Children's rights education with puppets

Puppets take over HOOP for the day

Last Tuesday, we held a puppet show for the kids at school. Justine Carnec, our Program Assistant intern who set up the performance, tells us more about it, and explains why the kids had such an awesome time watching the show.

Puppets in Plaza de Armas Arequipa

When I found out about “En Ruta por la Infancia” (“On the Road for Childhood”), a group of two puppeteers, were coming to Arequipa this week, I thought it would be an awesome idea to have them perform for the HOOP kids in Flora Tristán.

I’m really keen on theatre and puppet performances, and I thought the kids would be too… So I contacted them to find out more, and see whether they’d be interested in coming to HOOP.

I quickly discovered that “On the Road for Childhood” wasn’t just a random puppet troupe, but a much bigger project.

Roberto, from Guatemala, is a professional puppeteer who has always had the dream of travelling around South America doing puppet shows. Helene is a Cyprian lawyer, with a specialization in international and human rights. “On the Road for Childhood” was the perfect way to combine their passions in a project that promotes children’s rights through theatre workshops and puppet shows. For the past two years they have entertained around 6,000 children all over Latin America.

“Our idea and objective is to provide free performances in impoverished places that culture and theatre don’t usually reach”, Helene explained.

Places such as Flora Tristán, in Arequipa, where we run our project. So, when I explained more about HOOP to Helene, we were both really excited to see that we shared similar visions and aims: Helping and empowering children. So we decided to put on a show as a surprise for the HOOP kids.

On Tuesday, in the early afternoon, the three of us went up to school early to set up the show. Once it was all set up, it looked great and I could already imagine Helene and Roberto’s characters moving on their beautiful pirate ship stage.

Children's rights education with puppets

Once all the students had arrived and settled, Roberto opened the show with a strong and deep voice resounding through the school. Along with his broad smile, it grabbed the kids’ attention immediately.

If you’ve ever volunteered at HOOP, you will know that the kids can be quite easily distracted. So it was amazing to see them all completely silent and attentive. They couldn’t keep their eyes off the stage, taken away by the adventures of puppet pirates and their prisoner, Mercedes.

Children's rights education with puppets

It was great fun for the students, but the show also had a deeper purpose, talking about issues like bullying, self-esteem, and gender equality. These are topics we had already been working on with the kids, so Helene and Roberto worked them into the plot seamlessly.

The performance was a big hit with the kids, and Roberto and Helene were delighted to see them being so engaged in the show. Both the kids and the puppeteers had a great time, and since I know that’s the kind of experience our students will remember later, I was really happy we set it up for them.

And, who knows? Someday, one of them might actually be doing his or her own puppet show in front of other kids in Flora Tristán…

Children's rights education with puppets

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