Supported by the world famous Cirque du Soleil, the social circus project reaches more than 200 of the most vulnerable children from 5 different communities. The queues for children’s involvement in this project grow every year, and now even teachers and community leaders are asking for children to be given priority consideration, as they have seen the changes in the lives of children and their families as a result of the project. The project has additional levels of impact in that it employs local unemployed youth as circus instructors. These youth are carefully selected for their passion in helping children and are trained in child care and social circus techniques. As one of the youth said it so well “we give the children love and hope.” The project also links with local community based organisations offering holistic child support and practical assistance.
Here are some comments from the children themselves, as well as the youth instructors and the community:
- "Being a part of circus gives hope and it’s like a new family to me. I also have a safe place to play" This is a comment from a child from Mshayazafe informal settlement. The name “Mshayazafe” means “beat him until he dies”.
- “The circus instructors are my aunts and uncles which helps a lot because they play the role of my mother and father.” Comment from a child who lost both his parents and who is living with his grandmother
- "The time I joined circus I was stressed about the loss of my family which was killed in front of me. Being involve on circus activities its where I can release that stress." This is a comment from a circus youth instructor.
- “The stipends have changed my life and boosted my energy. We are able to buy food for our parents and our own children.” Comment from youth circus instructors
- “This is a valuable project where our children are being taken care of after school. This has decreased the children being in accidents which was a big problem in our community before. They are no longer in the streets now.” Comment from a parent of a child in the project.