IFWEA Global Knowledge Community News

Nov 28

Ibtikar leads the way with Palestinian Puppets Programme

IFWEA affiliate Ibtikar, based in Palestine, has embarked on a unique project. The Palestinian Puppets project, is part of the initiative “Increased Economic Opportunities and Improved Livelihood for Fragile Communities along the Palestinian Heritage Trail (PH Trail) in The West Bank.” Sulaima Ramadan from Ibtikar tells us more about the project, and the puppets:

Who makes the puppets?
The puppets/dolls are crafted by less-served women from our local community, who have become the sole breadwinners for their families after the recent events and atrocities in Palestine. This initiative not only provides them with a source of income but also empowers them economically and boosts their self-esteem. Additionally, it serves as a space for them to release the negative energy resulting from the surrounding atrocities. The recent events and atrocities in Palestine have led to many Palestinians losing their jobs and work, creating a pressing need to create job opportunities for these individuals.

Who do they represent?
These puppets/dolls represent the threatened Palestinian heritage and culture. Each puppet serves as a poignant reminder of our rich cultural legacy and history. Additionally, each puppet/doll and character represents a real person from the city or village they symbolise. These individuals were interviewed during the research phase of the project, where they shared the stories of their village or city. This information can be accessed by scanning a QR code that each puppet/doll holds, linking to the narratives on our website.

How do you use them?
We use these puppets/dolls as a powerful tool – we market them as a tool for people to start learning about Palestine and its heritage, away from the false stories marketed by the world-controlled media and propaganda.

What age is the Puppet Programme aimed at?
Our programmes are designed to be inclusive and cater to a wide range of ages, from children to adults. We believe that everyone can benefit from the educational and cultural value of the Puppet Programme.

What issues do you deal with?
Through our puppet programme, we address various social, cultural, and educational issues relevant to Palestinian society. These include heritage preservation, storytelling, cultural identity, and social justice.

Why did you choose this methodology?  
We chose puppetry/dolls as a methodology after researching and consulting on the best way to create job opportunities for these women and to convey messages about Palestinian culture and heritage. Puppets have a universal appeal and can effectively convey these messages to a wide audience.

What kind of response have you had?
The response to our Puppet programme has been overwhelmingly positive, both locally and internationally. However, we have also received some extreme responses from individuals who attack the project in an aggressive way, claiming that buying these puppets/dolls supports terrorism.

Is it something that other organisations could use/learn from?
Absolutely! We believe that the use of puppets as a popular education methodology can be adapted and implemented by other organisations. It not only serves as a tool for education and cultural preservation but also empowers marginalized communities.

Read more about the Puppet Programme and see the dolls here.

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