Our pilot project in July 2012 was an overwhelming success.
Approached by Lithuanian charity, Baltascena and supported by the British Council, we worked for three weeks along side a four Lithuanian artists to develop a clown performance we could tour to as many children as possible.
We managed to bring laughter and play to:
• 800 children, elders and carers in
• 17 venues including:
o ‘state-run care establishments’
o tuberculosis centres
o special needs centres
o refugee reception centre
o children living on the fringes of Vilnius in the marginalised Romani community.
We also made one special trip to an ‘elders care unit’; the institution had heard about our project and knew their patients would love to see our work, they were right.
Why Was This Tour Important?
In a survey conducted by Child Poverty Action Group, it placed Lithuania 26th out of 30 European countries in terms of childhood happiness. Dainius Puras MD., expert in child psychiatry and Chairman of Lithuania’s Human Rights Monitoring Institute suggests this is because:
• The rights and freedom of children in Lithuania is only just been understood
• Large numbers of children are still housed in big residential ‘foster care homes’ resulting in social exclusion and institutionalisation.
• There is little or no support governmental for families and children at risk.
• Tolerance of single parent families and other minority groups remains extremely low.
To see what we actually got up to: