24 teachers from this very rural area of KwaZulu-Natal were each given their own Persona Doll and during a workshop they were shown how to use the dolls. The session started with a song and participants practised creating the Persona for their Dolls and learned how the process empowers young children to talk about difficult issues.
The objectives of the training were
• Practitioners will become more aware of their stereotypes of people.
• Develop anti-discriminatory attitudes and become more able to combat exclusion and unfairness.
• Session with the dolls increase participation by children, develop the active listening skills of teachers and encourage them to accept each child’s responses and give positive feedback.
• The dolls will make it easier for the practitioners not to impose their own ideas on the children.
• Teachers will step back and let the children identify the dolls feeling and problem solve.
• Teachers will be able to use the Doll’s feeling and problem solve.
• Teachers will be able to use the Doll to react to issues as they can also use them pro-actively to raise issues of discrimination and prejudice e.g around disability, language, culture, faith, health and HIV/AIDS.
• The Doll can help to turn the culture of the group away from teasing,name-calling and exclusion towards caring, respect and support.
Thobekile Zulu led the training.
She summarised; “All objectives were well met and inline with the expectation of the practitioners. 24 Practitioners gained from the training.”