In Kinshasa, there are an estimated 20,000 children living in the streets. Many of them have become outcasts, having been accused of witchcraft. Puppeteers Without Borders give local educators, artists/puppeteers the tools to address this specific problem through puppetry and training; puppet performances promote new understandings that can lead to behavioural changes; education and training provide teachers with powerful tools with which to facilitate healing.
Kinshasa is rated as one of Africa's most dangerous cities in terms of crime. Muggings, robberies, rape, kidnapping and gang violence are relatively common. Street children, often orphaned, are subject to abuse by the police and military. Of the estimated 20,000 children living rough in Kinshasa's streets, almost a quarter are beggars, some are street vendors and about a third have some kind of employment. Some are the fallout from the times of war while many others are accused of witchcraft
The work of Puppeteers Without Borders (PWB) is to give local educators, artists and puppeteers the tools to address the specific problems of the Kinshasa society by training them to create strong, compelling performances which can encourage new understandings and behavioural change. At the same time our puppeteers will train local social workers to use puppets as a therapeutic tool to help the outcast children overcome the effects of their traumas, that are a result of being accused of sorcery
Performances with strong visual impact will be routinely performed in at least 10 sites where children at risk have been identified. At least 1000 community members, children as well as adults, will be touched by these performances. The fact that local artists will be trained to create and perform will ensure the continuity of this action in the community, in order to create a permanent change, long after Puppeteers Without Borders have left the country.
This project has provided additional documentation in a Microsoft Word file (projdoc.doc).
The official website of Puppeteers Without Borders