Wednesday 17 October 2018

Acrobats from Rwanda coming to Malta

Circus4Life: Unifying Youth through acrobatics

Five members of the Rwandan Future Vision Acrobat (FVA) troupe are coming to Malta and Gozo to share their talent and life stories through a series of workshops and performances. 

FVA was founded by Elisée Niyonsenga, a survivor of the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, who found solace in acrobatics when he saw a Cirque de Soleil performance on TV in a restaurant he had stopped by for some donated food. At the time, Elisée was just 8 years old and had been living on the streets since he lost his mother in the genocide and was struggling to survive while also looking after his younger brother. 

Elisée says discovering acrobatics “was like a new door to me to get out of a life with no smile. I started to go to the beach trying to copy what I saw on the TV. It was the only way I could find my happiness and feel open and relaxed. I was escaping my pain and to forget what happened.” 

By hearing Elisée’s life story, youth attending the Circus4Life workshops will not only learn lots of amazing circus and acrobatic skills and make new friendships, but will also experience how circus and acrobatics bring hope, happiness and unity as well as learn how to respect others regardless of their race, religion or nationality. 

This initiative is being organized by rise, Relationships Inspiring Social Enterprise, a non-profit social enterprise, Aġenzija Żgħażagħ and the Diocese of Gozo.

“The timing of the trip seems very appropriate given that Malta is going through some challenging times with the ever-changing population flow of people from all over the world living on the island”, says Daniela Gusman, Founder or rise. “I have known Elisée and his team since 2013 when I was working in East Africa and I am very excited that FVA are finally coming to Malta to share their experiences and talent with us here.”

“When we consider that our life is a spiritual acrobatic performance because we are all the time struggling to maintain our balance while daring to move on, we welcome the team from Future Vision Acrobat from Rwanda.” Gozo Bishop Mario Grech says, “I am pretty sure that because of their troubled political and social background these people are experienced life ‘acrobats’. Thus I consider their visit as an opportunity for human and cultural growth, a meeting of dialogue among cultures and an occasion to witness to the Gospel of charity.  A dialogue that takes into account people’s actual experience, suffering and aspirations is really a privileged opportunity. I am grateful to RISE that made this dialogue possible.”

“The acrobatic social circus has obvious effects on the wellbeing of young people.” Miriam Teuma CEO of Aġenzija Żgħażagħ states, “The attention is focused on controlling the body and the equipment, on balance and movement. Focused practice lets young people experience success. The atmosphere is encouraging and failure is accepted because everyone makes mistakes at some point, and only by trying again it is possible to learn new things. The workshops promote team spirit, and positive experiences increase the young peoples’ confidence. The activity itself lifts the spirits and creates a sense of calm. Young people also learn to trust themselves and to understand differences.”

Youth participating in the 5-day workshop will culminate in a high energy and emotive performance on 21 September called Changing the Story, where the youth will get to show off what they have learnt and perform with the internationally acclaimed Future Vision Acrobat trainers.
Performances will take place on 21 September at 19:30 at De Porres Hall in Sliema and on 23 September at 19:45 in St George Square, Rabat, Gozo.
For more information go to: https://valletta2018.org/events/rwandan-future-vision-acrobats/

We would like to thank the following organisations for their support: Local Councils and Authorities, Spark 15, Printcare Press and Board of Directors of EURHED.

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