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Religious Youth Service

18th Friendship Americas Project Takes Place in Guyana

Participants: 40 Religions Represented: 6 Nations Represented: 5

Georgetown, Guyana— 18th Friendship Americas Project 

The 19th RYS Friendship Americas project was held in Georgetown, Guyana this year. Guyana, while hosting its first RYS, provided a warm welcome for participants at the City Hall through the cooperation of Mayor Hamilton Green and the Interfaith Council of Guyana. The support of Mayor Green and a number of IIFWP Ambassadors of Peace was especially significant because our educational program focused on preparing these youth leaders to become future Ambassadors of Peace.

Duration: August 12 - 25, 2004

Central Work: Fence construction, painting homes, environmental cleanup

The project attracted 40 participants from 5 nations and 6 religions and through living together and joining in many activities in this pluralistic culture, each person was able to make unique and valuable contributions. Among the highlights of the program were visits to a local temple, a mosque and churches, which served to offer a powerful experience to many making the cultural cross for the first time. Participants would hear from the spiritual leader of each place of worship and then join in a meal and fellowship with the community.

This spirit of understanding grew also through work efforts, laboring side by side with one another at the local Habitat for Humanity site, which provided fencing for new homeowners. In addition, participants served at a local home for the elderly, learning to break down conceptual barriers relating to senior people.

It was apparent through the widespread media coverage of the work on TV, radio and in newspapers that there was high interest in the projects. There are hopes that this project laid the foundation for further work in the area of service and interfaith dialogue in the future.

Agencies: Habitat for Humanity, YMCA

Key Sponsors: IIFWP, office of the Mayor, Georgetown

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