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Religious Youth Service

RYS Participants Help Rebuild a School in India

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India – RYS India 2006 implemented a special service project deep in the forests of India. Participants were warmly welcomed by the Muthuvan tribal people, who were very happy to receive outsiders coming to offer substantial help. The project motto, "Stretching Beyond the Comfort Zones," proved an apt description of our experiences, both during the arduous 7-kilometer journey through the reserve rain forest to the worksite each day, and while carrying out the hard physical labor there. These efforts were intensive and required a mindset of sacrifice and strong will power.

The heavy wind and rains of the monsoons previously demolished the school building. The downpours caused widespread destruction of farmlands and buildings of the hilly areas of this tribal settlement, and even some lives were lost. The RYS participants were instrumental in the critical reconstruction of this local school building.

Prior to and following the service activities, workshops were held to inspire project members and to give them social tools to facilitate frank and sincere interactions with one another and the area residents. Also, a painting competition was held for children from different nearby schools, on the theme "World Peace."

There were trips organized to visit the local temple and churches, which were powerful experiences for many of the participants in making the cultural cross for the first time. The evenings reflected the feeling of the whole project by their simplicity and a sense of togetherness. Cultural presentations were offered by RYS members, and a tribal dance group of 20 artists entertained the participants with the ancient dance form of the tribe. All participants received certificates at the end of the project in recognition and in remembrance of their hard work and loving service.

Participants: 37 Staff Members: 9
Religions Represented: 5 Nations Represented: 4

 November 7-14, 2006

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