From 14th to 21st of May 2012, Odemis (Turkey) was the stage of an innovative project developed by CEIPES Turkey: “Human Rights Education through Turkish Puppet Theatre”, funded with support  from the European Youth Foundation of Council of Europe and in collaboration with several NGOs from Europe: The Spiral (Greece), Media Education Centre (MEC) (Serbia) and Eesti People to People (Estonia).

Youth workers usually find difficulties when trying to reach young people from disadvantaged contexts. So that was our aim: How can we make it different? Which tool would be useful to involve and motivate young people so they can know their rights and then be able to take part actively in society?

And we found it: Turkish Shadow Puppets. The project got involved youth workers, trainers and youth leaders from Greece, Turkey, Estonia, Italy, Austria, Serbia, Georgia, Poland, Armenia, England and Ukraine working on Social Rights and inclusion fields.

The specific objectives of the project were:

  • To increase participants’ awareness of social rights, inclusion and active participation in the framework of young people living in disadvantaged contexts.
  • To provide participants with knowledge about social rights, inclusion and active participation in the framework of young people living in disadvantaged contexts.
  • To understand the role of young people in their local realities in the context of the social rights and inclusion.
  • To exchange best practices about diverse inclusion strategies that can be later transferred to other context.
  • To learn about the puppets theatre method and to become able to use it for motivating and involving young people living in disadvantaged contexts in the access to their social rights.

And what did we do? Guided by a team of experienced trainers and an expert in Turkish Shadows Puppets Theatre, the group of participants explored their experiences and the needs they identify from their own communities and situations, as well as an analysis of the situation in Odemis. We carried out different workshops about Participation, Social Rights, Inclusion, Community Mapping and worked on possible solutions to the detected needs.

At the same time, the group developed more practical skills: how to show all these issues through shadow puppets  theatre? The expert in the field, Mansur Elk, guided the participants to create the characters and a story which showed the needs in the field of Social Rights of people from Odemis. After a hard work and some rehearsals, the group performed the play in public, for the people from Odemis. And applause was heard in all the city.

Now, it’s time the participants to use these new tools when working in their communities. Show must go on…