Working with children

We begin by sharing examples of work in response to children. Why? For two reasons. Firstly, Africa is the continent with the youngest population worldwide. ‘As of 2023, around 40 percent of the population was aged 15 years and younger, compared to a global average of 25 percent’ (Saifaddin Galal, 2024). Secondly, children from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, Somaliland and Somalia have all made significant contributions to the field of narrative practice through their engagement with narrative practitioners in each of these contexts. Innovative ways of working such as the Tree of Life, Team of Life, the Suitcase Project, the Garden metaphor and the use of games in reauthoring conversations have all emerged from the African continent.

In this section we hear from colleagues from Somaliland, Somalia, Rwanda and South Africa.

Narrative therapy and children's trauma healing processes by Hafsa Abduallahi (Somaliland)

Here Hafsa Abduallahi shares four stories of her practice with children in Somaliland


Games and narrative practice by Noor Kulow (Somalia)


As Noor described, his work is inspired by Serge Nyirinkwaya from Rwanda:

Enabling sparks to emerge: Games, activities and narrative practice by Serge Nyirinkwaya

Team of Life with Three Siblings who Lost Their Parents by Ahmed Daud (Somaliland)

The Team of Life approach was originally developed to respond to young people who had been involved in wars in Northern Uganda. For more information about the approach see


Tree of Life narrative approach & an Imbeleko philosophy

The Tree of Life narrative approach was the first metaphoric narrative practice. In this 2023 Ubuntu lecture with the African Social Work Network, Ncazelo Ncube-Mlilo explains the history of how this approach was developed and the importance of Africa-centred psychosocial approaches.

More about the Tree of Life approach including a series of presentations by Ncazelo can be found here:  

Other African practitioners have been creating their own metaphoric practices, for instance in Rwanda, Beata Mukarusanga has developed a practice using a gardening metaphor.

Responding to School Difficulties: The Garden Metaphor by Beata Mukarusanga

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