The Social Circus Myanmar Project
Each ‘dry season’ from November to April we deliver our workshops in 5 or 6 different locations each week (the same place each time). Our Group sizes range from 15 to 40 young people/children at a time.
We also do one-off workshops to larger groups:
our largest was 82 kids in 2019!
We work with children, teenagers, young adults and some adults.
Our average delivery is up to 160 young people weekly.
There are many models of social circus activities across the globe. We found that Myanmar doesn’t have a cultural memory of circus arts, so what we deliver is a new art form for most of Myanmar society. Myanmar is a country (or union of states) that has many challenges so we don’t have an easy opportunity to travel to the restricted areas where there are IDP camps and make circus interventions in those places, unfortunately. We also lack equipment to donate to such places.
Our plan is to develop social circus steadily and concentrate on quality training. If we can teach 160 children well. embed the concept of sharing the skills, working together, supporting each other, then they can teach another 160 friends; and so it grows.
We work to European standards of safeguarding and safety in our trainings. We are keenly and actively recruiting Myanmar young adults to become circus trainee tutors and plan to support them to the point where they can deliver workshops safely and effectively and take control of the programme. Its a long journey but very much worth while.
Our workshops and performances have also created substantial interest amongst civil society groups in Myanmar as our work is not only skills-based but founded on teaching and promoting tolerance, co-operation, learning to trust each other, gender-equality and playing together regardless of social class, ethic group, ability, gender or religious definition.
We are using circus as our primary engagement tool and we add theatre games and performance skills; alongside this ever-present are our Values:
Learning through Play
At the heart of the Social Circus Myanmar project is the belief that “Everyone
Needs to Have Fun.”
Bringing young (“abled” and disabled) people together through play and fun, while
building specific circus and social skills, supports personal development and
promotes a more equitable and healthy society.
The aims of the Social Circus Myanmar project are to:
- Deliver circus skills workshops to existing teams of young people from marginalised communities
- Expand circus skills workshops to other participants and areas.
- Provide tutor training for locally-based jugglers and circus artists so they are able to run regular workshops throughout the year.
- Provide teaching materials, specialist trainers, equipment, monitoring and evaluation to support learning goals.
- Develop the performance capacity of participants and tutors.
- Develop funding streams locally and internationally
- Develop a plan with Myanmar partners to establish a social circus network and training centre.
- Partner with other creative, educational and civil society initiatives
Testimonials from Partners
U Kyaw Oo – Director of Thanylin Boys Training Centre.
“The children seem to be really interested in these lessons and these games help their brain development. It improves their eye-hand coordination and makes them enthusiastic and happy… this game allows people from different countries to come together and exchange skills. It’s great. Myanmar was the first country to play Chinlon. Similarly, juggling started in other countries. Actually, juggling and Chinlon share a lot of similarities; it’s amazing”
Taung Thu Gone, Karen Hostel, Insein, Reverent Dr. Mu Soe, Senior Pastor, Karen Baptist Church.
“Before this they had no other activities – they go to class, come back to the hostel and all they can do is read a book, they didn’t have any activities or toys to play with. These activities are really needed and they are good for the children too… They are using their minds as well as their bodies… I believe this is really good for their mind development. These games are good for them. Playing freely makes them happy and seeing that makes me happy.”
Dan Roberts, Director at Red Nose Foundation, Jakarta, Indonesia
One of the nice things about teaching circus is that it doesn’t matter if you are teaching (wealthy kids) poor kids, kids of any gender, kids of any economic or religious background it’s all the same; we all learn how to juggle in the same was and we all have fun the same way.
Zami Saung, Physiotherapist, Eden Centre for Disabled Children
“This kind of workshop is really helpful for our children… who have a strong desire to play sport and do fun activities. I believe it could be for pure enjoyment or to develop useful skills. It is such a great opportunity for them to feel the same as other children… It makes them value themselves”
Bway Khu Wah, Student , Taw Mae Phar Hostel
“It’s so much fun for us to be here seeing all these unusual activities and I’m so glad to have this opportunity and be part of this youth fellowship… Thanks…I really liked how they brought us together and taught us how to be a Team. I have never been a part of a fellowship like this before but now I am and I’m really happy…thanks to the brothers and sisters for helping us, which will allow us to carry on and teach others. ”
A Letter of Support from one of our partners in Myanmar
S4SK-M, No.5, 4th Floor, 147 Street, Ahyoe Gone Ward, Tamwe Township, Yangon
Working to provide educational opportunities for very poor children in Myanmar
Please visit us at: www.s4sk.org.uk
We are an organization, “Scholarships for Street Kids”, working for the out‐of‐school children’s education. We teach them basic literacy, functional literacy with life skills and handicraftskills as Non‐Formal Education (NFE), and try to send them to some vocational trainings for their better life‐prospect. Most of our children are child‐labours and haven’t got the opportunity to play in their childhood since they have to earn for their family income.
Fortunately, we got the opportunity to provide Play and Training in Circus Skills and Circus Arts by connecting with Serious Fun Yangon last year. That project could support our children with educational, social and emotional development. When they had the opportunity of public performance on the stage or in front of the audience, they felt proud of being their existence, satisfied with their skills, aware and confident on their strength. Some of their parents watched the performance show and felt pleased with their children’s skills. And they got awareness on children’s participation, one of the child rights. It was one of the advantages our children profited that sharing and caring to each other was very important for success with happiness. After the workshop, they often practise their play in the class, teach other students and they play happily together.
In the last performance show and workshop, only our students from nearby Yangon could participate. If possible, in future, we like to provide this activity for other NFE students from Pyay, Pakukku and Bago.
The sessions were being delivered free to us and our students, but to make the project longer‐ term and sustainable, Serious Fun Yangon needs to secure funding from NGOs, INGOs and from business Sponsors.
We would welcome more Circus activity sessions as we think that the sessions are important to the development of our young people.
We ask you to consider funding this project in the medium and long term so that Myanmar children and young adults can continue to benefit from this project.
Aye Aye Thinn
Scholarships for Street Kids (S4SK)one