Mummy Tiger and Her Babies: How Children Experience Conflict

Children and youthPost-harvest activitiesSocial issues

Notes to broadcasters

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There are an estimated 20 million children in the world today displaced by war within and outside their home countries-children who have lost parents, served as soldiers and/or witnessed atrocities. This story is intended to help children who are coping with the stresses of conflict, particularly children whose parents have died. Although this is an animal story, the situation will be familiar to a child who has fled from home, lived as a refugee, and experienced feelings of grief and displacement. In its different sub-stories it also addresses the following topics:

  • The responsibilities of child-headed families after the death of parents,
  • Orphans who cannot attend school because of increased work at home,
  • The importance of touching/holding children to help ease fear.

You can use just one or several narrators. The story is divided into parts to show the problems associated with different stages of conflict.

Other programming ideas:

  • Interview a health or social service worker who specializes in childhood trauma.
  • Provide information about local programs, services or resources for children and families who have survived conflict.
  • Provide information about the rights of children in war zones.



: About twenty million children around the world have had to leave their homes, and sometimes their countries, because of war. Children have lost parents, served as soldiers and witnessed atrocities. The story in our program today is a story you can tell children you know who are suffering. It talks about the feelings of children who have lived through war, especially children whose parents have died. Although it is an animal story, the themes will be familiar to a child who has fled from home, lived as a refugee, and experienced feelings of grief and displacement.


Mummy Tiger and her babies lived on the plain. Mummy Tiger played with her babies and slept with them in the cool grass. Every night, the baby tigers – Sisi, Simba and Minka – cuddled against the soft, warm fur of their mother’s tummy. One day hunters stalked the plain, shooting animals. Mummy Tiger and her babies fled. They ran far in search of a safe place, but the babies became separated from their mother along the way.

The baby tigers – Sisi, Simba and Minka – finally found a safe spot far from the hunters. It was a large cage where many other animals had gone for safety. The babies cried for Mummy Tiger because they missed her so much.



: Sisi, Simba and Minka spent a long time in the cage, as hunters roamed the grasslands. Without Mummy Tiger to care for them, the babies felt anxious and alone. They did not always want to play or eat. Minka, who was the oldest, took care of Sisi and Simba. She made sure that her younger brother and sister ate well, and she encouraged them to play with the other animals.

One morning the hunters went away and the baby tigers could leave the cage. Sisi, Simba and Minka cried with joy. But when they left the cage, they were afraid. The world outside was different and scary for them now.


: When Sisi, Simba and Minka were free from the cage, they ran back to the plain. They looked for Mummy Tiger but she did not come back. It was hard for all of the babies to adjust to life without Mummy Tiger. Simba had nightmares about the hunters returning to the plain. When he went back to school he did not talk or play with the other animals. Simba would bite anyone who came too close to him. Minka watched over Sisi and hunted for food for the family. She was tired and unhappy. Sisi clung to Minka and feared being left alone, even for a moment.

One day while Sisi, Simba and Minka were out gathering food, an elephant stopped to talk to them.

“I have been watching you,” said the elephant. “Are you all alone?”

The babies nodded sadly.

“Our mother did not return when the hunters left the plain,” said Minka.

“Follow me,” said the elephant. “I can help you.”

The babies followed the elephant to a meeting place where many animals were gathered. The elephant explained that many of these animals had parents that were hurt or killed by the hunters. Sisi, Simba and Minka sat in a circle and talked with the other animals. They talked about their feelings of sadness, loneliness and fear. Simba did not bite anyone. He said how much he missed Mummy Tiger. Minka said she would like to have someone take care of her instead of working so hard. Sisi said she was always afraid. The elephant gathered Sisi, Simba and Minka in her arms and said, “I cannot change what has happened, but I can offer you my love.”

Sisi, Simba and Minka felt warm and safe with the elephant. They fell asleep against her great grey tummy.



  • Adapted by Belinda Bruce, Vancouver, Canada, from “Mummy Cheetah and her Baby”, in Child Health Dialogue, Issue 12/AIDS Action Issue 42 by Liz Day, HIV Coordinator, Bexley Council, Howbury Centre, Slade Green Road, Kent DA8 2HX and Roya Dooman, Drama Therapist, 8 Harraden Road, London SE3 8BZ.

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