Religious Youth Service

Building on Friendships Begun at Georgia Religious Youth Service Project

Yekaterinburg, Russia - The Yekaterinburg student who sent a hand-made gift for a Georgian student delivered during the Religious Youth Service Project there during the summer received a gift in return during a celebration of the International Day of Peace on September 22. Appropriately, the celebration was entitled “Urals – Georgia: We’ll Be Friends.”

Activities during the July 16-25 project in Zugdidi, Georgia, included volunteer service in a children’s home: renovating a classroom, washing windows, picking up trash, and planting trees. In addition to providing practical assistance at the orphanage, an important aspect of volunteers’ work was to promote contact and mutual understanding. The main task of a volunteer is to share with people love and trust in goodness.

start stop bwd fwd

“There’s nothing so cheap and at the same time so expensive as a smile and a good word,” in the words of a proverb. But gifts are also very important, so UPF-Russia and UPF-Georgia use every opportunity to exchange souvenirs among the people of their two nations, who have been at war since 2008 and mail service has not been restored. When traveling between the countries in the region, UPF leaders carry mail and souvenirs back and forth.

Since the project in Georgia involved a children’s home, UPF representatives in the Urals area of Russia launched a wide campaign to encourage children to make souvenirs to embody the friendliness and positive attitude of the Russian people. Many citizens joined the program, among them children’s home number 6 in Yekaterinburg. The initiators were happy because this would give the Russian children an opportunity for significant contact with Georgian children. They wanted the children to understand that although they are separated by long distances, still their destinies are in many ways similar: children everywhere experience the same kinds of joys and sorrows.

One girl from the Yekaterinburg children’s home made a cuddly toy and wrote a letter to a peer from the Zugdidi children’s home, in hopes to build friendship with someone yet unknown. In return he sent her a letter and hand-made gift.

At the September 22 International Day of Peace event at the children’s home No. 6 in Yekaterinburg, N.Yu. Yerofeeva told the children about the essence of the International Day of Peace and the importance of creating world peace. She said that peace can be established not only by the efforts of politicians and diplomats but also people of all ages and occupations can make their impact.

At the end of the meeting, the gift and the letter from Georgia were handed to the girl from the children's home. Thus, the participants of the event witnessed the birth of new friendship between children from different countries, both with similar challenging destinies. This also can be the beginning of peace.

For a report about the Religious Youth Service project in Georgia, click here. "Urals – Georgia: We’ll Be Friends" began on the International Day of Peace 2009 as part of UPF-Eurasia's South Caucasus Peace Initiative, a multi-faceted grass-roots program to build bridges among the people of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. To read about the development of the initiative, click here.

If you find this page helpful and informative please consider making donation. Your donation will help Universal Peace Federation (UPF) provide new and improved reports, analysis and publications to you and everyone around the world.

UPF is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization and all donations are tax deductible in the United States. Receipts are automatically provided for donations of or above $250.00.

Donate to the Universal Peace Federation: Your donation to support the general programs of UPF.

Donate to the Religious Youth Service (RYS): Your donation will be used for service projects around the world.

Donate to UPF's Africa Projects: Your donation will be used for projects in Africa.