Humanitarian and Youth Programs


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Religious Youth Service

Education, Service, and Sightseeing with Religious Youth Service in Cote d'Ivoire

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Amanvi, Cote d'Ivoire - On September 14, Religious Youth Service (RYS) completed its second 2008 project in Cote d'Ivoire, held in Amanvi in the eastern region of the country. Participants from the United States, Benin, and Cote d'Ivoire gave 70 youths the hope of being able to attend school. As in all underdeveloped countries, especially in the more remote villages, school facilities are not in good condition.

The RYS participants arrived in Amanvi on September 8 after a six-hour drive. The local community provided a warm welcome ceremony. Philbert Seka, the project developer, opened the orientation by sharing the details of their service in Amanvi and by explaining the expected code of conduct. The project had three main components: education, service, and sightseeing.


The education program was provided by Mrs. Ana Corbiella Olson and Miss Diesa Seidel, both from the United States. Each morning, quotes from famous philosophers, religious leaders, anthropologists, and former presidents from around the world were presented for meditation and discussion. The quotes focused on peacebuilding, service to others, and loving each other as brothers and sisters. The participants were also taught that they are responsible for transforming their own communities.


The service began with the building of a traditional bridge to link Amanvi to a small village. The participants were helped by the local youth, who carried the building materials — wood, sand, and gravel — and did cleanup around the river. It was a proud moment for them to serve together in this way. Eventually, the service effort became focused on building the house for the teachers. Last year, because no house was provided for the first-grade teacher, more than 70 children were unable to attend school. Although the roofs of six classroom buildings built in 1950 needed to be replaced, the village people decided to concentrate on building the house for the teachers as the most urgent project in 2008. 


Sightseeing was a wonderful part of the project. On September 12, the participants left Amanvi to visit the Adzope residence of the Government Minister of Economic Infrastructures, Mr. Patrick Achi, who was waiting for the group. There, the participants had the opportunity to visit some villages and participate in celebrations with the ministers the next day. Participants also learned about the local use of fish and animal breeding, and learned how to make blocks. Before departing, they took a short boat trip on a lake.

Religious Youth Service is giving hope to communities around the world through its projects and trained young people, who are taking ownership to create a world of peace.

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