Everyday, Burners Without Borders transforms communities through innovative disaster relief programs and community initiatives that make a lasting impact. 



MotoMoto Circus

Location: Mombasa, Kenya - Map It STATUS: Active

Since 2008 Burners Without Borders has been supporting the MotoMoto Circus project in Mombasa, Kenya. This program has been working to engage, support and empower marginalized street living youth in Kenya through the medium of Fire Dancing.
We are off to a great start this year  with two new MotoMoto classes on Tuesday and Thursdays in Mombasa serving twenty street living youth.


MotoMoto is Swahili for “Exciting” and is also a play on words, as “Moto” in Swahili means “Fire”. MotoMoto is what Kenyans call fire spinning or Poi. The goal of the program is to provide the students with a challenge, namely poi spinning. Spinning poi well takes focus, which is hard to achieve when intoxicated. Even while non-intoxicated it is quite common to hit yourself in the face, legs, and chest. Students learn through pain and peer pressure very quickly that this is not something you can do while sniffing glue. Once a student reaches the level of actually spinning fire-poi they receive a level of attention and respect that they have never had before. This sense of accomplishment and deserved respect is a key in drug rehabilitation and feeling the internal strength to leave the streets.

One of the students, George, dropped out of school in second grade because his parents could not pay his school fees. He hasn’t been able to find work and has lost hope. He is now addicted to glue sniffing. We hope to see George making it all the way through the program and eventually off the streets.


The students through ten levels of training – incorporating life skills, focus areas and other support services. While it is a slow process with many setbacks, by the time students reach level ten (usually within a year) the children have noticeably changed and have started to teach others. You can see videos of our students that have reached the performance stage here. Performing not only give students self esteem, it helps them learn to work together and build trust.


The boys in our classes are either on the roads begging or stealing in order to find money for food. The girls in our classes are being raped frequently and are selling their bodies for food. In order to take their minds off the search for food, we feed our students after each lesson. The food they get is a whole home cooked meal of rice, potatoes, beans and vegetables, by a mother that has helped street youth for over twenty years.


The funding to pay for our instructors, food and materials comes 100% from Burners Without Borders. We are always looking to expand the program. Right now we are only offering 2 classes a week because of funding and would like to see this every day of the week! Please consider making a donation if you would like to help. We are looking for help with donations of kevlar and old poi sets. If you are able to donate a roll of Kevlar or any other poi stuff that would be great! We are also looking for volunteers in 2013. If you can teach poi or want to learn poi – think about doing it in Kenya!

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