As they walk through the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut with a stampede of children at their feet, Kevin, Geraldine, Francoise and Virginie sing and smile at the incredulous locals. These Belgian clowns are in Lebanon for a month to play for Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese children in the refugee camps.
Today, an estimated 500,000 Syrian children are living as refugees in Lebanon, and most don’t attend school.
The clowns are volunteering with the association “Clowns and Magicians Without Borders”, founded 10 years ago in Belgium. At the end of this trip, they will have visited the Bekaa, Tripoli, Beirut and even southern Lebanon, home to the famous Shebaa farms. On April 30, the troupe will play its last of 40 performances in Lebanon.
They will then travel to Afghanistan to once again turn their motto – “Laughing is the shortest distance between two people” – into reality.