16 County Weekly News * Thursday, June 16, 2011 Joanne Courneya-FitzRoy A group of 11 youths from the Otesha Project performed a play about consumerism and environmental responsibility for the students of Sophiasburg Public School Monday, June 6. The youths between age 19 and 28 were on a two-month cycling tour from Kitchener to Ottawa, performing their play at many schools along the way.

Otesha Project visits Sophiasburg School

Joanne Courneya-Fitzroy County Weekly News A group of 15 young people from across Canada visited Sophiasburg Public School in Prince Edward County on June 13, bringing a message of environmental responsibility and sustainable consumption. The Otesha Project is a theatre troupe cycling from Kitchener to Ottawa, performing the play Reason to Dream. The play follows the experience of a typical Canadian teen as mysterious forces confront him with the environmental and social impacts of his daily actions. This sends him - and the audience - on a journey on the path to sustainability, exploring all the positive dietary, transport, media, water and energy use choices we can make along the way. The play was performed for the Grades 6-8 students. The 11 member travelling theatre troupe bicycle from performance to performance. They cycle around 60 km per day and camp on organic farms when they can, where they do work sharing. This helps the group learn about where our food comes from. The twomonth program will cover 1,250 kilometres across Ontario. The group is opening dialogue along their route on how to live in a more sustainable manner and they are exploring the ups and downs of directly addressing environmental and social justice issues through their every day actions. One of the things the group pointed out to the Sophiasburg students was their T-shirts. Many of the shirts were inside-out. This was because they purchased inexpensive second-hand shirts and turned them to the unused inside to print their Otesha Project logo on. This meant they did not contribute to a garment market where clothing is being made in sweat shops. Founded in 2002, the Otesha Project is a youth led charitable organization that uses theatre to mobilize young people to create local and global change through their daily consumer choices. Otesha is the Swahili word for "reason to dream". The Otesha Project has now performed to more than 100,000 people across Canada and won awards for their innovative and effective youth engagement programs. After leaving Sophiasburg School, the group were cycling to other Eastern Ontario venues such as Napanee and Kingston, then heading toward Ottawa.

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