Elisabeth Grönning works at Oslo and Akershus university college in the child welfare programme, where she teaches aestethic methods, and also coordinate international affairs. This includes an international semester in child welfare and creative method in Social work, which is one of the reason why she is here at Tanga.  Today she will start a small project involving youth from Tanga, together with the Norwegian students that stay here as part of their education.

One of the methods is using puppets as a tool for professional dialogue with children and young people.

Last year I was here visiting a group of student from the child welfare programme that was here to do a project looking into the schools systems trying to find out why children drop out of school. They found many reasons, but in Tanga as other places, schools is important for children towards the future.

I was inspired by the idea to use reflective puppet theatre giving space for the children to express themselves, their dreams, life at school and at home etc. My experience with puppet theatre is that you can express inner feelings and situations in both a concrete and abstract way. Playing with puppets you can reach themes within yourself, but also open up themes for others to see.

Through my own experience from Puppet Theater with kids at Kindergarten and schools I have experienced how you can reach out to them and to keep the focus and the story, and also how the audience get very moved by what the puppets can tell.

My idea, back in Norway, was that maybe puppet theatre could be a way for young people to express something about their own situations, and maybe make things more clear for the people around them and for themselves.

So what will we be doing today?

I am very curious and look forward to meet this group of 13 young people, from 16 to 21 years of age, who will be coming here this afternoon to experience the Puppet Theatre Workshop. And I am also very excited as I will connect to an African tradition of expressing themselves through


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October 2011
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