Ethiopia: The Dire Dawa Circus Training Delinquent Young People



Despite meagre resources, this circus in the eastern Ethiopian city still manages to teach young people discipline and hard work, even distinguishing itself at prestigious international festivals.

It is a lifeline for youngsters in Dire Dawa, once an economic hub and Ethiopia’s second-largest city. Now aspiring young performers practice in the faded hall with tattered carpets, hoping to earn a living and recognition.

Its co-founder Endale Haile’s vision is simple and clear- to rehabilitate delinquent young adults through sports. “We have helped young people not to spend their time on addictive substances. As you have seen, most people around here chew khat (a narcotic shrub) and take drugs, but we taught them disciplines with gymnastics.” Haile says.

One of the members of the circus, Nardos Awilitu attests to this. “First, it helps us to have a good attitude, and second, it allows us to work better at school. Generally, It helps in everything in our life.”

But faced with a harsh and biting economic crisis, Haile has hinted it is now difficult to get more materials. The Dire Dawa circus founder has had to rely on donations from overseas and is calling for even more support.


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