Unification News for March 2001

The IRFF at work in Hungary

by John Gehring

IRFF has officially been registered in Hungary this year and is now undertaking its official work yet the foundation of the IRFF began in Hungary a decade ago with international cooperative efforts with the Religious Youth Service (RYS) and the Forum Ost. Some of the past projects which IRFF was involved in include the building of a Peace Garden at the Orphans Village in Fut, constructing a shelter in Pec for battered women and building a shelter for homeless men. In Tatabanya , five schools had volunteers work on both construction and restoration projects.

The IRFF Hungary chapter was officially introduced and registered on October 14-15 in Budapest and on November 10th in the city of Pécs. Pecs is currently serving as the national headquarters of IRFF. On December 3rd as part of the IIFWP sponsored conference on the theme: "Implementing the Culture of Peace: Universal Human Values and Community Service" in Debrecen and Budapest the IRFF made presentations concerning its international work and its recent environmental project..

IRFF is concerned with creating a safe and healthy environment for future generations and in many nations this is a pressing issue. In Budapest, the IRFF helped organize and recruit volunteer workers on a one day cooperative program with the Green Future Association.

This program began on Saturday morning with a presentation by Mr. Massimo Trombin, the IRFF Director of Field Operations. He spoke to the volunteers and gave an introduction to help the listeners understand more clearly how to work cooperatively and organize meaningful programs. Among the questions that volunteers discussed were: "What does it mean to work in a team?", What does peace mean for you?

Participants engaged in lively discussions in small teams and gave reports of their opinions. This provided a foundation for greater trust and helped prepare the volunteers for the task ahead. Ferenc Kecskés, a biologist and botanist gave a view of the work of Green Future Association and he also explained the flora and fauna of the Tétényi area and shared why it is currently a protected area.

Following an afternoon slide presentation as an introduction to the IRFF, Ms. Erzsébet Tomka, a photo artistís, showed an exhibition concerning this yearís IRFF project in Uganda in which she took part. A common dinner concluded the evening a common dinner.

On Sunday morning at 9.30 the volunteers arrived at the Tétényi Plain Research House and were they meet by Péter Mészáros and Ferenc Kecskés the Presidents of Green Future who were active in organizing the work of the volunteers. Students from a local primary school joined in the work which was to clean one section of the Tétényi Plain of the species do not naturally belong to this area.

With a variety of tools in hand the volunteers went after the plants that the botanist directed with the words, "these have to go". The work lasted all morning and into the afternoon with axes swinging, shovels digging and paths protected from intruding cars and bicycles. Even with a short work period a huge area was cleared and we felt that we had achieved our goals.

The program concluded with a time for reflection and sharing our experiences along with a time for celebrating with a pizza-party. Education, training, environmental work, fun, sharing and friendship; surely this was a very special weekend for all.

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