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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ethiopian circus does more than entertain; it's a vehicle for social change


Birhanu Taddese performs during a local show at the Fekat Circus compound on May 26, 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Before Taddese came to the circus, he was shy and nervous because of his dwarfism. "Circus for me is entertaining the brain, it doesn’t stress me. I am relaxed and I get along with people," Taddese said in Amharic, Ethiopia's official language.
MORGAN SPIEHS/Lincoln Journal Star

from:  journalstar.com
By MORGAN SPIEHS / Lincoln Journal Star
August 18, 2013
Birhanu Taddese spent his childhood as a runaway and became a thief surviving in the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“Previously, I used to live with my dad and we didn’t get along very well. He used to hit me a lot,” Taddese said.
After Taddese ran away from his broken home he lived in the streets, with a nongovernmental organization and in a juvenile detention center, all before age 13.
Taddese’s self-confidence was minimal. Standing about 4 feet 2 inches tall, he lives with dwarfism and babbled more than he spoke.
The Fekat Circus took him in when he was 19. He's been at the circus for two years now, after jumping around between homes all his life.
 
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MORGAN SPIEHS/Lincoln Journal Star
Members of the Fekat Circus practice multiple activities on May 20, 2013 at the Fekat Circus compound in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. About 12 men live at the circus.

The Fekat Circus, in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, is a vehicle for social change, according to its members. Most of the performers were street children or orphaned before finding the circus. The circus trains neighborhood children and visits the nearby hospital to entertain patients in the pediatric ward. It’s former street kids helping current street kids.
Taddese was welcomed by the circus and is now a different person, according to Dereje Dange, the Fekat Circus leader who's twice turned down offers to work for Cirque du Soleil. Taddese used to get upset easily and gave up quickly, Dange said.
“When I first came here I did not talk. I would just sit quietly,” Taddese said. “Dereje is the one who came up to me and told me I need to get up and work. That is when I realized what he is saying is for my own sake.”
Fekat means blossoming in Amharic, Ethiopia’s official language.
read more:
http://journalstar.com/lifestyles/misc/ethiopian-circus-does-more-than-entertain-it-s-a-vehicle/article_567aa373-dddc-5feb-95a2-a2e80f05f873.html

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