JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The St. James leg of the visiting group’s tour initially targeted 300 children from inner city schools and communities in the city.
  • Two afternoon master classes, aimed at exposing psychologists and social workers from the Child Development Agency (CDA), on how the clowns’ presentations can provide alternative grief and trauma interventions, were also conducted.
  • The programme was geared towards the social and emotional uplifting of the children, some of whom were from violence-prone communities and had suffered trauma and/or grief; and also formed part of the College’s community outreach programme.

Nearly five hundred students from early childhood institutions and primary schools in St James were thrilled by the performances of members of the internationally-acclaimed Spanish humanitarian organization, ‘Clowns without Borders’ (‘Payasos sin Fronteras’), at Sam Sharpe Teachers College, Granville, St James, on Friday, September 12.

Senior Education Officer at the Ministry of Education’s Region 4 office in Montego Bay, Jennifer Francis, told JIS News that the St. James leg of the visiting group’s tour initially targeted 300 children from inner city schools and communities in the city.

However, she said the Ministry decided to extend invitations to schools in rural St. James to attend the two performances delivered by members, Cristina Julia and Jordi Sabán.

“In the first session we had about 20 schools and approximately 225 children (and) in the second session (there were) approximately 208 children. So all together, (there were) about 433 students (from government schools). We (also) saw (students from) an independent school (who) turned up…so altogether (there were) about 450 children here,” Mrs. Francis said.

The programme, she said, was geared towards the social and emotional uplifting of the children, some of whom were from violence-prone communities and had suffered trauma and/or grief.

Two afternoon master classes, aimed at exposing psychologists and social workers from the Child Development Agency (CDA), on how the clowns’ presentations can provide alternative grief and trauma interventions, were also conducted.

Also participating were practising guidance counsellors from the Ministry and students from the College.

Spanish lecturer at Sam Sharpe Teachers College and Spanish-Jamaican Foundation (SJF), programme co-ordinator, Malbis Aranda-Morris, said the presentations and workshops succeeded in bringing together different practitioners and methodologies, and was part of the SJF’s response to the effects of trauma experienced by children who have been exposed to violence.

Additionally, the programme formed part of the College’s community outreach programme, she stated.

On Thursday, September 11, the two-member team performed for patients at the Cornwall Regional Hospital’s (CRH) paediatric ward.

The clowns are scheduled to return to Spain, on Sunday (September 14).

Clowns without Borders, which is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, has branches in eight other countries, including: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, the United States, Sweden, and South Africa.