Ethiopia: The circus comes to town with a Red Cross message
13-08-1997 News Release 97/31
For two days at the end of July, about 18,000 inhabitants of the eastern Ethiopian city of Harar gathered at the main stadium, a football field and a downtown square near the historic mosque to enjoy performances of Circus Dire Dawa, one of five groups making up the " Circus in Ethiopia " movement. A youth circus group of the Harar branch of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) was also taking part.
The circus programmes offer a unique combination of performances featuring traditional music and dance and humanitarian messages devised by the ERCS and the ICRC. For this particular occasion, Circus Dire Dawa had prepared, in cooperation with the ICRC and the National Society, a short play on the evacuation of the wounded in a conflict situation and assistance to displaced civilians, and a sketch illustrating the dangers of dependence on outside aid and the struggle for self-reliance. The latter is a major issue not only for the Red Cross network but also for the " Circus in Ethiopia " project, which expresses the aspirations of a young generation emerging from years of war and disaster.
Relations between the growing circus movement and the ERCS at branch and national levels will be further strengthened by a cooperation agreement on joint initiatives to promote humanitarian values and principles. While actively supporting this cooperation, the ICRC is also continuing to work with the different circus groups in organizing events relating to its own specific fields of activity.