Humanitarian and Youth Programs


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Religious Youth Service

RYS and Local Children Stitch Tablecloth for Feeding Homeless in the Netherlands

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"I made new friends, and I was inspired by other people's beliefs. I think that actually talking person to person gives much more meaning to the words they share. To hear firsthand how others feel and live is incomparable to any other way of understanding. We truly fulfilled the motto of this weekend, 'Going beyond Culture, Race, Religion.' I will miss everyone very much."

- Rebecca Taium van Dortsen


Netherlands RYS Netherlands 2009 participants both made patchwork as well as became a patchwork. Project volunteers partnered with Thuis Op Straat (TOS), a local organization which offers afterschool programs for children. Participants set up a tent and some tables in a playground where they assisted the children in decorating pieces of cloth. The children were very imaginative and enjoyed painting-turning a small square of cloth into an original creation. For two days, the participants helped to piece together the cloth, adding their own creative sections. The patches were sewn together into a beautiful cloth which was then given as a gift to the Stichting Marme, where it would serve as a tablecloth when regularly feeding the homeless.

When not on the playground, RYS members also had an opportunity to hear a lecturer speak on the Hindu faith, and guide us through some of their meditation. On Saturday, we visited an Islamic mosque which was built in the Turkish style, and opened in 2001. RYS participants toured the facilities and had the occasion to offer prayers together, and ask questions about the Islamic faith while sharing Turkish tea. Later that day, the participants had dinner in a Turkish restaurant, in downtown Rotterdam.

On Sunday, the group viewed the RYS video and heard a bit about RYS history, introduced by Georgia, RYS international representative. In the afternoon, participants visited the Sikh Gudwara, where a representative explained the tenets of the Sikh religion and also led a mediation session. This was followed by their Sunday Ceremony, snack and lunch. The group then traveled to the shopping area to purchase food for our intercultural closing banquet meal.

After a short period of reflection, our group was entertained by a famous multicultural choir. The choir offered songs from Holland, Germany, Russia, Suriname, Portugal, and Indonesia. The project closed with a multicultural meal prepared by all of us together. This concluding meal was French, Dutch, Japanese, American, Marshall Islander, Surinamese, Jamaican and Italian, and it was the best meal of our project!

July 3 - 5, 2009

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