PUPPETEERS WITHOUT BORDERS began in 2005 when three puppeteers from Israel, France and the USA had the dream of creating an organization, which would use their expertise to help deprived communities throughout the world.
Puppetry has a unique ability to bridge gaps of misunderstanding and to bring people together to examine community social issues. It can combine storytelling, drama, music and humour, and break down barriers and challenge social and political stereotypes: a puppet can be adapted to any audience regardless of culture, language group or social class. A puppet can tackle issues like violence,dying, racism: it makes it less embarrassing for the audience, because it forms a “buffer”.
PWB works mainly with educators, social workers, doctors, nurses, and local puppeteers. It provides workshops where participants learn how to manipulate and build puppets made out of simple and recycled materials. Participants learn how to develop scripts out of the stories they come across in their work.
Project members have travelled all over the world to reach underprivileged communities and given hundreds of workshops. A few thousand people have been trained in this technique. The countries worked in include: Kenya, Ethiopia, Bosnia, DR Congo, Indonesia, Norway, Australia, Mexico, Israel, USA and France.
PWB works regularly with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Van Leer Foundation, the Queensland government, ICDP (International Child Development Programme) and local communities. The project is constantly looking for new partners.
Here and on our Videos page you can watch three short films, one by Benoît Erwann Boucherot of the making of The King is Ill puppet show in Democratic Republic of the Congo, a production facilitated by Puppeteers Without Borders.
The other, “Who is the enemy?” is a moving paper-theater performance based on refugees’ real stories and original drawings filmed in Bonn, Germany. The performance was facilitated by Puppeteers Without Borders.
The third is about training peer educators in topics such as reproductive anatomy, contraception and sexual violence, with the aim of supporting teachers’ capacity to promote knowledge and positive healthy beliefs and behaviours. You can also see a very informative presentation on this work here..