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Salvadoran Youth Showcase Transformative Project on Toronto Stage

Salvadoran Youth Showcase Transformative Project on Toronto Stage

Posted by Juan Gavasa on October 01, 2014

TThe EsArtes Theatre Group is a program run by EsArtes, an arts and vocational institute that works to transform the lives of youth in and around the region of Suchitoto, El Salvador.

Professional artists from Stratford, Ontario’s Shakespeare Festival — designers, sound and light technicians, costume designers and cutters, directors and actors — volunteer there as teachers who work to empower students to become self sufficient and to take active roles in advocating for positive social change within their communities.

The EsArtes project was started in 2009 and in five years saw $500,000 worth of in-kind volunteer time and expenses from Cuso International support. During that time, 47 volunteer placements within the EsArtes project were filled.

EsArtes programs include:

Performing Arts:  Youth who have limited access to higher education and employment are trained in scenic art, props, sewing, history, English, computer science, geometry, dance, voice, acting, business management, house management, performance production, design, light and sound.

Theatre Group:  The group uses performing arts as a tool to prevent violence and to strengthen a culture of peace. Youth are trained to professionalize performing arts and trades in El Salvador. Cultural identity is also explored and theatre is used as an outlet for understanding, expression and transformation.

Social Outreach: Social responsibility is promoted within and around the community through youth who are the direct beneficiaries of the EsArtes project. This includes workshops on violence prevention in grade schools and high schools for students and teachers in Suchitoto and also workshops with community leaders. The workshops serve a dual purpose as educational and teaching opportunities for students and alumni of the program.

Cuso International is a non-profit international development organization, working to improve the lives of people living with poverty and inequality around the globe. Each year Cuso International mobilizes hundreds of volunteer professionals who work with local partners to create positive lasting change. Established in 1961, Cuso International is a registered charity in Canada and the United States.

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