Accessibility links

Circus School Brings Hope To Afghan Children

A Kabul circus school is helping hundreds of Afghan children overcome trauma caused by years of war and poverty. By teaching skills like juggling and acrobatics, the Mobile Mini Circus For Children builds self-confidence and teaches teamwork in the deeply divided country. Many of the 300 students are internal refugees or orphans, and the school has been so popular it now runs centers in seven Afghan provinces.


A young girl, Khakigah, enjoys a juggling lesson.
1

A young girl, Khakigah, enjoys a juggling lesson.

Brightly painted shipping containers have been converted into performance areas where children can practice acrobatics.
2

Brightly painted shipping containers have been converted into performance areas where children can practice acrobatics.

About 50 of the circus school's 200 students in Kabul are girls. Nadia (left) and Basgulah practice juggling.
3

About 50 of the circus school's 200 students in Kabul are girls. Nadia (left) and Basgulah practice juggling.

The Mobile Mini Circus For Children was established by Danish dance instructor David Mason in 2002. It is mostly funded through foreign donations.
4

The Mobile Mini Circus For Children was established by Danish dance instructor David Mason in 2002. It is mostly funded through foreign donations.

Salma juggles balls.
5

Salma juggles balls.

A child practices balancing on a ball. Students are taught acrobatics, tight rope, and juggling.
6

A child practices balancing on a ball. Students are taught acrobatics, tight rope, and juggling.

Girls choose brightly colored dresses for their performances. Children can attend the school for free, and they receive food and clothing.
7

Girls choose brightly colored dresses for their performances. Children can attend the school for free, and they receive food and clothing.

The students are also given formal education. In addition to learning circus skills, they are taught how to read and write in local languages and in English.
8

The students are also given formal education. In addition to learning circus skills, they are taught how to read and write in local languages and in English.

The circus has a playground where children stay after classes.
9

The circus has a playground where children stay after classes.

Local manager Khalilullah Hamid poses with Rubina and Samina. He was one of the country’s first circus directors.
10

Local manager Khalilullah Hamid poses with Rubina and Samina. He was one of the country’s first circus directors.

The school has taught and performed for more than 3 million children across Afghanistan's 25 provinces.
11

The school has taught and performed for more than 3 million children across Afghanistan's 25 provinces.

XS
SM
MD
LG