Iraqi, Syrian migrant children receive circus training in Turkey’s southeast
Migrant children from Syria and Iraq have been receiving training at a “circus school” in southeastern Mardin province operated by volunteers, who are working to help the children improve themselves and find a sense of normalcy during a difficult time.
The Anadolu Agency has reported how drama, theater, juggling, acrobatics and clown classes are being offered to the migrant children at the “Mesopotamia Social Circus School” organized by the Arts Everywhere Association.
Pınar Demiral, a board member of the association and the school’s supervisor, said they had put more weight on the Social Circus School after migrants had started to come to Turkey.
Stating they used the social circus as a means to reach the migrant children, Demiral said they were giving the children a tool to help ease their past traumas. “They are mentally and physically strengthening by practicing with that tool [circus training],” said Demiral.
She said a total of 250 children were being trained at the school and volunteers from Turkey and foreign countries, like Poland, France, Germany, Iraq and Syria, were teaching the classes.
“We also give trainings on how to be a circus trainer in cities like Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep and Hatay. Children in refugee camps in particular do not have any activities to do. They do not know what awaits them in the future. With these courses, they come together and improve themselves,” said Demiral.
“They perform before other people. This way, they improve their self-confidence,” she added. Aleksandra Miciak, a trainer at the school from Poland, said she began volunteering to teach circus acts in Turkey three years ago and was happy that she was in Mardin.
“I am happy when they [the children] are training. The most important thing I have learned from them is their eagerness to learn,” said Miciak. She added she was sad negative news about migrants was being published across the globe and said she appreciated the many people in Turkey who had made an effort to help the migrants.
An acrobatics trainer from the Netherlands, Daniel Maric, said he had come to Mardin only three weeks ago, adding how important this training was for the migrant children. “The children here have fled the war in their countries.
This is not a normal situation for children and they have a deep need to be normal. The kids are strengthened when they receive training here,” Maric said. Ahmet Haydar, a Syrian boy who fled his country two years ago, said he was happy to attend the trainings, as he forgot his sorrow.
“We receive training on dance, music and acrobatics. I hope the war in my country will come to an end; we can return and teach our friends what we have learned,” said Haydar. Misfir Hermez, a Yazidi from Iraq, said they were receiving the training with great joy.