Emergency Smile returns to Lesvos – September/October 2023

20.February 2024

With a focus on establishing both a long-term presence and impact on Lesvos, our Emergency Smile team returned to the island once again in September 2023.

Following learnings from previous Emergency Smile missions, a team made up of three clown artists and a head of mission worked together with various partners on Lesvos, conducting the numerous formats of Emergency Smile to provide further psychosocial support to people experiencing forced migration.

Returning to Lesvos

Due to the team’s consistent presence on Lesvos, they have been able to establish solid relationships with a number of partners on the ground. 

During this mission, the team was able to work with a diverse range of audiences through the support of our partners. 

The team performed clown shows and conducted workshops with women and children, unaccompanied minors, and aid workers from certain organisations. 

The consistent presence of Emergency Smile teams on Lesvos becomes more and more significant as we cultivate valuable relationships with partners and audiences alike. Being able to deepen the impact of our mission and share the power of laughter far and wide becomes more and more evident with each mission on Lesvos.


“Nobody can believe this but the way they enjoyed the clowns is amazing. It is their only opportunity to enjoy life for a tiny moment. Most of them just knew that there are clowns. I cried so much there, I felt how vulnerable they are but at the same time I was enjoying how great the work is. They told me that they are sad we are leaving. It would be great to be able to be there in a permanent way.” Marah – Head of mission

The team on mission held a variety of activities. The statistics are as follows:

  • Circus Smile workshops: 12
  • Community building activities: 11
  • Clown shows: 9
  • Humour Relief workshops: 3

The power of music was particularly apparent across almost all activities. The audiences the team encountered took joy in dancing together, listening to the clowns play their instruments, and singing songs from their home countries. Music was a powerful tool to form connections and spread joy among various audiences. 

Measuring impact

“We met so many guys and some start to sing songs from their home country and for us it was such an intensive moment. I started to know them more. it was not the same as when we just meet as clowns and I started to get to know them better through music.” - Aleŝ – Clown artist

Each mission that takes place on Lesvos is different and the people that the team encounter are diverse. 

This time around, many emotional encounters took place and the circumstances were often challenging but nevertheless, plenty of meaningful moments were created. 

Through the power of music and laughter, the team were able to connect with those around them, further cementing the impact of Emergency Smile on the island of Lesvos.