Clowns Without Borders began in Spain in 1993 when refugee children, from the Yugoslav Wars of 1991-1995 from the Istrian Peninsula, wrote to Catalan children: “You know what we miss most? We miss laughter, to have fun, to enjoy ourselves.” So the Spanish children asked Tortell Paltrona to travel there with a troupe and they went [in 1993] by car. The children in Barcelona raised funds to pay for the project.
Founder of Clowns Without Borders Tortell Paltrona
â€śWhen we started, it might have seemed like a joke to some people. An NGO with clowns in the middle of a war! It was surreal. At first we wondered what we were doing, but after the first experience it was such a powerful and emotional feeling. There was a very warm welcome and the visit was very helpful for the childrenâ€ť. (Tortell)
Tortell founded Clowns Without Borders to offer humor as a means of psychological support to communities that have suffered trauma.
In Ireland, Jonathan Gunning, having first been on a project with Clowns Without Borders USA, co-founded with Colm O’Grady, Clowns Without Borders Ireland in 2007.
CWB Around the World
Clowns Without Borders blossomed from there and have now chapters in twelve countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States). We are working together in shared projects and shared destinations.
2013 figures or at glance
To make this possible more than 365 artists volunteered around the world.
Download the full International Report, 2013, here.Â Â