MMCC - A Mobile Circus for Children in Afghanistan

An unconventional application for the backing and support of an unconventional project

Following 23 years of war and misery in Afghanistan, support is hereby sought for the project “Mobile Mini Circus for Children. The project is in brief, a life promoting mobile circus whose target group is Afghan children. In addition to spreading laughs and smiles, the project incorporates a string of elements that together aim to:

· Create and cultivate an Afghan circus as well as establish a culture of travelling entertainers
· Create and provide a breeding ground for local artists and integrate them into Afghan society
· Through the project’s activities educate in issues such as landmine awareness
· Introduce a learning process whereby children themselves become active participants
· Generate work placements for emerging artists, with in-training being an important element

Following a year of preliminary work, an international NGO with board members from both Denmark and Afghanistan was established in March 2003. The administrative base is in Copenhagen.

Professionally David Mason is principally an instigator and generator of projects. He made himself popular in Denmark, as well as in other countries, with his dance workshops – and with a body-therapist, he carried out workshops for blind children. David is well practised in computer design and is skilled in the use of multi-media, which will help mediate and promote the project in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The plan is for the mobile circus to reach all provinces in Afghanistan. As this depends on a basic budget for among other props; a bus - the project’s activities are provisionally bound to Kabul. In the capital, the project carried out a successful show in connection with a larger event, which was attended by the Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Last summer David Mason held an open audition for which nearly two hundred Afghans turned up. A selected number of these now form the ‘Takamol’ theatre group. In collaboration with the theatre group and local NGOs, David is organising shows and activities for a number of Kabul’s orphanages and related institutions.

The Project’s Finances

As was mentioned by way of introduction this is an unconventional application, which is owed to the fact that it is an unconventional project, which does not yet have a definitive budget. David Mason has provisionally set aside three years for this project in which time it is hoped that the project will become nationally operational. Preliminary work has started without the security of financial backing. David has funded the work out of his own pocket.

For the mobile circus to evolve to its full potential, a substantial injection of funds is needed. The long-term goal is therefore to find several large international donors that can secure a rooting of this project and its growth and sustenance.

But granted … this takes time. Nonetheless, a little money goes a long way in Afghanistan. Primarily however in order for the project to achieve its goal of spreading across the country and to really take off, it needs to acquire a bus. As well as securing the projects mobility, it will serve as the frame, stage and platform for the project’s activities.

A bus of the kind in question can be bought and converted for 200,000 Danish kroner ($30.000), in either Denmark or Afghanistan.

It is hoped that this application, sent to a number of individuals, unions and foundations will be read favourably resulting in a string of large and smaller contributions, that together will take the project to its above described goal.
Donors will be secured a mention on the project’s homepage that will inform regularly of the project’s developments.

During the spring and summer of 2003 exchanges of artists from Denmark and other countries are planned and MMCC project leader David Mason will visit the Images of Asia festival in Denmark together with one of the children involved in the project.
The association’s headquarters are located at Settlementet in Vesterbro, Copenhagen. All administration and collection of funds will be taken care of at this address. It is vital to highlight that there are under no circumstance any religious or political agendas attached to this project.

With Kind Regards

Johs. Bertelsen
Chairman of the board

Why we support ‘MMCC’….

Erik Clausen, travelling entertainer, actor, film producer and much more:
“Are you incapable of laughing, then you might as well call it a day.”
“In Afghanistan there is not much to laugh at. Here is a person who is taking on the impossible; to create a little amusement and humour in a god-forsaken and broken country – so yes, we have a reason to try – I will do a lot to help see this project happen.”

Jette Gottlieb, former member of the Danish Parliament and was sent to Kabul for five months with UNHCR where she has worked with repatriated Afghan refugees:
“When you have seen totally destroyed villages and food aid not arriving because donor countries forgot to send what they promised, then you totally feel like helping towards something that Afghans – and especially Afghan children – can laugh at.”

Bjarne Kjelstrup, theologian. Has worked with international development and welfare for many years, spending seven of these in Central America.
Worked in the development aid agency ‘Ibis’ until May this year:
“I support this project because it is important that Afghan children experience that life can offer something other than war and greed. The project will let the imagination and enjoyment flourish, and from imagination and happiness democracy can grow, as can human rights and a love for life.”

Liz True, choreographer, therapist and qualified project leader:
“As a choreographer and project leader I have had the pleasure of working together with David Mason on various social and humanitarian projects, including one for the Danish Association for the Blind. I can therefore give my complete support, warmest recommendations and approval for the ”MMCC”. With his personal background and professional competence as project leader and project generator, David Mason is the one I would trust to carry out and complete such a project, even under difficult conditions.”

Johs. Bertelsen, Principal for the Christian Students - Settlement in Vesterbro:
“Children and young adults are the future and this is also true for Afghanistan. It is therefore vital that we contribute to the establishment of a creative framework in order to support children’s opportunities for development, especially in such a war torn country. We believe that ‘MMCC’ through performance and acting can contribute to children’s self-realisation and provide a positive outlet for their energy.”