On Tuesday and Wednesday, MGIS and the Lycee International of Saint Germain-en-Laye worked together with the Child Labor school. But really, it was the children who did all the work. One of the activities we proposed was for them to make their own puppets. From a cardboard box cut-out, the children made the most creative and colorful puppets – more than anything I had expected, thanks to the material and markers at their disposal.
Some of these new puppet designers clearly had some experience in sowing. One light skinned girl in blue bangles cut the cloth out as if she were making a top for herself. She chose the material boldly and snapped right ahead to make a stunning puppet.
Others meanwhile, were novices at the art, and were a lot more tentative. One grinning but timid boy was unsure of the material to choose, shy to go forward and take one for himself. When I would give him something, he tilted his ear to his shoulder, neither disagreeing to my choice, nor approving of it. But thanks to group stimulation, he ended up picking up two different patterns I would never have thought of, yet so perfect together. He even added a belt for the effect.
One thing united all the children in their making of one, two, or even three puppets for the most efficient. All of them were calm and quiet, and more than simply implicated in their work. I have the image of a tall boy crouched down in an uncomfortable looking position, meticulously cutting around the puppet’s body, his free hand delicately pressing down the material, in deep absorption in his creation. This image is reflective of the whole group. They took immense pleasure in making the dolls, dressing them according to their own wish, naming them and making each their very own.
All I can hope for is that it was as much an enriching, confidence-boosting experience for them, as it was a memorable and unforgettable one for me. Those kids are adorable, gifted, and so capable of achieving great things. It is essential to give them a chance.
Marie Eichwald (Lycee International)