Catharsis at the circus

Posted on April 30, 2011


Women as we all know are the queens of multi-tasking so it follows suit that we multi-task whilst we run … for me, I use runs for catch-ups with girlfriends, debriefs over boyfriends, brain-storming, planning study assignments, listening to self-development audio-books or cheesy tunes and … if that ain’t enough … listening to Dubai Eye interviews and in doing so, learning new things about inspiring organisations in innovative sectors.

Yesterday morning was no different. I listened to James Piecowye chat with Tim Forster about the Esther Benjamins Trust, the plight of human trafficking and the truly incredible initiative knows as Sapana: Company of Dreams. You MUST check it out.

In a nut shell,

  • The trust provides full-time care to dozens of kids who have been rescued from Indian circuses. The kids were trafficked to the circuses when little and were subject to routine physical, mental and emotional abuse.
  • The trust have put together a rehabilitative training programme consisting of hugely talented young people who have been rescued from these circuses.
  • Sapana: Company of Dreams (Sapana means dreams or aspirations in Nepali) was born when some of the former circus girls expressed a desire to develop the skills they were once forced to learn into something for their own enjoyment. It seemed that with the correct support and training, they would have great potential to forge careers as professional performers.
  • In some ways, it sounds like the cruellest set-up imaginable – to return teenagers to the source of so much pain and suffering; and indeed, the whole initiative has been approached with huge caution. But these kids can now look forward to a career which not only gives then an income but catharsis and a chance to rebuild their self-esteem.
  • Their first performance took place in Kathmandu in February and closed with huge standing ovations. This October, they will perform in Dubai at the British Embassy in front of 700 guests.

I listened to this interview with intrigue and fascination. And inspiration for those who have made this possible.

It is one thing rescuing such children. Another to rehabilitate. But to work out how to find good from their plight? To turn it on its head and literally find that silver lining in the darkest of clouds?

Well that’s another story. That’s what dreams and aspirations are made of.

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