Last year I was fortunate to learn about and attend the 7th Annual Community Circus of the Red Nose Foundation, or Yayasan Hidung Merah, which is a fantastic non-profit arts and education outreach organisation based in Jakarta. All the students of the foundation reside in the slum areas of Cilincing, North Jakarta, or Jurangmangu Timur, South Tangerang.
The foundation aims to raise the children’s confidence to follow their dreams and feel that anything is possible, by not only conducting free circus classes for them, but also assisting them with maths, science, reading and English studies.
As I have had an article published about the event in Indonesia Expat Magazine (indonesiaexpat.biz/issue 131), I thought I would share an interview with Isabella here, a volunteer from Italy, temporarily training and teaching with the circus.
1. How old are you and where in Italy do you come from?
I am 19 years old. I come from a small city near Venice called Padova.
2. Are you studying to perform/teach in Italy?
I actually now live in the United States. I perform and teach at a circus gym called MSA, which is where I also train. This past year I started training in more of the circus activities that are not main focus of training, which is acro (acrobatics). Now I am training in juggling, silks, and trapeze, as well as acro.
3. How did you first hear about the Hidung Merah group? What motivated you to travel to Jakarta to teach and perform with them?
I first heard about the Hidung Merah group when Whawhan was in Chicago last year for a month. He was training at my gym and with all the time we spent together either inside or outside of the gym, I got to know more about him and Hidung Merah. I saw short videos of Cilincing, one of the villages Hidung Merah, as well as some videos of Hidung Merah at its beginning. I travelled to Jakarta in November 2013, as a birthday gift, to visit Whawhan. While in Jakarta back in 2013, I spent a day in Cilincing and seeing the kids practicing and trying to communicate with me made me want to come back to help them. With this said, seeing the kids at work is what really motivated me to travel to Jakarta to teach and perform with them. They are a very talented group of kids that does not complain about messing up when they do. They keep working in order to make great acts for any shows they may have through out the year. Being involved with this way of working for even just a day is what really showed me that I, coming from a part of the world where there is a lot of complaining, should give back to a part of the world that is a bit different from where I live.
4. Why do you think it is so important to have this foundation in Indonesia?
I think it is so important to have this foundation in Indonesia because it helps the kids who are part of this organization to learn new activities. Not only does it help the kids learn new activities but it also helps them with school subjects like science, math, reading, and English. During classes they are involved in circus activities as well as science projects, and shows. At the same time, they have the opportunity to work on their English when there is a volunteer. At the same time, they have the chance to work with volunteers who come from other countries. When they perform, they inspire their communities, which is something that cannot be done if a foundation like this would not be around. It is always nice to see the smiles on everybody’s faces.
5. What is the most important lesson you have learnt by being a member of the group?
The most important lesson I have learned is to never give up because it is ok to mess up. You never get really good at something on the first try. I used to give up really easily but after spending 6 weeks here, I started being motivated to just keep practicing because that is what makes you get to being really good. This was an important lesson for me because I was used to giving up all the time without thinking about it. Now, I always think before giving up or complaining. I am thankful about this new lesson I have learned because it has turned me into a better person.
Keep your eyes out for events involving this foundation as they are great to watch, and better still, if you would like to donate towards the future of these children, you can find further information at http://rednosefoundation.org/