The circus is like a rainbow: you look at how beautiful it is without looking down!
Letter to Friends around the World # 98

Created in Romania in 1996 by the Franco-Algerian clown called Miloud O., the Parada Foundation works with children living on the streets. Calling on their many artistic skills, the work of the foundation restores their desire to live and to become part of society.

The Parada Foundation building is full of life, from top to bottom. Young people, children, and their parents from time to time, are there and talk with one another. They are sometimes worn out by drugs or diseases, too often physically or psychologically exploited. Their faces betray a very hard life, but they can be brightened by smiles - however fleeting.

A spark is lit on the ground floor, a space where training in the circus arts and performances are worked on. Since we have practiced circus arts in the streets ourselves, we know that this is a wonderful tool for moving forward together. It is in this space that Marian and Tania work. They already knew the Parada Foundation from when Miloud, its founder, was there. Miloud was involved with boys and girls who were roaming the streets and train stations of the Romanian capital shortly after the change of regime.

Being in the circus gives children and young people an opportunity to reach out to society. It means acting in front of others on a stage or in the street and being ‘visible’ in a society that rejects you. Life on the streets doesn’t teach you about History or Geography. It teaches you how to survive. The circus enhances self-esteem: it takes a lot of courage to face others. It is a tool that provides the strength to fight against poverty.

The circus also offers a chance to overcome one’s shyness, to reclaim one’s own space, and to change people’s vision of children living in the street. Florin was part of the circus troupe. He had no ID card, and the police were looking for him. One day a policeman recognized him in a march through the Bucharest city center. He went to the Parada building where he told him how to get an ID card. This changed Florin’s life. Later on, he was able to participate in the Homeless World Cup in Mexico.

To fly with their own wings and to pursue their own path...This is what is happening to these dozens of young people taking part in Parada!