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The “Childhood Rainbow” promotes diversity and reaches children in Turkmenistan’s remote areas

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, 10 October 2012 – “The Childhood Rainbow” puppet performance, developed by the State Puppet Theatre of Turkmenistan with UNICEF’s assistance, travelled to remote areas of Turkmenistan reaching thousands of children of pre- and primary school age, including children with special needs.

The "Childhood Rainbow" performance at the Mary region public theatre. - UNICEF Turkmenistan / 2012

The State Puppet Theatre troupe travelled from 20 September to 10 October throughout the country with twenty performances in public theatres and boarding institutions for children with special needs. The final performance will be shown on 10 October in the State Puppet Theatre in Ashgabat.

The national puppet tour is the continuation of the initiative of UNICEF and the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan on raising awareness on disability and diversity issues in communities and overall promotion on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The initiative places strong emphasis on child rights, equity, inclusiveness, child participation and early childhood development. Last year the State Puppet Theatre travelled with the performance to velayat centres, whereas this year they visited Serahs, Farap, Magtymguly and other etraps in all five regions of the country.

The “Childhood Rainbow” puppet performance was developed to highlight the rights of all children, including children with disabilities. The symbolism inherent in a rainbow was also conveyed in the spirit of the show, signifying the diversity and richness of childhood - ranging from a child’s learning of life skills, feelings and responsive attitudes to developing an understanding and respect for human dignity, including of persons with disabilities.

The characters of the puppet show represent various fruits, berries, and vegetables symbolizing the diversity of children, including children with disabilities. The Plum is a child who is deaf and cannot speak and who fears that she is not able to express her feelings and opinions in the same way as the others do and who, as a result, feels estranged from society. However, her new friends Orange, Melon, Strawberry, and Watermelon convince her that the world around is for all children regardless of their nationality, social status or beliefs. Plum’s friends succeed in instilling confidence in her, inspiring a subsequent stream of expressions of happiness.

The performance was designed with considerations of cultural, developmental and emotional relevance to young children. The interactive mode of the show not only enabled a dialogue with young audiences but also created an atmosphere for children to dance, sing, recount rhymes and become genuine participants in the story. Children, their families and caregivers enthusiastically welcomed the performance, became inspired with the spirit of equity, and felt emotionally satisfied with an idea that all children are equal and that societies can and must be inclusive of children with special needs.

For more information please contact:

Ms. Ayna Seyitlieva
UNICEF Communication for Development Officer

Ms. Gulyalek Soltanova
UNICEF Communication Officer
Phone: +99312 425681/82/85/86
Fax: +99312 420830



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