Puppetry: Old Kibera Primary School


On Thursday, 13th July 2023, Nzumari Africa took the Samosa Festival to Old Kibera Primary School in Kibera where they engage approximately 50 -60 students, 3 teachers and a team of about 10 representatives from Plan International in a puppetry performance and discussion on Drugs, substance and alcohol abuse and life skills.

Synopsis of the performance

The performance was centered on Ngwaci whose Father is an alcoholic. He is dirty and his school uniform is torn. His father introduces him to alcohol by lying that it was tea. His school performance drops significantly from being the top student to the bottom.student. His school mates including his desk mates talk to him and he agrees to report his problems to the class teacher who among other things agree to invite Ngwaci’s dad for a meeting to discuss the future of his child.

Question to pupils

What did you learn from the performance/ what message was the performance trying to drive?

  1. The effects of drugs, substance and alcohol abuse
  2. Abuse of drugs and alcohol is harmful to our health
  3. Taking drugs and alcohol is bad

What are some of the factors contributing to drugs, substance and alcohol abuse among students in primary school?

  1. Peer pressure from friends that are already abusing drugs especially during holidays and weekends
  2. Parental influence; from the performance, we see Gwaci’s father who is an alacoholic giving Gwaci alcohol to take as tea
  3. Curiosity; Students wanting to experience what it feels like when they take drugs and alcohol
  4. Stress influenced by parents at home or friends and teachers in schools
  5. Parental neglect leading to influence from the surrounding environment to abuse drugs so as to feel like they belong

From the performance, what are some of the effects of drugs, substance and alcohol abuse?

  1. Drop in performance/ Poor academic perfomance; Gwaci used to be top of class but due to stress from His Father’s abuse of drugs and alcohol, he was dropped in his performance and even became no 58 out of 59
  2. Reporting late to school; Gwaci started coming late to school as a result of sleeping late upon waiting for his father to arrive and also as a result of his father’s noise throughout the night
  3. Isolation; Gwaci started isolating himself because of the stresses he was experiencing
  4. Loss of friends; At some point his friends isolated themselves and even started gossiping about him
  5. Poor hygiene; Gwaci started coming to school with dirty clothes and looked very unkempt because his father was not paying attention to how he looked while going to school
  6. Increased risk of abuse; Gwaci was already exposed to taking drugs and alcohol by his dad, therefore a risk of him finding himself abusing the drugs and alcohol

How can we prevent the abuse of drugs and substance use?

  1. From the performance, we see Gwaci’s friends helping him by just listening to his problems
  2. His friends also refer him to their Teacher so that the teacher can understand his situation
  3. By learning the effects of drugs and substance abuse especially how harmful they affect our bodies for example; it may lead to Lung cancer, bronchitis etc
  4. Avoiding peer pressure from friends who are abusing drugs and substance use
  5. Engaging an adult/ family member to intervene in the event the parents are abusing drugs
  6. By seeking help from the people around us; talking to a friend, teacher or a close relative

Teacher’s input

We are grateful to the project for engaging our students because we have such cases in our schools where students have alcoholic parents/ some have started engaging in abuse of drugs and substance as a result of peer pressure. From the engagement I believe as students we have learned that Drugs and substance abuse is bad and even harmful to our health and it has negative effects to our life in school generally. It is also important to engage us teachers in the event you realize your friends or other students are into drugs and substance use because it is an offense. It is also key to engage students in such extra-curricular activities to help them relax because not all of them are good with school work. A balance of both school and extra-curricular activities is key because it gives them motivation to be active. 

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