Eid Festival for Laborers

Labor of Love – A play by play

After months of planning, the time had alas come to shake hands with our neighbors and say “Eid Mubarak!” This year we decided that on the first day of Eid we’d celebrate by heading to the Regency Labor Camp in Al Quoz, Dubai to give them a festival to remember!

Our team arrived early that day to start setting up the stage, lights, truss and chairs followed by sound checks and rehearsals for the performers. Despite the fact it’s summer in Dubai, and the event was outdoors, the volunteers plugged away in the heat without skipping a beat!

Once the technical rehearsals were over it was time to load-in the food and beverages. Tables were set up as the volunteers carried in boxes to bring to each station for distribution.

A buzz started to build as Bollywood music played from our speakers and the smell of karak chai and spices spread. Our emcee for the day, Rohit Jayakaran, made an announcement telling the men it was time for the festivities to begin and they started to line up.

Each man went from station to station. The first had fresh juices provided by Barakat – Fresh & Easy. The second stop was samosas and pakoras provided by Dubomedy. The third was yummy sticky rice from Tuwar al Madina Traditional Kitchen ending with karak chai provided by Cha Cha Chai.

After everyone was served and had a chance to eat, we started the show!

The program consisted of a Magic Show by Magicians in Black, a Beatbox set by Richie Lozada Hiranandani, Break Dance by CL Frostyle Trasmaño and crew, Music by Anupam Nair and band, contests and prizes all held together by the funny Rohit Jayakaran.

Everyone’s bellies were filled with great food, laughter and cheer! Being able to give back to these hard working men was a wonderful way to spend Eid!

Special thanks to Etihad Airways for providing two air tickets for two lucky winners to go home and visit! Many thanks to Alcatel Mobile for giving us two smart phones to use as competition giveaways. In addition, gratitude goes to Event Serve for providing 300+ chairs, Al Laith Scaffolding for much needed truss lifts, Stambroz for video, Gavin Allana for photography and all the volunteers for their time and passion! Without all of you this event wouldn’t have been such a success!

If you would like to get involved in further events please join our Volunteers Group. Stay tuned for more photos and footage on our Clowns Who Care main-page.

Eid Mubarak! May the spirit of giving back continue each and every day!

eid fest

 

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SENSES Center – Iftar and Party!

Ramadan Fun
By Mina Liccione

On Wednesday, June 29 we headed back to one of our favorite places in Dubai, SENSES Center for children with special needs.

This time around I wanted to do something a bit different. Rather than having our group perform for the kids, I decided to lead a circus arts workshop so that the kids could try new skills and in turn perform for each other.

I ended the workshop with a special sensory arts therapy session that incorporated a gentle underwater theme. The series of exercises induced laughter, wonderment and sensory exploration.

A special thanks to Els Huybrechts and her group for organizing the crafts and iftar that followed. It was a wonderful event and everyone left happier then when they arrived. Mashallah!

To get more involved with SENSES,  there is a new group “We Care for SENSES” that can always use a hand! Here’s their PAGE.senses eid Photos by Els and Karen

Catch A Smile : Ramadan Acts of Kindness

Catch A Smile is an on-going campaign to perform random acts of kindness or “small gestures with great love” and brighten up the days of others. Public restroom attendants often go unnoticed and have a very difficult job.This Ramadan we would like to acknowledge, and thank, these hard working men and women by creating care-packages and passing them out. Smiles are contagious…let’s make sure they catch one!

How can you volunteer?

1- SIGN-UP! In a comment, on our Event Page, please sign-up for a Mall or Shopping Center in your area and clarify whether you’ll be taking on women’s or men’s rooms in the event we overlap.

2- CREATE! Make care-packages or gift bags. (see ideas below)

3- SURPRISE! Deliver them to the Mall/Shopping Center restrooms anytime between June 17-19.

4- INFORM! Let the group know your mission was accomplished by posting a comment on the Event Page!

5- ENCOURAGE! Try and get your friends and family involved in the project. Having male/female teams is helpful as you can do a lot in one Mall visit.

Note: Please do NOT take photos of the bathroom attendees and post them.

What are some ideas on things to put in the care-package?

Dates, snacks, chocolate, perfume/oils, dried food products, spices, health and beauty products, calling cards, dental care supplies, clothing items, towel, sun glasses, accessories, small stuffed animals. Be creative between mixing practical with fun.

gift bags

The Shocking Truth About Muslims

The Shocking Truth About Muslims
By 
Originally posted on Emirateswoman.com

Donald Trump caused a frenzy when he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. His worrying attitude brought to light the many myths and stereotypes surrounding the Muslim community. So, what’s the real truth?

In an attempt to send out a positive message and to change the way people think about Muslims, comedian, artist and founder of the UAE’s Dubomedy, Mina Liccione, has made a short film in order to bring to light how ridiculous the prejudices are.

“As a Christian-American married to a Muslim I was horrified when Trump made headlines stating that Muslims should be banned from entering the USA,” said Mina when asked why she created the film. “He said a lot of racist and hurtful things and this statement put me over the edge. Rather than getting angry and doing nothing I decided to use my talent and passion for comedy to do something positive.”

“Muslims are scary, Muslims are terrorists, let’s ban all Muslims,” starts the short film before Mina asks 20 non-Muslims, living in a Muslims country about their what they really think.

The interviewees are a diverse group with varying ages, cultures and religions represented. “I wanted people from diverse backgrounds,” said Mina. “I put together a unique group who would bring unique points of view.”

Kind, graceful, hospitable, tolerant and generous were the most common words used to describe Muslims in the film. When it came to terror, the only terrorising they were deemed guilty of was force-feeding. “There’s so much food,” one interviewee said while laughing. “[Yes, I get terorrised with food] by my in-laws every Friday” joked Mina.

While some may question Mina’s technique, she insists making light of the topic will actually help people understand more: “I’m a comedian by nature. I think humour is the perfect tool… It’s makes you laugh and then it makes you think. A lot of truth can be told in jest and since it’s not aggressive more people tend to listen.”

“I read online that in the USA only 38 per cent of all Americans actually knew a Muslim personally,” added Mina. “People associate Muslims with what the media portray. I thought why not show a funny side to these negative stereotypes to help people who might not have any Muslim friends see that they are just like the rest of us… Human, caring, creative…”

Mina is now co-writing a stand-up comedy show with her husband Ali Al Sayed, combining their lives from different worlds in the hope of helping break negative stereotypes in a humorous but honest way.

Watch the video and don’t be fooled by people like Donald Trump.

 

round 7

Food Donation Drive for Laborers in honor of Dwayne

Food for the Soul
By Mina Liccione

A few months ago one of my mentors passed away. His name was Dwayne Calizo. He sang like an angel and had a selfless heart of gold. I first met him the day I applied for my Master’s degree program in San Francisco. I felt a bit uncertain walking into the building that day, questioning if it was the right school for me. Then, he just appeared with a huge grin, a sparkle in his eye and a warm hand shake. I instantly knew that someone very special and important to my journey was standing before me so I followed my improv’ training and said “yes, and!”

Without having him as a teacher, guide and mentor I most likely wouldn’t have gotten through those challenging years. He ended up co-directing my first solo show Della Pancia and helped me walk through my fear of singing… an emotional ballad… alone… while portraying a very dramatic role that also required me to cry on stage for the first time! He got me there.

After graduating I continued to work with him on other projects and our friendship continued to grow. One of the shows he produced was called Sunday’s Best. He would invite a number of Bay Area performers to take the stage and the audience could either pay for a ticket or bring 10 bagged lunches. Following the show the performers and audience would hand out the lunches to homeless men and women and then deliver the money to a charity organization/shelter as an anonymous donation.

dwayne

I remember him asking me if I would host a few of these shows. I trusted and believed in his vision and of course accepted. He gave his whole heart to every performance, every student, every friend and every cause he believed in. A true practitioner of art for a cause.

Upon moving to Dubai I founded the Clowns Who Care Project after having deeply rooted seeds planted from Jeff Raz (SFCC Director), Paoli Lacy (Clown Therapist), Big Apple Circus Hospital Care program, my father’s passion for charity that he instilled in his children and Dwayne.

To honor Dwayne, I humbly dedicated a recent Dance Concert that I directed to him. The concert ran two nights in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. One of the pieces, entitled Scars (ant-bullying dance for hope), was the one I knew he’d love the most. Why? Because the central topics were racism and bullying sparked by the Chapel Hill shootings and the raise in suicide rates in youth due to bullying. Dwayne always supported the outsiders, the hurt souls, the ones needing to develop… a voice.

To continue his love for charity and giving back, I also wanted to do something special for him this Ramadan. For those who may not know what Ramadan is, it’s a holy month observed by Muslims through fasting, prayer, charity, kindness and reflection.

Ramadan is always a beautiful time of giving and many people of lesser means across the world are fed a daily donated iftar. Iftar is the meal eaten by Muslims after breaking their fast at sunset during Ramadan.

In an effort to keep Ramadan’s intentions going in coming months we are collecting non-perishable food items to distribute to labor camps. I know Dwayne would love this.

Items needed:

+ Rice bags
+ Dates
+ Cooking oil/vegetable oil
+ Bombay Mix
+ Soda: cans of Coke, Pepsi, Mirinda, 7Up
+ Indian or Pakistani pickles
+ Juice boxes
+ Chips: Box of individually wrapped bags
+ Dried pulses: chick peas, dal, beans etc.
+ Mixed nuts/peanuts
+ Tea
+ Powdered Milk
+ Spices: turmeric, chili, black pepper, curry, salt, cardamom, cloves etc.
+ Flour
+ Sugar
+ Additional non-perishable items such as canned food, noodles, soups…

For those in the UAE wishing to take part in the food drive, items can be dropped off at 1 Lake Plaza – Office1407, Cluster T in Jumeriah Lake Towers Sunday, July 12 – Thursday, July 17 from 12:00 pm- 5:30 pm. For evening timings please email us at LOL@Dubomedy.com.

May you rest in peace Dwayne. Thank you for the inspiration and believing in me even when I didn’t.

camp 5

Mawaheb: Workshop and performance

On June 11, 2015 we headed to Mawaheb from Beautiful People, Bastakiya Art studio for adults with special needs to lead a comedy, circus & dance workshop complete with a grand finale performance byBeatbox Ray. It was such a wonderful afternoon and we thank everyone who helped!

Please do check out their artwork (which is also on sale) athttp://www.mawaheb-dubai.com/

mawaheb collage

Regency Labor Camp Party & Show

After years of wanting to organize a labor camp event, we are happy to say that on April 18th, we had the pleasure of visiting the Regency camps in Al Quoz. We gave them a special party and performance filled with snacks, dance, music and laughter! Little did we know that they in turn they would put on a show for us! What an incredible, and memorable, night! Seeing these hard working men smile and have fun was a beautiful feeling for all of us. This was the first in a series of camp events, if you’d like to get involved please email us at LOL@Dubomedy.com.

Huge thanks to all the volunteers, performers, Barakat – Fresh & Easy,Tea JuncTion Café & LouNge for making this event so wonderful.

camp 1 camp 2 camp 3 camp 5

Photos by Imran Ahmed
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