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How a Troupe of Clowns is Educating Kids About Landmine Safety

Clowns Without Borders uses humor to teach Lebanese kids about the dangers of landmines.

Photo via Clowns Without Borders' website.

The 2006 Lebanese-Israeli war, as well as the 15 years of civil war that preceded it, perforated South Lebanon with an estimated four million cluster submunitions. The region is rife with landmines and unexploded ordnance, which frequently claim the lives or limbs of unsuspecting people. Clowns Without Borders, a non-profit organization that provides humor as therapy to children in conflict zones, partnered with MAG International and the Lebanese Mine Action Center to spread awareness about unexploded ordnance through clown performances. Throughout December, a Clowns Without Borders troupe toured Lebanese schools and villages and educated kids about mine safety.

According to MAG International, about one in five people in Lebanon is affected by the presence of landmines and cluster munitions. Between 1975 and 2012, landmines were responsible for the deaths of 903 people and more than 2,700 injuries. Efforts to remove the landmines are underway, but mine stafety education is still an important and vital undertaking. It involves training local residents in behavior and safety precautions that could reduce the risk of setting off unexploded ordnance or stepping into a mine. These clowns, who hail from different parts of the world, are acting out scenarios that help children understand the dangers of landmines in a way they could understand—humor.

"It's very important to give kids a chance to be kids again," clown Lilja Fredriksson, told NPR. "Especially after all they have been through."

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