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Religious Youth Service

Filipino Religious Youth Service Project Promotes Muslim-Christian Dialogue

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Nabunturan, Compostela Valley, Philippines - The Religious Youth Service (RYS) held its project in the Philippines particularly in Nabunturan, the capital town of Compostela Valley Province. The theme for this RYS project was: "Religious Young Leaders: Building Bridges of True Love for Peace and Unity." Muslim-Christian dialogue, visits to a mosque and a church, leadership and peacemaking skills training, daily reflections, a cultural program, and community outreach at Maahad Nabunturan Al-Islamie highlighted the May 23-26, 2009 project.

Participants invested their hearts in service together to renovate an old dilapidated Muslim preschool through repairing the roof, painting the exterior and interior of the classrooms, and beautifying the stage. They also did a bit of gardening around the preschool. Locals of Nabunturan within a five-kilometer radius of the site benefit by this school.

As always, participants created strong bonds of friendship. One expression of that dynamic was shared by participant Sanimar "San" as follows:

"If I'm not mistaken, it's more than 24 hours since we said goodbye to each other and everyone departed from Nabunturan. But until now, I'm still HIGH on RYS! RYS really left a mark on me: a mark of hope, peace, friendship, fun, learning, and growth. Even considering how short a time it was—but damn, I must say that it was really a life-changing activity. To all participants: Thanks for everything. We may differ in many things (religion, culture, personality and experiences), but still it will not hinder us from becoming united and helping each other to achieve one single goal...world peace! Thanks a lot!"

This project was co-organized by Muhammad Riza Dalkilic of the Risale-I Nur Institute Philippines and Raul Caballero of the Municipal Council of Nabunturan. Facilitators of the program were Dr. Sherwin E. Agravio, MD, an RYS alumnus from the Youth Federation for World Peace, and Ms. Fazida A. Razak, RYS Project Director and Educator. Massimo Trombin, Executive Adviser of RYS International and Service for Peace, and Charles Philipps, Ph.D., President of Service for Peace, also graced the activity during the third day.

Muslims as well as Christian youth leaders from various churches—Roman Catholic, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, and Pentecostal—all participated. Participating groups included: Ateneo Law Student-Advocates for Bangsamoro Rights (AL-SABAR), Ateneo de Davao Legal Advocacy Works (AdDLAW), Sigma Legis Fraternity and Sorority, Ateneo Samahan Central Board - Campus Clubs Organization (SAMAHAN-CCO), University of Mindanao (UM) Student Government, Ateneo Moro Youth Organization (AMYO), Mindanao Inter-Muslim Youth Organization (MIMYO), Inter-School Muslim Organization (ISMO), Learn Kagan Muslim Foundation, Nabunturan Christian Fellowship Youth, Central Baptist Youth, United Youth of the Philippines and Risale-I Nur Institute.

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