For the first time in their lives, dozens of African orphans were invited to a Christmas play last week. What was truly special about this particular performance was that it was performed by Israeli Jews.
The Key Theatre is an Israeli children’s theater founded by writer Dikla Katz and actor Avi Zlicha. The pair was brought first to the Ivory Coast by the Israel Embassy there to help make the holiday a little more cheerful for those most needy.
The two orphanages where the performances took place have for years been the beneficiaries of Israeli aid. Katz and Zlicha also put on a special workshop on puppetry and theater for local teachers and art students.
A total of 250 local orphans were able to attend the two performances. “It was exciting to watch the children. For most of them, it was the first theater experience in their lives,” an official at the Israel Embassy said.
Meanwhile, in Ethiopia and Rwanda, Israeli diplomats flew two Israeli puppeteers in to put on a workshop on how to help children suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
In Senegal, a pair of Israeli dancers arrived to provide a truly unique experience. One of the dancers, Amnon Damti, was born deaf. He and his wife and dance partner, Jill, put on an outstanding performance for 100 deaf students from schools across Dakar. According to local media in Senegal, the children were deeply moved, and participated enthusiastically in the dancing and sign language class that accompanied it.