Clowns Without Borders UK

WHAT WE DO

We make children laugh.

A child and clown being watched by a large crowd of children

Why it matters.

When children are affected by conflict and crisis their ability and opportunity to use play to understand the world are radically diminished.

Ensuring that they have the freedom to play is more important than ever. It helps them make sense of the world and provides comfort and respite when it is needed most.

That is why we share our joyful, playful performances in refugee camps and crisis settings around the world, bringing immediate emotional relief to children.

Every child in the world deserves a safe, playful childhood but conflict and crisis rob children of this essential right. Whilst food, water and shelter are necessary for material needs to be met, the revitalising power of play supports the respite, recovery and development of a child – emotionally, physically and psychologically.

Sharing joyful activities with children in a crisis setting is a powerful reminder that laughter and play are possible and necessary whatever a child’s situation.

By responding quickly, our joyful performances and playful workshops provide urgent solace, creating a safe and supportive environment.

A puppeteer engaging with two children through the gap in a temporary tent in a refugee camp - Türkiye 2023

“We haven’t seen the children interact like that since they arrived.”

Samar – Head of UNHCR Office in Szeged, Hungary

Our work.

We support children in crisis settings to heal, learn and thrive through laughter and play.

Events beyond their control can have immeasurable effects on children and their families. They disrupt and disturb childhood experiences and strip children of their rights.

We create safe, playful spaces in the midst of a crisis with:

  • joyful performances for children 
in need of immediate emotional first aid
  • expert training and support for local artists and communities
  • strategic partnerships to advocate for systematic change

By sending clowns into a crisis, we disrupt the relentless challenges, instability and chaos to deliver vital emotional first aid for thousands of children during the most challenging times.

A child and a clown play a hand-clapping game at a centre in Romania for Ukrainian refugees

Our ambitions.

10 year target

Over the last 10 years, we have reached 100,000 children in some of the most challenging places on earth.

Over the next 10 years, we will reach 1 million more.

We will bring the power of laughter and play to every child in every crisis setting, including new programmes in the UK, scaling activities across migrant and refugee communities in Europe, post-conflict communities in the Middle East and displaced children within Africa.

And, we will change minds to ensure that the power of play is recognised as an essential part of every emergency response plan, with a strategy for play at the heart of every crisis.

Laughing crowd of children watching a performance

Our vision.

We want to see a world where every child experiences the profound joy and transformative power of laughter and play because it is essential to the health and well-being of every child.

By advocating for every child’s fundamental right to laughter and play, we express our solidarity with children affected by crisis and bear witness to their experiences.

Our work protects and promotes a child’s right to play through the direct delivery of joyful performances, training and support for staff and volunteers, and strategic partnerships to advocate for systematic change within a humanitarian setting.

We want a child’s right to play to be recognised by every adult.

Three clowns performing for displaced people in the gap between tents in a refugee camp - Türkiye 2023
One child looking happily surprised, held by an adult in a Clowns Without Borders t-shirt, and another child looking and laughing

Donate.

Every gift brings joy.

By supporting Clowns Without Borders, you’ll join an incredible group of people who believe in the rights of children and the power of play.

Give the gift of laughter today.

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