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Education is key to achieving better lives for all who journey on Mother Earth. To consider the lives of the animals closest to us for example, thousands of household pets are handed in to animal welfare organisations as a result of not being wanted any more.


Yet a pilot project carried out at a primary school in the Western Cape, to assess the impact of our Five Freedoms for Animals Puppet Play, performed by the learners themselves, shows that by raising human consciousness through education, we can change social values in a very positive way. We can bring an end to the demoralising stream of unwanted pets.


We can support healthy lives for all animals as part of our ethos as human beings.


Please donate for a kinder world

Who are we?

The Humane Education Trust (HET) hosts the Nature-based Education online platform. 

Our programme is unique and is based on ‘The Five Freedoms for Animals’ which are officially endorsed (alongside the Five Domains for Animals) by the South African government and by the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH). The Five Freedoms are designed to ensure that an animal’s basic needs are met through…

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst

  • Freedom from discomfort

  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease

  • Freedom to express normal behaviour

  • Freedom from fear and distress


HET’s educational programme adds a fresh and challenging dimension to the lives of all learners by embedding an ethos of care and respect for ourselves, the animals that journey through life alongside us, and the environment at large. Through HET’s education platform we offer freely downloadable lesson plans, from Grade R to Grade 12, that are underpinned by the Five Freedoms and are aligned with the Learning Areas ‘Life Skills’ and ‘Life Orientation’ in the South African Schools Curriculum.

Five Freedoms.png

Most importantly, our Five Freedoms puppet play …

  • has won the approval of Education Department top office-bearers

  • has demonstrated a positive impact on learner behaviour and perceptions

  • was presented in 2019 to an international audience at the Summer School in Oxford at the invitation of the Oxford Centre for Animals Ethics

  • has been aired on SABCTV2’s programme ‘Issues of Faith’ programme multiple times (with special permission being granted to show the children’s faces)

  • has been selected for inclusion in The Handbook of Humane Education for world distribution by the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics

More about the Puppet Play...

The Five Freedoms Puppet Play reaches not only the learners and teachers but their families and communities too, developing empathy and compassion for the animals in our care.


The pilot project in the Western Cape, referred to above, was funded by the world’s leading humane education foundation, The Latham Foundation in the USA, and was conducted over a two-year period at Forest Heights Primary School in Eerste River.

puppet play.jpg

Not only did the learners remember the Five Freedoms for Animals fully two years after the completion of the pilot project, without any intervening instruction, but additionally an ethos of respect for the sentience of other creatures became evident in their behaviour. We believe that by raising human consciousness through this hands-on, creative, and interactive role-playing initiative, we can begin to achieve the kind of world we want our children and grandchildren to inherit.

What is our short-term goal?

To elevate the status of animals in South African society through the teaching of the Five Freedoms for Animals in schools.


With financial support we can roll out this initiative in schools around South Africa, culminating in a competition for best performance of the play and best set design at an online event to be arranged for World Animal Day on 4th October 2023.


We envisage this competition becoming an annual, inspirational and

high-profile event.

world animal day.jpg

For this we need your financial support

Funding per 30 schools...

Anticipated costs of project:

  • Hand-knitted Five Freedoms hand puppets – a set of four puppets in 30 schools (for the year 2023) will be supplied. 1 puppet is made at the cost of R100.00

  • Five Freedoms laminated classroom posters at R60.00 each, for 30 schools (for the year 2023)

  • Five Freedoms play manuscripts at R120.00 each x 30 classes

  • Materials for set design: estimate R250.00 per school for 30 schools

  • Printing of certificates and engraving of medals for participating schools

Sub-Sub-total R12 000.00

Sub-total R1 800.00

Sub-total R3 600.00

Sub-total R7 500.00

Sub-total R600.00


Total per school 850.00


TOTAL for 30 schools R25 500

Track record

Recently, Junior Komani added his efforts to HET’s endeavours.

This is what he says:

“Having worked for the Animal Rescue Organisation and the SPCA for 16 years I was astonished at the number of animals that were surrendered each day. It is daunting to know that for every animal who found a home, there are hundreds that were not so lucky. No matter how much time, money or energy is put into saving pets, millions of pets never make it out of the shelter alive. I knew that I had to do something or I would be facing these very same problems decades from now.

I became convinced that mass sterilisations and animal rescue efforts cannot succeed without humane education.

For this reason I resigned eventually and approached The Humane Education Trust which is a leader in its field. Over my 16 years in animal rescue, I attended HET workshops and used their resources extensively in schools. I observed the changes in mind-set that are achievable through creating awareness of this nature.”


HET’s track record includes:

  • Feather Award sponsored by First for Women Insurance Brokers for ‘tireless and selfless work to bring attention to the plight of animals in South Africa’ (2011)

  • Award by City of Cape Town Environmental Resource Management Department for ‘outstanding contribution and commitment to humane education and environmental awareness in the City of Cape Town’ (2013)

  • Inclusion of 34 resources (readers and videos) by the Department of Education as Learner-Teacher-Support-Materials in its school libraries catalogue     

  • Analytics from log-in forms requested from teachers before free access is given to our Nature-based Education online platform show that from January 2022 to date more than 102 schools and 9190 learners were reached.

  • The compilation, editing and production of 86 issues of Animal Voice, the only national magazine on animal rights in South Africa, between 1991 and 2021. See and click on ‘Archives’. 



Managing Trustee | The Humane Education Trust 

Director | Nature-Based Education  Cape Town, South Africa

Email |

Website |

Mobile | 082 457 9177

SA Representative | Compassion in World Farming

Email |  

Website |


Please make a contribution to our efforts to raise human consciousness so that the animals in our care can lead healthy lives in accordance with the Five Freedoms for Animals 

Your donation is tax deductible!

For every donation, The Humane Education Trust will issue a Section 18A Tax Certificate for you to hand in to SARS.

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