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Religious Youth Service

RYS Hosts Island Friendship Project in Sri Lanka

 Participants: 40 Religions Represented: 5 Nations Represented: 8

Bambarabedda, Sri Lanka— Island Friendship Project

After 12 years of RYS service projects in Sri Lanka, the RYS has built a strong foundation of alumni leadership that has managed to pull together volunteers committed to peace and reconciliation from each reach of the regions and religions of the nation.

Duration: April 18 - 25, 2004

Central Work: Building a library for a rural school

This project worked to better integrate the RYS alumni from the North with their fellow countryman.

Those from the North suffered greatly in a long civil war and have had very little contact or travel outside their region.

On 19th April 2004, forty enthusiastic participants representing 7countries arrived, after a long winding bus ride up the mountains, to a remote Buddhist monastery, which served to host the community school. Among the group were twenty from the North, who were mostly Hindu, and they were joined by a similar sized Buddhist group from the South.

Rev. John W. Gehring provided a solid start with the staff and participant orientation for the project. Each morning began with meditation where each religion was given a chance to be expressed and appreciated.

Participants were eager to take on the task of providing the children of the countryside a library as part of the local Buddhist monastery and community school. The mornings were full of the physical work of construction, which often involved moving earth and carrying heavy loads. Technicians guided the volunteers through the different stages of construction.

Co-operating Agencies: Mr. & Miss. University

Key Sponsors: IIFWP, Buddhist Temple

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