It all began, interestingly enough, when a single wheel (therefore not a bicycle!)was purchased by the Don Bosco Haus Youth Centre in 2003. A couple of the girls showed extraordinary talent in mastering the machine, and soon were showing off their talents to others, who joined in. On school project days, they performed for visiting students.
Meanwhile at the nearby Pestalozzi school for learning difficulties, a group of 10 children took up the idea of improving their skills in this area too, and soon, by September 2003, there was a small ‘circus’. A Don Bosco Haus Youth Centre collaborator, Frank, had finished his studies and become interested in this project. He managed to find financial support for a stipend from a funding organisation.
In the summer holidays, with several carts and around 15 youngsters and some adults working with them, they visited parishes in Easter Germany and were a great success. They were encouraged to form a circus and further funding from both State and Salesian sources enabled a full year stipend for Frank and some part time funding. The Birikino Circus was born (from the Italian word ‘birricchino’, meaning ‘cheeky’).
Don Bosco Haus has found the circus medium an ideal pedagogical instrument for creating a joyful learning environment. Youngsters discover their own talents and are able to grow in their personality at the same time. It requires discipline and team work. The most important part is the result where they can show off their talents before an audience - their parents in the first instance.
What began as a recreational exercise is now a Circus worthy of the name. In the 2006 summer holidays the Birikino Circus put on a special event in its own Big Top tent able to hold around 250 visitors. Special invitations were extended to all the young people from the local municipality. Towards the end of the week of performances they invited other special guests.
The entire event is funded by supporters and friends of the Circus with the help of several large Foundations.
CONTACT: Go to the Don Bosco Haus web page at www.dbh-chemnitz.de and even if you cannot read German, you will gain enough information about the Circus just from the photos.