World Refugee Day – Hope is stronger than fear

19.June 2023

The 20th of June marks World Refugee Day, a day to honour the strength, resilience, and bravery of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution.

This vulnerable group of people often receive immediate aid to survive, such as food and shelter, but sadly, their mental health and well-being are frequently overlooked.  That’s where we come in.

At RED NOSES, we founded our Emergency Smile (ES) programme to address the needs of people facing crisis situations. This includes people who have been forced to flee their homes and deal with challenging circumstances such as food shortages, insecurity, and fear.

The United Nations declares that mental health is a human right for everyone. Sadly, refugees are particularly vulnerable to experiencing anxiety, stress, and depression. For example, a recent study showed that over 73% of people surveyed in a refugee camp in Samos screened positive for anxiety disorder – in some sites, it was as high as 100%. Our ES programme focuses on working together with this vulnerable group to create moments of joy through the art of clowning.

Our ES clowns undergo extensive training so that they are better equipped to support people dealing with high levels of adversity, trauma, or other extremely stressful circumstances.

ES missions feature four different artistic formats, all designed to address various needs. From confidence building through Circus Smile workshops to sharing laughter and joy during Musical Parades, our intention is to create an impact that lasts, even after we’ve gone. You can read more about how we spread happiness through Emergency Smile right here.

All of us here at RED NOSES believe in the power of laughter to create hope. Here’s what our CEO, Natalie Porias had to say about our work with refugees:

“Within every refugee lies an indomitable spirit that endures through adversity. Through art and especially the art of clowning we can embrace the power of compassion and understanding, laughter, play and human encounters can heal the scars of displacement. Together, we can build a world where the importance of mental health is recognized for everyone, where hope transcends despair, and where every refugee finds solace and resilience within themselves- in laughter there is hope.”

It's our honour to work together with this brave group of people and spread smiles and hope through the art of clowning.