Scene from Tsunami, Tales of Disasters. Puppet films can provide a safer space to confront frightening issues than images portraying the full horror of the real thing

Scene from Tsunami, Tales of Disasters. It can be easier to confront frightening issues through a puppet film than images portraying the horror of the real thing


Watching friends play on a beach ravaged by the Asian tsunami. Credit: Clare Allen

Watching friends play on a beach ravaged by the Asian tsunami. Credit: Clare Allen

Getting anyone to change things for themselves can be a big ask. And in the countries we work in, for good reasons.

A child in Haiti or Sierra Leone is unlikely to have a toilet or tap in their home, let alone soap, but if they don’t wash their hands at appropriate times, and properly, they can become extremely sick. A young person in Kenya may know all about HIV or childhood pregnancy, but poverty or peer pressure can push them into a life of much greater hardship than might have been. And while no-one particularly wants to think about it, being informed and prepared should a serious flood, cyclone or a tsunami hit is simply life-saving stuff.

Children and young people seem to love our films regardless of age or where they live in the world. They’re eager to see them even if the subject material is frightening, because in the right hands, puppets have a very special appeal.

Of course, it isn’t enough to passively watch; children must actively consider how a film’s messages apply in the real world – their world. They need to find out what their contemporaries think, to work out their personal feelings, envisage different scenarios, and what that means for them.

By training senior staff through our in-country workshops who can then pass skills on to colleagues, No Strings has shared tips and techniques with many thousands of teachers and outreach workers to help get children to lead discussions through making activities, play and puppetry.

Our work impacts some of the most vulnerable people in the world, young people of all ages who are eager to share what they’ve learnt with families at home. Increasingly, we’re working with whole communities, too.

Please join us, and help us to reach many more.