Afghan children promote peace through circus

21 Apr 2013

Afghan children promote peace through circus

KABUL - Young girls and boys from an Afghan circus school enthralled today a large audience – comprising mainly children from orphanages – with their skills in gymnastic, juggling and theatre performances amidst a colourful event in the capital, Kabul.

The Kabul event, organized as part of the World Circus Day which is celebrated on and around the third Saturday of April every year, aimed to spread the message of peace, health and landmine awareness in Afghanistan, said one of the organizers, Hamed Royan of the Afghan Educational Children Circus (AECC).

AECC has been organizing various activities in Afghanistan since 2002 to promote peace and raise awareness on a number of social issues through circus performances.

Promoting peace and reconciliation is one of the key priorities of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which was established in 2002 and got its mandate renewed last month by the UN Security Council for another year.

AECC has performed circus shows and organized workshops reaching out to over 2.7 million children in 25 provinces of Afghanistan, the group notes in its website.

The World Circus Day, which was first celebrated in 2010, was declared by a network of arts and circus lovers called the ‘Association for the Promotion of Traditional Circus Arts’ with the aim to educate politicians, media and the general public “about the wonderful world of the traditional circus”.

Mr. Royan said that the school currently has 150 students and operates in Kabul, Herat, Bamyan, Nangarhar and Badakshan provinces of Afghanistan.

“We have tried our best to provide maximum opportunities and facilities to children to get training and subsequently become trainers,” said Mr. Royan.

A teacher at the school, Ahmed Nazari, who has represented Afghanistan in various circus shows abroad, said that the school also has a mobile circus programme supported by a non-governmental organization called Mobile Mini Circus for Children. Through this programme, the organization has been organizing circus performances for schoolchildren in different provinces of the country.

Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister for Information and Culture, Ghulam Nabi Farahi, who was also the chief guest in the Kabul event, encouraged children and youth to get involved in circus activities.

“It is a great art to entertain people and make them happy,” said Mr. Farahi.

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