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Religious Youth Service

Religious Youth Service Brings Nigerians Hope for Peace

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Kassa, Nigeria - “The Religious Youth Service has leaped where others could not dare,” commented a journalist who followed the participants in the five-day RYS program. Young people from across the country were mobilized to do community service in Kassa village in the Birkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State in May 2005. These villagers suffered much destruction during the time of religious conflict.

Both Muslims and Christians formerly occupied this community. RYS teams assisted in providing a water well for the survivors. Surface water, which is the main source of drinking water in the area, became polluted. As a result, an outbreak of Bilharzia, a water-borne disease, hit the population. The community worked with one common goal – to service the needy through digging the well.

RYS and its mission in the state were later introduced to local civic and religious leaders. Responding to an explanatory speech about the RYS mission and activities, one religious leader expressed that he was amazed that “Young people like you could take on a mission of building peace beyond religious borders. I pray that the spirit behind the vision of Religious Youth Service should fill in all the spaces and crevices in the minds of other youths.” All the great religions speak about peace, but all too often, religions have been a cause of wars.

Peace becomes a mere word when it is not backed with genuine acts of selflessness and sacrifice. In support of this assertion, the Religious Youth Service team presented relief supplies to the displaced persons at a mosque immediately after the Islamic evening prayers. The recipients’ eyes filled with tears when they heard that the RYS group was made up of participants of different religions. There was a deep-hearted vote of confidence for RYS from the displaced persons.

Drawn by the force of love and admiration, Muslim youths gathered and listened to the program introduction presented by Amb. T. S. Kerim (a Muslim). They said they were ready to undergo training in building interreligious harmony, and serve as volunteers.

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