Ububele is an Nguni word meaning kindness.
























Ububele’s training in mental health centres on preventative strategies for children under the age of seven, their parents and other caregivers. Ububele prepares, field-tests and offers training programmes which are informed by a blend of Western psychoanalytic thinking and African indigenous knowledge systems.

Click on the course name to view details.

Developing the Emotional Literacy of Children using the Persona Doll
The Persona Dolls were originally used in the US and the UK to fight discrimination.  Ububele proposed that social auxiliary workers, ECD practitioners and other psychologically untrained individuals could use the Ububele Persona Dolls in the development of emotional literacy in young children.  Both the practitioners and the children benefit from being able to name, articulate and communicate their emotions, especially difficult and traumatic ones.

The Ububele Persona Doll Project is a unique and innovative approach aimed at encouraging communication and developing the emotional literacy of children.  Over 300 practitioners have joined in the Ububele Persona Doll project since its inception in 2003.  Two educational psychologists have completed their Master’s research on the effectiveness of the Ububele Persona Dolls and both showed significant positive results.

The Ububele Persona Doll Project uses life-size rag dolls that are made at Ububele as part of a job creation project for unemployed women from Alexandra Township.  Each Doll is unique, just as each child is unique.  ECD practitioners, social auxiliary workers and caregivers working directly with children are shown how to use their Doll to talk to groups of children about their feelings.  During the programme, the practitioners give their Doll a name and a persona that is similar, in terms of culture and life experiences, to the children with whom they are working. 

For example, Ketiwe, left, is a 5-year old who attends Toy-Toy Pre-school.  She lives with her mommy and her gogo in 9th Street in Alexandra.  Her daddy used to work in Polokwane but he got very sick and last year he died.  She misses him very much and it makes her sad that he doesn’t come home for the holidays anymore.  Ketiwe gets worried that her mommy is so sad.  She also worries about who will pay for her to go to school now. 

The doll “visits” the children. The practitioner, “talking” through the doll, can use the doll’s story to help the children to talk about similar experiences that they have had.  Through working in a group, children can see that they are not alone and can get support from the children around them.  Due to the fact that it is an existing person in the children's life who is trained, a relationship has already been established and language barriers have been addressed.  In addition, the project builds the capacity of people already established in the community.  There are not enough trained mental health professionals to deal with all the children who need some kind of intervention.  By empowering ECD practitioners, childcare workers and caregivers, we can assist non-professionals to take the first step in addressing some of difficulties that are experienced by children. 

The programme treats the child holistically, and focuses on socio-emotional development.  It concentrates on the child’s emotional development and thereby influences all aspects of their learning.   The programme has the added overall benefit of improving the child’s interaction with the ECD practitioner, counsellor and caregivers, who are helped in their understanding of the child. 

The dolls appeal to children and adults alike, and make talking about difficult experiences easier for both the child and the ECD practitioner.

The course comprises eight 4 hour sessions.

Session 1: Introduction
Session 2: Planning for a Safe Group
Session 3: The First Ububele Persona Doll Session
Session 4: Continuing with your Doll
Session 5: The Importance of Feelings
Session 6: Emotional Meaning in Persona Doll Groups
Session 7: Attendance, Containment and Endings
Session 8: Endings


Persona Doll
project video..
Click here to view