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November 2017
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Religious Youth Service

Building Friendship through Service in Kavre, Nepal

Kavre, Nepal - “Building Friendship through Service” was the theme of the Religious Youth Service project at the Metta Center orphanage and monastery in Banepa in the Kavre District of Nepal December 2-9. This project attracted 47 participants from Russia, Egypt, Spain, Pakistan, and Bangladesh as well as Nepal. Activities included community-based service, education in values, leadership training, interfaith visits and dialogues, and cross-cultural learning experiences.

Participants helped spread the message of love, humanitarian concern, and peace through service.

Community-based service:  Participants helped renovate the orphanage and built a wall at the nearby Buddhist monastery, a key spiritual, social, and educational center for the people of Banepa and the nearby capital, Kathmandu.

Values education and leadership training:  This was a strong part of the project, and different religious experts, educators, scholars, and development practitioners delivered high-quality sessions on building peace, creating strong relationship among religious groups, messages and concepts of different religions regarding peace, leadership, and strategic solutions for issues facing Nepal.

Interfaith visits and dialogues: This was the most interesting part of the project, in which all participants visited different religious holy places, including a Buddhist monastery, Hindu temples, a mosque, and a church. During these visits various religious leaders shared about the history of religion in Nepal, peacebuilding strategies among the religious groups in Nepal, creating harmony, and promoting the message of love and humanitarian concern in the world.

Cross-cultural learning experiences: Since participants came from different religions, languages, and cultures in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Eurasia, everyone was interested to know about the various languages, traditions, faiths, cultures, and religions. It was noteworthy that all participants respected each other and tried to adopt positive attitudes.

In the closing ceremony, more than 100 people were invited from all walks of life, including politicians, government officials, lawyers, religious leaders, development workers, and educators. Most Ven. Ashwaghosha Maha Thero chaired the session and praised the idea of building friendship through service; he emphasized talking less and working more. In this ceremony representatives from the various countries presented a multicultural program. Participants from Russia, Egypt, Spain, Pakistan, and Bangladesh offered songs in their language; in addition, the Pakistanis presented their national anthem and a cultural dance.

Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, Minister of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation of the Government of Nepal, congratulated Mr. Piya Ratna Maharjan, director of RYS-Nepal, for arranging such a wonderful event in Nepal. He said in the history of Nepal this was the largest international service project. He also thanked participants for coming from different countries. Furthermore, he promised ongoing support for the orphanage.

See also the report by Russian participants.
For more background on the project, click here.

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