Peace Education

Planting Seeds of Hope in Tucumán

A festival was held on January 28, in San Miguel de Tucumán, a city in northwestern Argentina. It is called the "Birthplace of Independence" and the "Garden of the Republic" because of its historical significance.

The initial meeting gathered representatives from different social and political areas to listen to a presentation about the vision of One Family under God. Ambassadors for Peace from many fields of endeavor, together with NGO representatives, journalists, and young leaders, attended this first meeting. Among those leaders there were the City Hall Director of Health, Dr. Alonso, who offered all his support to organize an interesting social action program in the town; the anthropologist Juan Carlos Yapura, a descendant of the original native people of that region, who held a special ceremony invoking the protection of the ancestors; and Pastor Juan José Sánchez, who offered a prayer. 
An historical step

The following day, a group of enthusiastic young people cleaned up the main squares and parks of Tucumán using cleaning supplies offered by the municipal authorities. The idea was to inspire people in each area: political, cultural, religious, media, and NGOs, with the consciousness of being part of one global family under God.

The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Regional Director, Gerardo Alcaraz, is the main promoter of this program together with Pastor Rubén Contreras from Buenos Aires explained the purpose and the meaning of the social action project. Starting from Independence Square, the young people cleaned the area around the Museum House, where on July 9, 1816, a small group of patriots declared the independence of Argentina. Following an interesting itinerary, the activity ended with a donation of clothing to the local children's hospital, Hospital Niño Jesús.

The seed

The young people who participated in the service activities wore shirts with slogans: "Celebrating Life" and "A Global Family under God." Also they carried signs such as "For Tucumán without drugs, AIDS and alcohol." During the activities many people noticed them and approached them expressing their surprise and appreciation for the initiative. "It's beautiful what you are doing!" "Everybody should do what you are doing!" and "I want my children to know all about this," people said.

At the end, the participants gathered to reflect on their experiences during the activities. Many ideas emerged about how to inspire people with the vision of One Family under God.

"This was only the seed. We have to show that all this has great value. This has to be multiplied," reflected Mario Agostini, leader of an NGO who arrived from another province (Salta) to participate in the event.  

Translation by Rosetta Conti Castellán

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