Clowns Without Borders International began in Spain in 1993 when Tortell Poltrona, a clown from Spain was asked by the children at a school in Barcelona to go to the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia to perform for refugee children.
The children in Barcelona raised the funds to send Tortell to Croatia after refugees in the Istrian Peninsula wrote them: “You know what we miss most? We miss laughter, to have fun, to enjoy ourselves.”
On that first project Tortell performed for 4.000 Children in Croatian refugee camps. It was the beginning of “Payasos Sin Fronteras” (Clowns Without Borders Spain).
Now, 20 years later, the Clowns Without Borders International Federation is made up of 15 Clowns Without Borders national chapter organizations.
Professional circus and street performers, clowns, actors, magicians and musicians offer their skills on a voluntary basis to bring laughter, dreams and poetry to communities in areas of crisis around the world.
All CWB chapters share the same objective: to improve the emotional wellbeing of communities, especially children, in areas of crisis through performances and other artistic interventions.
All of these chapter organizations are independent non-profits. CWB chapters are based in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America.
CWBI coordinates chapter projects around the world and organizes international collaborations and partnerships. CWBI also works to ensure a strong level of artistic quality and professionalism.