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Religious Youth Service

Religious Youth Service Helps Build a Community Center in Gorkha, Nepal

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Gorkha, Nepal - A Religious Youth Service Project was held in Gorkha, Nepal August 9-16, 2009 with participants from the Baha'i, Jain, Buddhist, Christian, Unificationist, Hindu, and Islamic traditions building a new community hall, visiting religious sites, playing in a friendly football match, and spending time building relationships with children and the elderly.

The opening ceremony with beautiful dancing and cultural performances was aired on local FM and the Avenue TV channel. Following the opening ceremony, everybody went to the project site to lay the foundation for a new community hall. Foundation stones were laid with the prayers and invocations offered by Buddhist and Hindu leaders.

Dr. Robert Kittel conducted the education programs on Universal Principle of Peace. Presentations were also made on human rights and conflict resolution. Each morning, the participants took part in devotions led by representatives of different religions and educational sessions to help them understand the local culture. These were followed up by work periods in the misty, breezy weather of Nepal.

The participants served in various ways. Some carried bricks, cement, sand, and gravel to the worksite. Others worked on the roof and plastered the building. Still others worked on the waterway, cleaned the garden, and planted beautiful flowers. The school children and people from the local community came to help at the work site. With support from Religious Youth Service, the Gorkha community now has many treasured experiences of working together and will benefit from the project for years to come.

Activities also included visits to religious sites, visits to cheer hospital patients, and a friendly soccer match with the Nepal Football Association for children under the age of 14.

A seminar at the Gorkha Bisauni Hotel for people participating in the service project was also attended by many Ambassadors for Peace of Gorkha, distinguished guests, religious leaders, and the chief attorney. The purpose of this seminar was to promote interfaith harmony within the local community. Many people expressed their gratitude to Religious Youth Service for holding such a wonderful project and seminar in Gorkha.

Afterwards, Shri Shri Shri Maha Raja, a visiting Hindu leader from India, paid a courtesy call to the president of Nepal together with Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, a member of the Constituent Assembly, and Mr. Piya Ratna Maharjan, RYS-Nepal Project director. The president expressed appreciation for this type of international service project taking place in Nepal.

The capital of the Gorkha district in north-central Nepal, Gorkha offers magnificent views of snow-covered mountains. It is the birthplace of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who united the kingdom during 18th century. Nepal is a multiethnic and multireligious society, with 81 percent of its people Hindu, 11 percent Buddhist, and 4 percent Muslim. The Buddha was born in what is now Nepal, and there are both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the country.

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