„Everyone needs to have fun“ – this is the motto of Myanmar’s first social circus, and the message they are trying to spread. The project started in 2014, and for four years now Jules Howarth and his team have been developing Social Circus in Myanmar. But what exactly is it? The concept is as simple as it is effective: They use circus skills training to engage and empower children and young adults (especially focusing on vulnerable youths from poorer backgrounds such as street children and orphans or kids with disabilities) who can then lead their own sessions and teach other people. The goal is to after some time build up a framework for a locally-led social circus network in Myanmar, offering equal access for everyone regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity or social class. So far, they have been working with over 110 youths from around Yangon, and now SSO has joined their course – albeit not with children, but with our teaching staff. Once a week all our day-care-centres teachers attend the social circus workshop held in DCC2, learning not only the basics of juggling, diablo, spinning plate, flower sticks (and much more), but also how to communicate an agenda of sharing, tolerance and respect through the use of play and fun to the kids.
Our Social Worker Sandar enjoys the workshop – just having fun.
Our teachers are with the children for almost the entire day, not only teaching but also taking care of their hygiene, cooking for them, and entertaining them with games and sports in the afternoon. SONNE agrees wholeheartedly with Social Circus Myanmar that every child has a right to relax and play, and what better way to give them that than through our workers? We believe that acquiring new knowledge can only contribute to a person’s development, and even more so if the learned is afterwards shared. Teaching our staff in circus skills means they can pass them on to the students, who in turn can share their skills with other children and so on. It’s been proven that play reduces stress, strengthens self-esteem, enhances social relationships and facilitates communication – all vital things for the children to learn. But most importantly, it’s simply FUN, which is something most of them don’t get to have too often in their otherwise harsh, daily routines. Starting with our staff ensures that as many kids as possible can benefit from the project. Besides, it’s also great to see that the teachers enjoy it just as much – kind of like the sports class they never had in school. Here’s to a SSO circus?