Clowns Without Borders USA

Clowns Without Borders USA

Clowns Without Borders (CWB-USA) is a nonprofit organization that offers resilience through laughter. They aim to relieve suffering of all people, especially children, who live in areas of crisis, including refugee camps, conflict zones, and other situations of adversity. They partner with individuals and organizations to bring small teams of professional performing artists to share performances and workshops with children and their families in refugee camps, conflict zones, or with communities who have experienced trauma or crisis.

They strive to bring levity, contemporary clown/circus-oriented performances, and workshops into communities, so that community members can celebrate together and reduce the tensions that darken their daily lives. They initiate resilience through laughter with social circus, psychosocial support through play, restorative narrative, and collaborative communication.

They formed in 1993, after Tortell Poltrona, a clown from Barcelona, Spain, was asked by a group of school children to help out some friends. These Catalan children had been corresponding with children living in a refugee camp in Croatia who had witnessed the Yugoslav Wars of 1991-1995.

Tortell took his car and a small troupe of clowns with him to the camp without any idea of what to expect. Hundreds of children and families greeted him when he arrived and Payasos Sin Fronteras (Clowns Without Borders) was born.

Inspired by Poltrona’s work, Moshe Cohen then founded Clowns Without Borders-USA in 1995. CWB-USA now coordinates as a member of the international federation, Clowns Without Borders International.