Unification News for February 2003

Nepal RYS Project

by Dr. Kishor Rajbhandari

In the situation of national conflict and low public morale, like that of the present situation in Maoist affected villages in Nepal, the Religious Youth Service (RYS) can be of great significance and bring great success. This was exactly the case with the first RYS Nepal Project(an Ambassador for Peace Project) held in Barahathwa, Sarlahi, Nepal, December 20-24, 2002.

It was conducted on the Asiatic regional level, and the project included building a garage and an office room for the ambulance service. The site is a Maoist affected area and is about 350 km from the capital city of Kathmandu. The project was inaugurated with a tree plantation initiated by a local person belonging to an untouchable cast. [There is a cast system in Hinduism consisting of Higher (Brahman), middle (Kshetri), lower (Baisnab) and untouchable (Chhudra) divisions].

One of the Ambassadors for Peace, Hon. Ram Hari Joshy, (Former-Minister of Education and Tourism) was the initiator and inspiration for the project. The participants were from different faiths, cultures, professions and localities of India and Nepal. The project was designed to bring the participants "heartistically" closer together, so different activities were included in the program to bring this result. Cultural exchanges, interactive educational programs, brainstorming and sharing sessions and games, and visits to historical places excited all of the participants.

Overall however, the construction work was the centerpiece for everyone to come together. The local people and local VIPs joined in to work together with the participants. Some local persons came with cold juice and fruits to feed the participants and the working people. It was like a festival for the entire village. In the later part of the program, the local people joined in the interactive educational programs and cultural exchange programs as well.

During the closing ceremony, participants shared their deep feelings of love for the villagers and for each other. They expressed their experiences with the greatest joy. National and international students with bachelors and masters degrees worked with joy and excitement in the village for the local people and left a great impact on the villagers and local VIPs. At the closing ceremony, the local VIPs stated that they came to know from the RYS program what they needed to do and how to do it. They also expressed their commitment to continue this project.

Hon. Joshy was the guest of honor at the closing ceremony. After hearing everybody’s sharing, Hon. Joshy congratulated the educational efficiency of the RYS project and thanked Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon for initiating these activities worldwide. He also emphasized the importance of this project within the context of the present situation in Nepal, where the whole country is under the severe dominion of Maoist activists.

In conclusion, we can say that the success of the project outweighed any expense. Not less than two thirds of the project budget came from the local institutions and local people. The building is bigger than initially planned. There were only 15 RYS participants, however the whole village could be educated from this program. To work for the sake of others is the highest service we can do and to develop it within our own personal lifestyle is the highest reward for any human being. That was the lesson learned from RYS Nepal.

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