“The smiles and sheer joy on the faces of these children is the driving force behind my work.”
Jamie – the Humanitarian Magician
I am aged 55 and have been performing magic since I was a boy, and part time for varied audiences. Since early 2016, I now devote all my time to providing magic shows to children in Lebanon, as a Humanitarian Magician – in particular Syrian refugees as well as Palestinians, but also Lebanese, on the basis that these children need fun after experiencing a lot of deprivation and trauma. Expansion into Jordan is planned. The smiles and sheer joy on the faces of these children is the driving force behind my work. I use the name Jamie Jibberish as a stage name because I use nonsense language (gibberish) frequently during my shows to excite the feeling of magic.
I work mainly through non-government organisations (NGOs) national and international who work with children – but also with other local groups. I do all my shows in Arabic. To date, shows have been conducted for over 40 organisations many of them several times:
Local NGOs include:
Basma &Zeitouna, Beit Atfaal el Sumoud, Lebanese Red Cross, Sawa for Development and Aid, Caritas, Popular Committee – Bedawi, Scouts Bedawi, Fraternite, Children and Youth Association, Garsa self-help school Bekaa, Douma self-help school Bekaa, Home of Hope, Jusoor Syria, Tahaddi, Solidarite, Walaa Centre, Good Shepherd School, ULYP, Ramhala Village, Dar el Aytem (through Russian Speaking Womens Assoc), St Lukes Centre, BEAM, Utopia, Childrens Cancer Centre of Lebanon, Union of Relief and Development Associations (URDA), SEED, Shams Network, Syrian Eyes, Barouk Village
International NGOs include:
SB Overseas, Amel Association International, Women Now International, Najda Now International, War Child, Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, Intersos, Make Sense, Jesuit Refugee Service, UNRWA schools (3)
In addition a number of private shows have been conducted to help subsidise the core business of humanitarian shows – birthday parties, clubs, and restaurants.
Jamie – the humanitarian programmer and campaigner
Prior to 2016 when I performed magic part time, I worked as a professional humanitarian for most of 30 years, and particularly in the Middle East and North Africa as well as other parts of Africa. Around half the time was in programming (from programme manager to Country Director) and the other half in campaigning on conflict situations to make change through various policy and campaign manager roles based in the UK and especially in the region. For most of this period I worked for Oxfam, as well as CARE and Crisis Action, and other organisations especially for consultancy.
The work required extensive travel throughout the region, while I have been based in Egypt, Palestine, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, UK (with travel across Africa) and since mid-2015 in Lebanon.
Syria's refugee crisis in numbers
More than 4.8 million Syrian refugees are in just five countries Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt:
- Lebanon hosts approximately 1 million Syrian refugees which amounts to around one in five people in the country
- Jordan hosts approximately 655,675 Syrian refugees, which amounts to about 10% of the population
- Turkey hosts 2.7 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country worldwide
- Iraq where 3.1 million people are already internally displaced hosts 228,894 Syrian refugees
- Egypt hosts 115,204 Syrian refugees