Puppet show against cholera

by Daria Napieraj,  2011/05/09

Until April 21, 2011 alone, the cholera epidemic in Haiti claimed 4,888 deaths and turned numerous children into orphans. Up to now, more than 287,742 persons have contracted the disease.

Despite this already immense extent, the United Nations are still expecting the disease to spread further. By the end of 2011, up to 400,000 persons will probably be suffering from cholera.

How can a Punch and Judy show and a puppet show contribute to preventing the disease from spreading?

The children have lived through a lot. Many children in Haiti hardly remember what it means to be a child. Photo: stART international e.V.

The precondition for checking the spread of an epidemic like cholera is to pass on sufficient knowledge about the disease. This is more than difficult in face of the fact that more than 50 percent of the Haitian population are illiterate.

The population needs to be informed about measures and actions for preventing the life-threatening disease, about the symptoms and about the necessary action that needs to be taken in case of an infection.

It is above all children and young people in Haiti who are in danger. More than 60 percent of them do not attend any school and therefore they do not have sufficient knowledge that could prevent them from contracting the disease.

Children who already are infected with cholera can die of internal dehydration within a very short time. This dehydration is caused by severe diarrhoea which leads to a fatal loss of fluids.

In order to prevent this from happening and to prevent as many children as possible from contracting cholera, information on cholera needs to be passed on in a way that is appropriate for children.

For this purpose, humedica has concluded a cooperation contract with the association “stART International e.V. – Emergency Aid for Children”.

The cooperation is above all intended to provide information about cholera to children and young persons, but also to the people in their environment. With our work we intend to provide information about topics like prophylactic measures, water preparation, cholera symptoms, treatment of the disease and help networks.

In order to address as many children as possible, these disease prevention measures will take place among others at the children’s hospital “Notre Dame de Lourdes” in Port-au-Prince and at several street camps and orphanages.

Imparting information about cholera in a way suitable for children by means of a Punch and Judy show and a therapeutic puppet show brought particularly positive results in the past. Photo: stART international e.V.

In order to raise the children’s attention for the topic, a lot of emphasis is put on communicating knowledge to the children in a way suitable for them. This can be done for example in the form of a Punch and Judy show or by means of a therapeutic puppet show.

Many children are still deeply traumatised by the events that happened in Haiti and they have lost trust in the world. Symptoms for these traumas are for example sleep disturbances, increased irritability, concentration difficulties and fears or even a weakening of their immune systems.

Therefore, “stART International e.V.” and humedica also focus on caring for cholera orphans by offering them trauma therapies and psychological and social care, and the organisations run training measures for local professionals in the field of trauma therapy.

Furthermore, the establishment of an open studio for creative paedagogy and trauma therapy is planned in the framework of this project, as well as the construction of a children’s playground. Creative approaches to pedagogic work will also be integrated in the small street camp schools that are run by our project partner.

In order to grant sustainability, the employees of Haitian relief organisations can take part in training measures in the corresponding fields of work. By means of these measures, the projects can be handed over to local organisations after a build-up and introductory phase. In this way we intend to grant urgently needed help to the children in Haiti also in the long run.

Please continue supporting our work in Haiti. Contribute to giving the children, who have already suffered so much, the opportunity to feel like children once more.

You can do this by means of making a targeted donation to the account below.

      humedica e.V.
      Donation reference"Earthquake Haiti"
      Account 47 47
      Bank code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren
      SWIFT/BIC-CODE: BYLADEM1KFB
      IBAN: 35734500000000004747

You can also make a donation in a secure, fast and simple way by means of sending a text message: send a message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90. You will be charged 5 euros, with 4.83 euros of this amount being directly channelled into the humedica disaster relief projects. You can also make a donation via our online form. Thank you very much!

„Nature wants children to be children before they grow up to adults.” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau) Photo: stART International e.V.

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