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Circus Kathmandu in Europe

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Circus Kathmandu has stayed almost one month in Norway, and left for England today. And it is not just any circus, the performers are all Nepali children who were trafficked or they were rescued from the streets.

The Circus was set up four years ago by the British charity, Freedom Matters, after it rescued the children from circuses in India where they had been sold by human traffickers. Circus Kathmandu put their acrobatic as well as their many other skills to good use with structured training in a safe environment.

First performance at the festival.

First performance at the festival. Photo: Marit Bakke

Earlier this year, Circus Kathmandu performed a fundraiser in Dubai prior to the troupes current tour of Norway. The 10 circus performers are between 18-25 years old now and have been putting up shows for Norwegian school children and conducting workshops.

Circus Kathmandu had its first show in Pokhara in May last year, and the performers conducted workshops among street children and in factories.

After initial funding from Freedom Matters, Circus Kathmandu is now earning its own keep.

It was a great disappointment when last year they were refused visas to perform at the Glastonbury Festival in England, but they finally made it there after staging events at the Kalvøya Circus Festival, Norway. Their five ”Swagatam” performances 20-22 June were greeted with huge applause from the audience as the Nepali performers showcased somersaults, acrobatics with rings, and re-enactments of their difficult childhood days.

Ali Williams is founder and creative director of NoFitState Circus, a 28-year-old company with an international reputation for creating innovative contemporary circus. She did a 14 month sabbatical in 2012-13 in Kathmandu working with Circus Kathmandu. Understanding the group’s potential , Ali brought in volunteer trainers, including Felipe Salas from Colombia.

Photos: Marit Bakke

Felipe knew exactly what was at stake, having himself lived on the streets from the age of three before joining Circocolombia. He now works with homeless children to help them become circus artists.

“Felipe told us to work hard, he pushed us,” says Rajan, one of the performers.

Ali is full of praise for the determination and talent of Circus Kathmandu members, some of whom were trafficked into Indian circuses and rescued, rehabilitated and educated. In Norway, Circus Kathmandu has been hosted by the Xanti Circus.

Marit Bakke in OSLO

Read also:

Nepal’s circus champs Rubeena Mahato

Juggling with young lives Pranaya SJB Rana

A faraway rescue Rubeena Mahato


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