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Religious Youth Service

RYS Renovates Fishponds in Bali

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Bali, Indonesia - Under the theme of "Creating World Peace for the Next Generations'', RYS Indonesia held an annual, international project in Bali, in conjunction with Youth in Action for the Next Generations as part of a worldwide joint project with 8 other Asian, African, European, and countries.

This project focused on activities within the SOS Desa Taruna, a nongovernmental, social development organization for orphaned children. With the organization's social commitment, the emphasis is on family-based, long, term care for orphaned and abandoned children and integrated, community-based relief programs for families in need.

Altogether 35 participants gathered. Hindu-Muslim-Christian dialogue in the RYS style, visit to Hindu temple, leadership and peacemaking skills training, daily reflections, a cultural program and community outreach were the core activities implemented at both the SOS children's village at Tabanan and the SOS boys dormitory at Denpasar.

Highlights of the eight-day project, held July 11-18, included a welcome by the SOS leader and performances by the children. The Orientation Program began with enthusiastic introductions, ice breakers, sharing of fears and expectations regarding the project, united visioning, and teambuilding to bond participants in the project. One participant referred to the orientation as a "Wow opening".

As the orientation ended, the service project was introduced. The central service component of this RYS project was the renovation of two fishponds, expected to provide a food source for SOS. The initial work on the fishponds was to transfer the sand and bricks nearer to the work area, then close the holes in the fishpond with bricks and then start the process for a new dam foundation. All the participants formed a human chain to carry tons of sand and bricks to their designated work places, and soon a substantial portion of the dam was built.

An introduction was offered to Pistes Solidaires, the main coordinating group for the worldwide project "Sustainable Youth Development for the Next Generations," followed by a stimulating interactive "Dream Workshop."

In the days that followed, the service work consisted of clearing the fishponds of plastic trash and cans, digging the soil near the dam area, preparing and pouring the cement into the ditches to build the dam for the fishponds. It took only two days for the united participants to achieve the first project goal - renovation of the fishponds. It was very satisfying to see the final results of our hours of hard work and cooperation!

Participants also invested their hearts and souls into renovating the garden around the SOS boy's dorm, where they planned to plant vegetables as a source contributing to the SOS boys' healthy diet. Additionally the SOS boys atteded a series of educational programs taught by the RYS trainer from Malaysia, Shanta Veno Gopal.

Simultaneous with the RYS project in SOS Bali, some quality time was allocated for the Pistes Solidaires project to do research via interviews with the orphan youths, to evaluate how their outlook had been transformed as a result of the changes they had gone through in this orphanage, including basic education and life skills learning.

The RYS work project finished with a Cultural Night, which included great performances with every group contributing their songs and dances.

Though the youth participants hailed from different cultures, they concluded the project in sharing common experiences and common emotions of appreciation for one another, gratitude for their own lives, compassion for the SOS students and a strong hope to bring a better future.

During the reflection time, the group also shared in the scenic beauty of Bali, and had the opportunity to visit different religious sites and to experience different faith traditions ? a culturally eye-opening experience for all. This activity included a visit to Tanah Lot, a Hindu Temple perched precariously on a rock by the sea, where everyone took part in a Balinese-Hindu ritual. Later, the group offered prayers in a big mosque in Tabanan town. These were new and amazing experiences for everyone that will not be easily forgotten.

At the closing ceremony, the SOS leader R.B. Haryono offered a beautiful and colorful, framed painting of a Balinese garden, created by a SOS third grade elementary student, as a thank you gift from SOS to RYS Indonesia.

July 11 - 18, 2009

 

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