One of Ethiopia’s greatest circus expatriates, Sosina Wogayehu, will launch an urgent international appeal for her trailblazing Ethiopian youth circus project at 6pm on Tuesday, 6 October 2020 via a live Zoom event.
Sosina has had a stellar career as a world-class, international, circus performer, contortionist and juggler. She has always been an inspirational leader, mentor, and teacher for young Ethiopians at home and abroad, and now she is taking this one major step further.
Sosina is leading the appeal to raise funds for the Circus Center, Entoto Park, Ethiopia – her planned community hub for Ethiopia’s young people, to support them to continue their education, develop new skills and celebrate Ethiopian culture.
I am proud that this is an Ethiopian-led initiative, which acknowledges our incredible culture and potential, and provides the kinds of opportunities, facilities and programs that are completely lacking here today, she said.
“We know circus is unique in its ability to transform young people’s hopes and dreams, and this project will do this in a way that is completely led by the local community in Addis Ababa. Not only will it provide a safe and secure training facility and a sense of community, but also a place for the participants to perform under a permanent big top, a first in Ethiopia. For many of the young people, it will be life-changing, and represent the very first time their own families will have seen them perform in front of an audience.”
The Ethiopian Government has given Sosina’s project approval to be a part of Entoto Park, part of a cultural precinct in a stunning national park within easy access of the capital, Addis Ababa. She now urgently seeks your support to raise the funds needed to realise the vision for the project.
Mike Finch, Chair of the Circus Centre Advisory Committee, and leading international circus director and facilitator, has worked with Sosina since she was cast as a core ensemble performer with Australia’s national circus, Circus Oz, while he was Artistic Director and co-CEO.
Finch says the Circus Center is a unique and powerful project. “Sosina is a visionary and respected leader who has spent her entire life building culture and community.”
Since Sosi returned to Ethiopia in 2013 she has already succeeded in supporting hundreds of young participants to stay in education, or to develop professional and international careers, but now she needs our support to establish proper facilities and ongoing programs, he said.
Sosina will launch the appeal for US$800,000 (AU$1.13 million), alongside one of her young artists, Wintana Gmeskel, as well as Mike Finch and other supporters, at 6pm on Tuesday, 6 October 2020 (Australian Eastern Standard Time).
Sosina Wogayehu grew up in Addis Ababa as a child performer with Circus Ethiopia. After travelling the world with the troupe, she moved to Australia and graduated from Melbourne’s National Institute of Circus Arts. She was immediately selected to feature as a performer with Circus Oz, and she went on to tour globally with this and many other major companies. During this time, she also won several prestigious awards and made ongoing links with an international network of performers, directors, teachers and agents.
On returning to Addis Ababa, Sosina successfully established two organisations, Gamo Circus, and Ethio Circus Entertainment. Gamo Circus combines social circus and circus skills training to provide opportunities for young people to develop confidence, a strong sense of community and cultural pride. Many of her students also choose a professional career in circus. For those who do, Sosina’s Ethio Circus Entertainment ensures they are able to perform with leading companies throughout the world.
2019 OAM: The Order of Australia
2016 Australian Circus Industry Awards, International Philanthropy Award
2013 The Most Influential African Australian of the Year Award at Parliament House, Canberra 2011 Nominee for Helpmann Awards For the performance of Carnival of Mistress
2007 Nominee for Australian of the Year Award
2004 Finalist for Young Australian of the Year Award (Victoria)
2003 Circus Princess People’s Choice Award (Stockholm)
6pm Tuesday, 6 October 2020 (Australian Eastern Standard Time)
Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86111224531 (Meeting ID: 861 1122 4531
Donations can be made at gofundme.com/f/Circus-Centre