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Religious Youth Service

Youth Leaders Participate in RYS Project in Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal—A Religious Youth Service (RYS) project took place in the cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara, Nepal from March 17 to 23, 2016, with the theme, “Youth for Peace and Social Transformation.” Forty-three young people from nine nations participated in the one-week program, which was co-organized by UPF-Nepal, and included community-based volunteer work and cross-cultural learning experiences.

Among the participants, who came from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Nepal, Vietnam, Sierra Leone and the United Arab Emirates, was the founder of a youth organization, the president of a nonprofit organization and a peace advocate. Mr. Piya Ratna Maharjan led the project.

RYS projects promote interfaith and cross-cultural understanding by providing opportunities to learn about various faiths and cultures. The participants visited a Christian church, a mosque, a Buddhist temple and a Hindu temple. For many of them, it was their first time visiting different places of worship.

In addition, the participants learned about the culture, traditions, and religious heritage of Nepal by visiting local families and interacting with the local community.

The volunteering component of the project involved painting Library Hall at and information pillars located throughout Tribhuvan University’s Prithvi Narayan (PN) campus in Pokhara. And a temporary learning center was donated to a school in Lalitpur that had been damaged during the April 2015 Nepal earthquake.

An interaction program, in which the participants shared about their culture, faith and traditions, was also held at the PN campus. One of the participants from Pakistan said: UPF Founder “Rev. Moon’s teaching is creating the bridge of love, breaking the walls and boundaries between different races, cultures and ethnic groups.”

Dr. Robert S. Kittel, director of education of UPF-Asia, gave a very inspiring message, as well as  Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, chair of UPF-Nepal and Nepal’s minister of Peace and Reconstruction, and Rev. Santosh Paudel, vice chair of UPF-Nepal, who both encouraged the participants to continuously work in their fields and speak words of hope to the people they serve.

One of the delegates, the elected mayor of Karachi in Pakistan, said RYS was a great platform for knowing different religions and cultures.

“The RYS-Nepal project was not only very informative and service-oriented but also the most disciplined event that I have ever attended. I look forward to taking part in future RYS projects, and I will recommend them to other people as well,” said another participant, Ms. Sirotulnaimah Naimah from Malaysia.

The Russian team, led by Mr. Dimitry Samko, secretary general of UPF-Russia, shared that the project was a very positive taste of Asian (Eastern) culture by a Westerner.

During the project, all the participants, especially those from India and Pakistan, built warm friendships.

The project concluded with the awarding of certificates, by Hon. Dhakal, to the participants, and a cultural night in which the participants showcased their country's culture through singing and traditional dancing.

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