Athens July 3rd-August 13th will aim to:
* Work in collaboration with 3-4 established refugee support organisations.
* Provide 30+ days of joy and laughter through social circus workshops.
* Serve approximately 30 people per day.
* Serve 3 different age populations (children, teenage male/teenage female, adult male/adult female groups)
* Serve mixed ethnic groups (Afghani, Syrian, Iraqi, Sudanese, Eritrean, Ethiopian)
* Facilitate experiences in: Juggling, clowning, acro-balance, hula hooping and performance building.
Your donations are urgently needed in order to enable the project to go ahead. 100% of your donations will go to the project. Donations will pay for service provisions (car rental, transport and accommodation for facilitators and volunteers), circus equipment and transportation costs. Any additional funds would allow CircusAid to make the project more long term and serve more refugees throughout Europe through building of a mobile circus tent similar to this one designed by Jordy Sanchez to enable CircusAid to provide circus workshops at a variety of refugee camps in Europe.
Occupational therapy is based on the principle that we are what we do: humans need to engage in activity (occupations) of self-care, productivity and leisure to ensure our physical and mental well-being. If we are deprived, for example through illness, poverty or political circumstances, of the opportunity to participate in activities, roles and occupations that are meaningful to us, our well-being suffers.
Three million refugees are expected to arrive in Europe in 2017. Three million desperate displaced people who have been forced to flee their lives, jobs, identities, friends and family, homes and belongings. Thousands of these people are temporarily residing in Greece. The people residing in these refugee camps have overcome enormous feats and have experienced unthinkable trauma. The refugee experience is a juxtaposed breeding ground for mental illness as people arrive full of hope and relief and simultaneously dehumanised as their wet clothes are removed and they are given whatever people have donated and in many cases, improperly fitting in size and cultural representation of modesty. After the refugees have been given dry clothes they are bussed to the registration camps where they wait for an unknown amount of hours or days for papers to be processed before being transferred to another site where they will wait again as their long and uncertain journey to safe settlement is still in a stage of infancy. As people in the refugee (registration) camps wear other people’s clothes and are no longer able to pursue their previous productive and leisure occupational roles, their identity and dignity become fragmented. What they do have is time. They have time to think, to worry, and to wait for someone else’s actions to determine how the next stage of their journey will unfold. Anyone who has ever experienced a major life stress knows how maddening getting lost in one’s thoughts can be and how mental anguish is further impacted by of lack of activity and occupational engagement.... "Occupational deprivation is a current problem as life in a refugee camp is characterised by regimented ways of doing, much like a prison environment in which personal occupational choice is limited.” (Suleman and Whiteford, 2013).
As they begin to piece together their fragmented lives, CircusAid is hoping to provide a slight reprieve from mental anguish and to help build resilience and community connection through engagement in circus activities.