Religious Youth Service

Religious Youth Service Promotes Positive Change in Chennai, India

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Chennai, India - Religious Youth Service's 2008 project in India, “I Can Change,” targeted renovation to a hostel which houses young underprivileged girls. The building, which is more than 100 years old, was in bad condition. The 30 enthusiastic participants did a great job renovating the building, giving it a much needed facelift.

The March 1-7, 2008, project took place in India’s fourth largest city, Chennai, located on the southeast coast.

Volunteers cleaned the premises, scraped the old paint off the wall, mixed concrete for injection into the structural cracks, and re-enforced the walls with iron rods. The work was telecasted by Jaya TV, one of the most prominent television channels in Chennai. The greatest reward for RYS India 2008 participants was to see the joyous smiles of the little girls’ faces when seeing their home given a new look.

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Each day started with a morning meditation to rejuvenate the mind and the body. Educational workshops were held in the afternoons and in the evenings. Various subjects were covered including family values as related to religious standards, interactive sessions, personality analysis, development, and much more.

Mr. Ronan, RYS participant from Sikkim, commented, “I am so excited here. I never had such a wonderful experience ever in my life; I have changed. I am sure that RYS will go forward making a big difference in youths and society.”

Mr. Dilip, RYS participant from Andhra Pradesh, added, “It was such a great experience to have the feeling that we can do many things for the poor if we really wish to and dedicate ourselves. The educational program was really informative and I realized that teamwork can do wonders.”

Mr. Liswith Obinamuni, RYS participant from Sri Lanka, said, “RYS is the best experience I have had in my 19 years of life. I’m sure any youth who takes part in RYS projects will say the same too. It is life-changing and self-challenging—an intriguing spice of life.”

A sense of unity and amity was witnessed by both national and international youths. Each participant took a vow to focus their hopes and aspirations toward creating harmony and peace in the world. The participants were emotional and tearful as they said their goodbyes. It was certainly one of the most memorable experiences for all those involved.

NOTE: Project participants included Hasith Eranda Kandandahewa and Radisha Colonne, two students at the Royal College in Colombo, Sri Lanka. A newspaper report after their return said that Hasith and Radisha were active in extracurricular programs in political science, Sinhala language, and the student bank, and noted that they had passed their university entrance exams. The report described the project as being “intended to promote the spirit and practice of co-operation among youth of different religions and cultures to prepare them for a more inter-connected future in this era of globalisation.”

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