You are here


Using Puppets To Teach About Gender-Based Violence in Southern Africa

Mothers' Union in the South African Diocese of Saldanha Bay works with the TAMAR ministry against GBV

03 Nov 2021

Mothers’ Union in the diocese of Saldanha Bay in Southern Africa partners with the TAMAR ministry, itself an organisation which uses Biblical study to break the chains of silence around gender-based violence (GBV). TAMAR is based on the Bible story in the book of 2 Samuel: 13. The objective of the TAMAR ministry is to educate women, men and even children on the issues arising from GBV.

The Context

In the first few months of 2020 the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, recorded 226 cases of child abuse in the community. These are shocking statistics and are only from the records of one hospital, indicating that this is a widespread problem. The local Mothers’ Union members were steadfast in that they could not turn a blind eye to the suffering of children.

The TAMAR Ministry issued the following response to that statistic:
“We have to take a hard stand for the vulnerable in our society. We call on everyone who witnesses or suspects child neglect, and/or violence against children, to please step forward and report the cases‘

Their work

A need was identified by the TAMAR Ministry to expand their activities to serve then needs of the youth, children, and parents. The ministry invited a former SAPD child protection officer to talk about her involvement in the Trauma Unit, especially her experience working with children. 

Rather than creating a classroom teaching situation, the TAMAR ministry explored other creative art activities such as puppetry to teach the parents and children on these issues. 


Puppets are magical creatures in the minds of children. They can give instructions, turn tears into laughter, and be used in imaginative play by small hands and large. Using puppets to engage early learners offers multiple benefits.

This is what was evident in the sessions run by Mothers' Union with the TAMAR ministry; that children engaged with the puppet characters. They made keen observations and asked pertinent questions showing that they could understand the issues. 

Overall, the Mothers’ Union in Saldanha Bay works with the TAMAR ministry to provide safe spaces for children and parents to come to an improved understanding of gender-based violence. This is progress and offers a bright hope for the future.



Cover photo by Umut YILMAN on Unsplash