WHO IS JOHNNY GIRGES?
“We sometimes perform to the sounds of bombs and machine guns on the street. We have to go on till the end.“
Johnny Girges works with with arcenciel, an organization dedicated to social inclusion through their programing with youth, health, mobility, agriculture and more. Johnny is a true Aidpreneur, combining his skills as a physical educator, circus artist, and NGO manager to “edutain” and empower at risk youth in Lebanon and beyond with critical circus performance skills that can be used under the tent and throughout their lives.
You can connect with Johnny here:
IN TOR 060 YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT:
- The value of the circus, as a tool and as an experience, for children and communities, in the Middle East and beyond.
- Why Johnny thinks the circus is a very valuable career path in Lebanon, not despite but because of the conflict.
- Cirquenciel and umbrella organization Arcenciel, and their prominent roles in social issues, especially their work with people with disabilities.
- Johnny’s career development work with youth of the Middle East.
OUR CONVERSATION INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
- European Union
- Recreation and entertainment in the development sector
- Circus and circus skills, perfoming and stage production
- People with disabilities
- Conflict zones
- Social enterprises
- Beirut, Lebanon
- New York
EPISODE CRIB NOTES
Johnny moves around
Sustainable development: economics, social environment.
Johnny works with youth. Cirquenciel means ‘circus in the sky’. Education and entertainment, into social work.
People would get circus skills, which include teamwork, discipline, expression and interaction. “We focus on personality building in a creativity environment.“
Circus is an exceptional tool in the Middle East.
Founded in 1984
’85 Johnny joins. It is the only organization in Lebanon working on people with disabilities, from care to job enrollment. Government contracts gives them stability and recognition for their other programs.
Johnny worked on a circus entrepreneurship before joining. Lots of similar interests with Arcanciel, he could take his skills to the next step in terms of reach and impact.
Kids build their lives in there.
A typical project
Beirut center, but they move around the country, community centers.
They work in crisis response, education, recreation, enrollment.
Help international NGOs in their impact work.
Interacting with the Middle East youth
Diversity. Education issues. Children are as curious and creative.
Many kids have decided that the circus will be their lifelong career.
Attention spans, commitment in children.
How to keep them fulfilling personal goals. Many issues surround them: access, shelter, income and work time.
“There are clowns in Lebanon, very little artists.“
Make the logistical challenges as simple as possible, it limits the shows. Security is always an issue.
Performers are resilient and flexible, they could do their acts in several circumstances, or change their act depending on the place.
European Union provided for 2 years.
Constituted social enterprise. They receive income from circus shows.
Local funds and a network of funding partners in the country and abroad.
Arcanciel is large, Cirquenciel is small and young.
Circus is a way to connect to the other Arcanciel programs, such as disability, agriculture, etc.
Shows have had to be shut down.
Bombing, city evacuation in the middle of the show.
It is a powerful message to keep going next to relatively high risks of personal harm.
“Education, education, education.“
Become certified nationally, recognized internationally.
“We want to have a big tent.“
“Our goal is for people to have fun.“
Metric systems and evaluation processes are basic, we do follow-ups monthly.
Circus is a lifelong career. Children learn to become circus performers. People with special situations such as disabilities can still work in training, production and backstage, creation.
“Whenever you see that a given road is a dead end, it means you need to make an extra detour effort. The road will open anyway.“
“Care about your personal and physical well being. If your being is well, all else is possible.“
Please share, participate and leave feedback below!
If you have any feedback you’d like to share for me or Johnny, please leave your thoughts in the comment section below! I read all of them and will definitely take part in the conversation.
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