Beaford Arts

The Otesha Project UK

Beaford Arts Otesha Project
Beaford Arts Otesha Project

Children from Winkleigh, Black Torrington and Burrington primary schools arrived at Beaford Arts' Greenwarren House for a day with the Otesha Project UK.

Otesha is a worldwide movement set up by young people who want to inspire their generation to think about the way they live, and to bring about environmental and social change.

One of the ways they do this is by staging cycle tours, stopping off at various locations and holding workshops for children.

The Otesha UK visit to Beaford was part of a Land's End to John O'Groats tour which started on July 2nd.

The cyclists arrrived the night before, ready the next day to lead the workshops and give a performance in the afternoon. They were all volunteers who were working together for the first time, some were graduates or at university, one had just finished her A-levels and two members of the group came from Canada and the United States.

After a fun warm-up games session, local children took part in The Great Banana Chain Game, where they learned about Fair Trade, shopping and where foods come from. In another workshop, DIY Ethical Fashion, they turned Tetra packs into wallets and were shown how to transform old clothing into fashionable items. A third workshop, Grow Your Own, focused on food and learning about farming systems, climate change and Fair Trade.

In the afternoon Otesha performed Morning Choices. The play followed a little girl called Gilly as she got ready to go to school and brought up topics such as fashion, water-usage, food, transport and television advertising.

One of the Otesha team, Thalia, said: "I love doing the workshops. There is so much positive energy, the kids thinking about things and coming up with fantastic answers.

"Otesha is about being better people, learning new skills and testing boundaries. It's the small things you can do that will make the biggest difference, as long as you've got the enthusiasm."

Head teacher at Burrington Primary School, Jean Cobbett, said: "The drama was the highlight for me, it was very engaging and inventive and there were messages which were really simple to understand. The idea of the character getting up in the morning was something the children could immediately relate to.

"I think the children also related to it as it was a group of young people talking to them, someone who wears cool trousers! And to have people from America was very exotic for our children.

"It was all very entertaining and set at a good pace with short workshops, and having some games meant there was not too much sitting down.

"I admire them. To take it on and deliver it to 4-11 year olds is a very complex thing to do."

Find out more on the Otesha Project UK website.