Storyteller engaging with the children during CPI storytelling workshop in Kenya.

CPI's Storytelling Program in Kenya to Help Vulnerable Children Heal

On July 23, ChildsPlay International (CPI) and our Storytelling Partner in Migori, Gloria Ochola, held the first storytelling session for vulnerable girls in Migori, Kenya. In the beginning, there was a mixture of jitters and anxiety among the children.

Gloria writes:

“It was not clear how the children would react. Their teachers also wanted to understand how the session would impact their students.”

Gloria introduced the activity to both the children and teachers, describing the scope, objectives and expectations after the session. She talked about culture and children’s upbringing, pointing out that there was always a moral teaching, (besides entertainment), in every folktale story that was told to children. 

Girls singing and dancing during storytelling session
Gloria Ochala is CPI's Storytelling partner in Kenya
Gloria Ochola

Meet Our New Storytelling Partner in Kenya

Gloria Ochola collaborates closely with TEO, a dedicated local non-profit organization that focuses on advancing women’s rights and fostering youth development.

The first storytelling session began with the students, all girls, being asked to crack jokes, as a way of setting the climate for the Storytelling session. As the girls listened intently to the captivating Kuria folktale, they were left with a mix of emotions due to its powerful and emotional nature. The happy ending provided a sense of relief, but the sadness and challenges faced by the characters left important lessons for the young minds to learn.

The Folktale about Boke and Robi

The story had three characters: Boke, the orphan Robi and her mother. 

Our dynamic storyteller shared a poignant tale about Robi’s mother mistreating Boke, an orphan, by forcing her into arduous labor. This while Robi, her own daughter, heartlessly laughed at Boke’s plight.

Questions to the Students

Later, the storyteller asked the students to identify the issues that emerged from the story. The attentive girls astutely pointed out several key themes.

  • Firstly, they recognized the presence of envy in Robi’s mother, which led her to mistreat Boke due to her vulnerable status as an orphan.
  • Secondly, they observed disdain in Robi’s behavior towards Boke, as she participated in the mistreatment by laughing at her suffering.

An Uplifting Message Within the Story

The students also noticed an uplifting message within the story. The girls recognized that despite the hardships and cruelty Boke faced, her humility and hard work ultimately brought about positive outcomes. The students expressed a powerful notion that acts of hatred and violence directed at vulnerable individuals can unexpectedly lead to blessings for them.

Throughout the storytelling session, the children remained deeply engrossed and enthusiastic about the impactful and compelling story.

Girl drawing her impression of story told during Storytelling session

The Girls Drew Pictures of Boke

After the storyteller had finished, and the girls had discussed the moral of the story, they were asked to draw. They actively engaged with its themes and drew valuable insights about human behavior, empathy, and the transformative power of positive virtues.

A girls drawing during storytelling event Kenya
A girls drawing following a CPI storytelling event

The Moral of the Story

The students highlighted the importance of patience and appreciation in the face of difficult circumstances. They acknowledged that enduring hardships can provide valuable life lessons and equip vulnerable children with essential life skills.

Girls and drawing made during storytelling session Kenya

Student who drew Boke during storytelling session Kenya
Young girl with her beautiful drawing of Boke doing chores.
children during storytelling event

Read the Blog "Storytelling for a Brighter Future Kenya"


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