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Religious Youth Service

RYS-Thailand Works with Village and Learns from Culture

Participants: 31

Chang-Mai/Baan Nong Gai Village, Thailand—Thirty-one staff and participants attended this first Thailand National RYS Program, held in the Chiang Mai area, Thailand, on October 17-26, 1989. The participants, who came from Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Islamic and Unification traditions, were divided into two teams. These teams were led by international RYS graduates and were guided through an orientation program, which included visiting religious sites of the four representative religions to learn about their basic beliefs.

Work Project:

After the orientation and the opening banquet at Chiang Mai University, the participants traveled forty kilometers to a small village where they constructed a building to be used by the village cooperative for the storage of grain, fertilizer and seed. This work was done in cooperation with village community leaders, the religious leaders, the women's organization and the local school headmaster. Participants worked hard and received cooperation and services from local skilled workers.

Participants took part in several festivals during their stay in the village, and were included in games and contests, sharing the joy and excitement of the gala events. During the village project dedication, the RYS organizers took the opportunity to share the vision of RYS. Then the villagers performed a prayer ceremony while putting ties on the wrists of the RYS members to symbolize their eternal bond with the village people.

Closing and opening ceremonies brought many important guests from the political, academic and religious communities. The interreligious youth who attended the project were from universities throughout Thailand. Each was deeply moved and is looking forward to working together again.

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