Debere Berhan, Ethiopia


Photographer: Lukas Berger

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Teklu Ashagir, 35, runs Circus Debere Berhan, one of Ethiopia’s few circuses and a home from home for fifty young performers. Teklu grew up in Addis Ababa in a middle class family. After leaving school he worked as a dancer, theatre director and writer. A friend of his founded the circus in 1998. He took it over in 2003. From its base in Debere Berhan, a city in central Ethiopia, the circus travels across the country. Funded mainly by performances, it gives shows wherever it can find a suitable theatre, hall or street. Its performers, aged from five to thirty, are almost all from poor families. A few are paid, but most have joined to learn acrobatics, juggling and other circus skills from Teklu and the circus’s five other trainers.