Peace At War: Afghanistan's Circus Children

Photographs and Text by Zalmai

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Afghanistan’s Mobile Mini Circus for Children (AMMCC), based in Kabul, is dazzling more than a thousand children every week. In their sparkling red bus, the AMMCC troop of children artists are touring the Afghan capital and other main cities of the country to give fun performances in schools with the aim to educate on health and security issues, like how to avoid mines or raise awareness on disabilities caused by war.

The Mobile Mini Circus for Children, an inter- national non-profit NGO, came to Afghani- stan in 2002, in the aftermath of 9/11 and the start of the war on terror. Their goal back then was as simple as it is today: to make children laugh in a country of war. Today, a local NGO is in charge of MMCC Afghanistan, evolving it into a “pure Afghan project” as they call it.

Approximately 120 children-artists, aged be- tween 6 and 18, are passing the doors of the culture centre of the AMMCC on a daily basis to develop their talents in theatre, acrobatics, juggling, comedy and other circus arts. This work is a glimpse in the lives of these young performers who find an escape in the circus from the harsh everyday reality of Afghanistan.