Humanitarian and Youth Programs


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Religious Youth Service

Religious Youth Service Rebuilds Homes after Guyana Flooding

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Georgetown, Guyana - In the January 2005 flooding, many people lost their homes, and in some cases, their lives. Therefore, Religious Youth Service participants worked with Habitat for Humanity August 11-23 on a housing project on the outskirts of Georgetown.

The leaders and congregants from a local mosque, a Hindu temple and a Christian church-hall within walking distance from one another-warmly greeted the 40 participants from six nations and shared their traditions and food. Deep memories and friendships were made wherever RYS members went. The project also benefited from the generous donations and contributions of local business people and peace activists such as Peter Ramseroot.

The participants in this Religious Youth Service project experienced a strong sense of solidarity almost instantly under the guidance of Nora Mullen, the education director for the project. It seemed like the group members had known each other for ages.

Honorable Hamilton Green, the former Prime Minister of Guyana and the current mayor of Georgetown, the capital city, explained in one of his several talks to the RYS participants that it was no small feat to forge such fast friendships. This is especially true considering the demographic and geographic reality of Guyana. Guyana is a very multi-cultural nation, including people of different ethnicities and religions. Historically, relationships between neighbors have not been the best and, even today, border disputes still remain unresolved. Therefore, RYS volunteers from neighboring nations provide invaluable examples of peace, cooperation, and altruistic service.

Guyana is located in between Dutch-speaking Suriname to the east, Spanish-speaking Venezuela to the west, and Portuguese-speaking Brazil to the south. To the north there is the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, to be in Guyana feels like being on an island. Guyana is a poor nation with problems with drugs and corruption. Even though it abounds in natural beauty, Guyana has not been able to attract tourism or other business that would help the nation make progress economically.

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