Our Founders

The founders were three friends, puppeteers, colleagues from three countries with one common drive: to enact social change using the art of puppetry and full expression.

Since we believed that the stories we tell ourselves create our identity, the stories that people in diverse communities will tell themselves, and their children, will be stories of strength, of overcoming the odds, of human dignity. Our aim was to provide training for these communities to introduce puppetry as a conduit to their story telling.

founders.jpg

Founders Erica Zoltan Sapir, Rochi Dan and Dina Kaplan

Meet Our Team

Erica Zoltan Sapir edtd.jpg

Erica Zoltan Sapir

Erica Zoltan Sapir was born and raised in Florence, Italy, where she studied journalism.

In Israel, from 1987 to 1990, she studied at the Jerusalem School for Visual Theatre.

Since 1990 until today she has worked as designer, maker of puppets, stage designer, director, and puppeteer in many shows for children and adults, many of which played in major festivals around the world.

In 1993 taking a pause in her career, Erica lived for 9 months in Calcutta, India, working at Mother Theresa’s Home for the Dying and with the children living at the Hawrah Railway Station (in the framework of the NGO TRACKS). This was the seed for her involvement in humanitarian causes.

In 2001 Erica moved to France where, in 2005, she co-founded  with Dina Kaplan and Rochi Dangour, the NGO, Puppeteers Without Borders.

In the framework of this organization, Erica has done workshops over the fourteen past years in Bosnia, Australia, Mexico, Norway, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, France and Germany.

Dina Kaplan edtd.jpg

Dina Kaplan

Dina Kaplan is the co-founder of Puppeteers Without Borders (2005). Born in South Africa and now based in the U.S. she is an arts educator and puppeteer who harnesses the magic of puppets in the service of education. 

 

Working on five continents, Dina has developed applied puppetry workshops for educators, health care providers, lay midwives, and the general public. 

 

In collaboration with the Illinois Holocaust Museum upcoming exhibit on Nelson Mandela, Dina has created an online workshop for teachers with an original children's folkloric paper puppet show, emphasizing resilience. In addition, she is collaborating with a contemporary South African painter, Thabang Lehobye creating a call to action family workshop online 

 

Dina facilitates learning through the use of storytelling, storyboards, and puppet theater. Working in El Salvador over eight years, she created curriculum together with lay midwives, for a peer health education program for woman, to provide support for the challenges that range from sexual violence to street harassment.

 

Dina completed her studies in Art and Printmaking in Johannesburg, postgraduate studies in puppetry and sculpture at the School of Visual Theater in Jerusalem and Drama therapy at Tel -Hai college in Israel. She worked at The Train Theatre in Jerusalem before moving to the USA.

For the last fifteen years, Dina has worked as an early childhood teacher.

Avigail.jpg

Avigail Maayani

Dr. Avigail Mayani is an Israeli Obstetrics-Gynecology physician working with the community in prevention programs. She spent three months in Uganda as a volunteer in the project of HHMF (Helping Hand Medical Fellowship).

Dr. Mayani is involved in creating workshops in medical education for VHT (Village Health Teams) to educate community workers from developing countries about medical issues. She works in collaboration with "Puppeteers Without Borders" facilitating workshops of health education with the use of puppets.

Dr. Mayani is devoted to the idea of educating communities to help themselves.

Nofar_edited.jpg

Nofar Ben Arye 

Nofar Ben Arye is an Israeli art, ecology and science teacher, holding a B.Ed degree in democratic education.

She is an artist, puppeteer and a workshop instructor for environmental education. The workshops are for teachers and adults, as well as children of all ages.

Nofar traveled to Nepal as part of an educational and environmental program with the organization “Tevel Be Tzedek.” As part of the project, she used puppets while working with local teachers and adults, as well as children of all ages.

Her workshops combines art, edu-puppeteer, environmental education. and guided imagery.

Michele.jpg

Michelle Oberman

Michelle Oberman is a Katharine and George Alexander Professor of Law at Santa Clara College. She is a nationally recognized scholar on the legal and ethical issues surrounding adolescence, pregnancy, and motherhood. She works at the intersection of health law and criminal law, focusing on domestic and international issues. Michelle is active in the academic community, lecturing on health law concerns to a wide variety of audiences, ranging from law school faculties to healthcare professionals to community-based interest groups.

She is the author of Her Body, Our Laws: On the Frontlines of the Abortion War from El Salvador to Oklahoma.

Ayala_edited.jpg

Ayala Dangour

Ayala Dangour is an actress, director, writer, singer, and puppeteer.

Nad2.jpg

Nadine Sana

Nadine Sana is a teacher and trainer of P.E.A.T. methods and a certified trainer in non-violent communication. "I like to marvel, laugh and smile... to embellish my life and that of others...and contribute to a better world "

Maya.jpg

Maya Sapir

Maya Sapir is a musician, puppeteer, wildlife rescuer and caregiver, and a lover of life and its adventures.