Nearly €5000 was collected in 2019.
Sophia Jansen has always had the burning desire to help other people, so she started a charity event at the age of 7 that has changed the lives of many.
Since 2014, she's organised charity concerts to raise funds for the Mobile Mini Circus for Children in Kabul (MMCC), which provides educational entertainment to thousands of children through performances and workshops.
Sophia Jansen has always had the urge to support other people. Especially those of a similar age that do not have the privilege of growing up in a safe environment and free society. Since 2023 she also supports a similar project in Ethiopia.
The inspiration came when Sophia saw Floortje Dessing, a Dutch presenter, on TV paying a visit to this social circus in Kabul. "I was so impressed and it touched me so much that I then decided I wanted to do something. That became 'Sophia's Garden concert for MMCC'."
Despite all the chaos and worries that those children experienced, Sophia saw boys and girls laughing, having fun, playing with each other. She wanted to contribute to a project that allows children to take away their worries for a moment - "to just be children." The project is run by two co-directors, David and Berit, who have lived in Kabul for 20 years and helped these children ever since. David comes to visit the garden concert every year, and will also return for this Saturday's 7th edition.
Sophia's Garden Concert grew from a small event to an annual occasion that is marked in people's calendars for months. "Until corona came along, I organised a concert every year. First still in our garden in Luxembourg (where we lived then) but soon in the garden of the Dutch ambassador in Luxembourg. I don't have any sponsors or a budget. All the money raised goes 100% to the MMCC," she says, speaking to RTL Today.
Due to the move to Germany, the event this year is held privately, but fans and 'sponsors' can still support the Mobile Mini Circus for Children with a donation through Afghan MMCC's website. Next year Sophia hopes for the event to open to the full public again. Past editions have attracted hundreds of guests, including ambassadors, politicians and international artists.
"Many people helped me and fun things happened: professional musicians performed, an art auction, the Luxembourg foreign minister visiting, circus, delicious food from Chichi and others, photo exhibition of Nafise Motlaq..... With the sole aim of sharing joy, raising awareness for the MMCC and ultimately raising a lot of money for the MMCC."
Despite the Taliban's takeover in 2021, and a fearful and uncertain period for the MMCC, the programme is still active in Afghanistan. MMCC is still trying to put a smile on the faces of children in conflict zones.
"Besides circus and play activities for boys and girls, providing child-oriented food parcels has now become a bigger part of MMCC's activities in Afghanistan." David and Berit's extensive local connections and experience in the country surely aid in accessing as many children as possible.
This year's line-up includes Mangenta Hill Trio and the Roman Ensemble Amsterdam, Willem Dieleman, Josh Island or Pancake Adventures (who travels the world with his frying pan making pancakes), Clown Arie and Zaltimbanque and a Tombola. Many local producers and artists have donated works for the Tombola, including signed books, food and drinks, cakes and providing sleeping places to travelling artists.
"It is a celebration of giving, sharing and receiving! Everyone is welcome," says Sophia. "I hope to inspire this way."