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Circus brings MDGs closer to orphans in Albania
13 December 2004

Tirana, Albania: The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme along with the Circus of Tirana, the Albanian Youth Council and non-governmental organizations MJAFT! and VIS held a circus show in Tirana on 6 December to bring the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) closer to orphans on the occasion of International Volunteer Day.

Twenty circus artists volunteered to perform various acts – clown skits, trapeze and magic performance – for more than 200 orphaned children from poor families. In between the performances, the “MDG Fairy Tale” was told by former UN volunteers Bruna Jella and Elona Karoshi.

The MDG Fairy Tale, prepared by the UNV country team, presented the eight MDGs by inviting the children to start with their friends in making the world a better place. They created slogans for each goal, such as, “No More Poor," "Let’s Stop Poverty and Hunger," "Education for All," "Friendly Schools for Each Albanian Child," "Boys and Girls are Equal," "Healthy Moms and Babies," "A Disease Free Albania," "A Clean and Green Albania," "Working Together for a Better world". In addition, MDG T-shirts with these slogans were distributed to the children.

The soft drink company, Pepsi, provided free drinks and snacks at the end of the show.

Chiara Pace, the UNV Programme Officer for Albania, says the idea behind the circus was simple. “UNV’s past experience has shown that innovative approaches appealing to all ages and genders can succeed. The previous success of the “Regional Cinema Screening for the MDGs” demonstrated the effectiveness of promoting MDGs through arts and one way of mobilizing communities to more concrete action was through film and culture.

From that experience and focusing the IVD’s activities on children from poor backgrounds, UNV decided to organize another event where the MDGs and the concept of volunteerism would be promoted using arts, particularly through one art form that children enjoy most: the circus".

Ms. Alketa Hila, director of the Zyber Halluli, Orphanage House of Tirana highly praised the fact that this IVD was dedicated to children coming from vulnerable groups. “Inviting 200 disadvantaged children to attend a circus show is not only an opportunity to let them spend a special day, but also a new way to sensitize people on the importance of volunteering for children in need” she says. “The circus project has succeeded not just in mobilizing community participation, but also in increasing awareness about MDGs among children using simple but powerful slogans. The circus has always been a special way to touch children’s hearts directly and telling them about the MDGs through a fairy tale has been a very efficient way to promote them”.

Kuitim Dumi, Director of the Theatre of the Circus of Tirana, applauded the joint initiative. “This activity was not only helpful for the promotion of the MDGs by raising the awareness about some very important issues in Albania, but it was an enormous help in promoting us. And considering the 45-year history of the Circus of Tirana shows that the Albanian strong cultural identity is widely applauded, and should be encouraged even further,” he said.