Antonin Maurel created Clowns Sans Frontières in France in January 1994, after having met the Catalan clown Tortell Poltrona, founder of Payasos sin Fronteras in Spain in 1993.After a first Franco-Spanish expedition in Croatia, the French association was founded with the help of other artists.
Clowns Sans Frontières is a humanitarian and artistic organization that has been active for nearly 20 years in different countries, helping populations affected by war, poverty, and exclusion. It brings together professional artists who volunteer to provide live entertainment in refugee camps, centers for street children, prisons, orphanages etc.
Clowns Sans Frontières is an NGO with multiple facets:
- Artistic: CSF develops programs based on the performing arts through performances, workshops, and work with local artists;
- Humanitarian: CSF works in countries in conflict or crisis;
- Development: CSF builds networks of local artists and pools the efforts of local NGOs;
Clowns Sans Frontières has been active for nearly 20 years in different countries, helping populations affected by war, poverty, and exclusion.
The association has carried out projects in Croatia, Palestine, Bosnia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Romania, Lebanon, Albania, India, Madagascar, Algeria, Russia, Mongolia, Jordan, Moldova, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Rwanda, the Philippines, Burma, Thailand, Uruguay, Morocco, Sudan, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, South Africa, France (Nord-Pas-de-Calais), Sri Lanka, Central African Republic etc.
Each year, an average of 60 artists (clowns, actors, musicians, circus performers, dancers, puppeteers etc.) volunteer for missions. For each mission, a unique and original show is created. The shows vary widely depending on the project and the artists involved.
- France, Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Since the Sangatte center closed in 2002, migrants have come together in Calais as well as a dozen other sites in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. All are living in camps and squats in alarming sanitary conditions. In September 2011, the local branch of Médecins du Monde Nord-Pas-de-Calais contacted Clowns Sans Frontières to see if the association could work with the migrants. Noting that the living conditions of people waiting to go to England were comparable to those of refugees around the world, Clowns Sans Frontières agreed to meet up with these people in transit.
In December 2013, Clowns Sans Frontières created a series of artistic interventions in the jungles around Dunkirk and Calais.
- Chad, N’Djamena / Gore / Sarh
Starting in December 2014, Clowns Sans Frontières will begin a program in Chad to improve the psychological care of children affected by conflicts in the Central African Republic. Since December 2013, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has recorded nearly 100,000 new Central African refugees in Chad, mainly grouped near the southern towns of Gore, Sahr, and N’Djamena.