Compasito - Manual on Human Rights Education for Children
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General Human Rights Discrimination
Summary of activities
Human Rights calendar

42. Zabderfilio

Nobody for one and one for all.

Themes General human rights, Discrimination

Level of complexity Level 1

Age 7-10 years

Duration 35 minutes

Group size 5-35

Type of activity Storytelling, reflective activity

Objectives • To discuss the concept of ‘All Different – All Equal’
• To reflect on the meaning of tolerance and diversity
• To discuss violence and conflict management
• To understand the principle of universality

Preparation • Practise the puppet show beforehand.
• Make a puppet to represent Zabderfilio: an animal that has characteristics of different animals (or you can use the handout).

Materials • A puppet theatre or similar arrangements
• Different animal puppets, a hunter puppet, a presenter puppet, and a Zabderfilio puppet, such as in the handout

Source: Adapted from a puppet show developed by the Portuguese group 'AnimaÁŠo e Inovacao Social', (MAIS):


  1. Gather the children in front of the puppet theatre. Explain that they have to be silent and stay in their seats when the puppet show is running. They should only speak when the characters ask them questions and nobody should try to touch them.
  2. Run the puppet show. Ask the children questions regularly to keep their attention and to work towards the learning objectives.

Debriefing and Evaluation

  1. Debrief the activity by asking questions such as these:
    • How do you feel about the story?
    • What happened during the story?
    • What animal do you like the most? The least? Why?
    • Were the other animals fair towards Zabderfilio?
    • Why did they act as they did?
    • Why you think the other animals finally became friends with Zabderfilio? Because he was the strongest? The best looking? Or because he was brave and generous? Or a mixture of different talents?
  2. Relate the activity to human rights by asking questions such as these:
    • Have you ever seen anyone treated the way the animals first treated Zabderfilio?
    • Why does this happen in real life?
    • Are we all the same and still different? In what ways are we all alike? And what makes us different?
    • What can we do to avoid some children feeling as Zabderfilio did when no-one would be his friend?

Suggestions for follow-up

The children can perform this simple story with puppets themselves and put it on for another group of children. They could also make their own puppets and/or develop another story. Other stories in Compasito could also be dramatized as a puppet show (e.g. ‘Modern Fairytale’, p. 113; ‘Once Upon a Time...’, p. 125).

Ideas for action

Ask the children to think what it would be like if a ‘Zabderfilio’ joined their group. Help the children develop an internal ‘code of conduct’ towards each other, respecting each individual and his or her differences. Hang the code in your meeting space and refer to it whenever appropriate.

Tips for the facilitator

  • Instead of having a real puppet theatre, use a blanket to sit behind.
  • Use whatever animal puppets you have available. If you do not have the necessary puppets, make the puppets using cut-out cardboard drawings or old socks.
  • Adapt your Zabderfilio to fit your imagination. He might have the ears of a rabbit, the horn of a rhino, the nose and whiskers of a mouse, the mane of a lion, the pouch of a kangaroo or any other combination that fits your story. In any case, he should look weird and have at least a conspicuous nose, a loud voice and the ability to move silently. You can also adapt the story to fit any puppet you may have.
  • With larger groups, have a second facilitator to help with the process of question and answer between the group and the puppets.


Introduction: (made by a ‘presenter puppet’ who is not part of the story)

Presenter Puppet: Hello, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. I’m happy to see that everybody is ready to listen and watch today’s special show!

Well, I can tell you already a little bit of the mystery of today. It all takes place in the world of the animals. And in that world, just like ours, not everything is beautiful and not everything is ugly, not everything is normal and not everything is weird. But – there are always surprises!

And this story is about one of these surprises. It is the story of a very special animal called Zabderfilio. Watch and listen carefully. Please stay where you are, otherwise the animals might run away and we will never know what happens at the end of the story. See you later!

Summary: Zabderfilio meets different existing animals one by one. Each of them considers Zabderfilio a very strange animal. Zabderfilio is looking for friends but none of the animals want to be his friend because he is ... just weird!

Below is an example of one of his encounters:

Giraffe: (Comes on the stage and talks to the children) Hello, everybody. Do you know who I am?

(Audience: You’re a giraffe.)

Giraffe: How do you know? Am I wearing a nametag somewhere?

(Audience: Because of your long neck, your colours...)

Giraffe: Yes, you are all right. And I have the longest neck of all the animals in the world. I can see a long way, and I can eat from high trees without any great effort!

(Zabderfilio comes on stage)

Zabderfilio: (Very friendly and eager) Hello!

Giraffe: WOOEEEHAAA ... you scared me there for a second, sneaking up to me like this. But wait a minute, who are you?

Zabderfilio: I am Zabderfilio.

Giraffe: Zabberbadderdiloooo-what??

Zabderfilio: My name is Zabderfilio and I’m looking for friends. Do you want to be my friend?

Giraffe: Er, um... I don’t know. You look very strange to me! You are not a mouse, not a lion, not a kangoroo, but you look like all of them. All my friends are one thing or the other and not a mix like you! Excuse me, but I have to go see my friends! Tee hee hee, you are really strange and ugly!

Zabderfilio: (With hurt feelings) But, but – wait a second ...

(Giraffe has already disappeared and Zabderfilio talks now to the audience)

Zabderfilio: This makes me sad. Why didn’t Giraffe wanted to be my friend? Well, let me walk a little bit longer in the forest and see if I meet any other animals to play with.

None of the animals Zabderfilio meets wants to be his friend. After several encounters, suddenly, a hunter comes on stage. He is hunting animals. Each time one of the animals comes on stage, the hunter tries to grab it, but they all run away, screaming for help.

Then the hunter disappears from the stage, looking in the forest for the animals, and Zabderfilio reappears. He asks the audience what all this noise was about.

After the audience explains the situation, Zabderfilio uses his nose of a mouse to smell the hunter (Aha, with my keen nose I smell a hunter nearby!), his feet of a cat to walk without any noise (I think I can use my cat feet to sneak up on him!) and his lion scream to scare the hunter away (And now I use my huge voice to roar like a lion and frighten him away. ROAR!).

After this heroic deed, the other animals come closer and apologize for their nasty behaviour. They all ask him to be their friend, and Zabderfilio gladly accepts. All the animals say goodbye to the audience and the ‘presenting–puppet’ appears to make the final comments.

Presenter Puppet: Well, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen. That was the story of Zabderfilio. Did you enjoy it?

He certainly was a funny looking beast! But he was able to help his friends because he combined so many different parts. Next time you see someone who looks a little unusual, I hope you think of Zabderfilio – that person may have talents you never dreamed of and make a wonderful friend.

handout: sample zabderfilio