Puppeteering to educate people on sensitive issues

Puppeteering to educate people on sensitive issues

Since time immemorial, puppetry has been playing an important role as a medium of education. It has been used as a tool for disseminating knowledge in ...

Since time immemorial, puppetry has been playing an important role as a medium of education. It has been used as a tool for disseminating knowledge in almost all parts of the world, thus all cultures domesticated the art of puppetry. The Association for Promotion of Puppetry in Andhra Pradesh (APPA) recently organised a puppet show in Guntur. The Hans India caught up with Madhavi Latha Ganji, secretary and technical director of APPA, who was appointed by the State government as the counsellor for juvenile homes of Hyderabad, wherein children are trained in puppetry. During the interaction, she spoke about the revival of the ancient artform and using the medium to create awareness on sensitive issues.

Madhavi is a fellow of Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi. She received a fellowship to work on ‘Use of Puppetry in Education’. She is presently pursuing her PhD.

“Since puppetry is a dynamic art form that appeals to all age groups, the medium has been selected to serve as an aid for imparting education in schools. Puppets can stimulate the children’s imagination, encourage creative play and discover themselves in a new way. They are also a wonderful medium of interactive teaching to introduce narrative to even the most reluctant reader or listener. They can be a powerful way of bringing story time to life. Puppets can provide a focus for role play by encouraging the child’s imagination and involvement in activities and can play a fundamental part in the recitation of stories and verse,” said Madhavi.

Latha explained that if children were exposed to puppetry, they would become highly engaged and involved in the lesson. “A puppet can encourage the quietest of children to start talking. A child can express thoughts, fears and feelings through puppets that they might otherwise find difficult to voice to an adult.”

Talking about the role APPA plays in the society, she said, “APPA emphasises on puppetry for education at all levels including adult literacy. It has organised several workshops for teachers in the State from time to time. A workshop was organized for 35 teachers each at Tirupati, Kurnool and Ongole districts recently. APPA was invited by the UNICEF and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) to hold a workshop for teachers.”

The workshop for SSA lasted for 40 days, wherein 218 teachers from all over the State learnt how to draw, paint, sing, etc.

“The association has successfully organised several workshops for different NGOs on varied themes including using puppetry for communicating messages on sexual and reproductive health at various centers in the country. We organised puppet shows on social concerns like child marriage, human trafficking, atrocities on women, dowry, HIV, female infanticide, domestic violence, etc,” Madhavi said.

The association is also involved in training adolescent girls in trade cutting, tailoring, maggam work, embroidery, and provides suitable placements.

By: Ravi P Benjamin

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