Unification News for August 1996
Youth Federation for World Peace holds Seminar on Sexual Purity in Accra, Ghana
by Bismarck Bamfo-Accra, Ghana
After the victory of ten thousand couples blessing, 1995 (95% were previously married couples through interfaith activities), we had the opportunity to receive our True Parents for the first time in the history of our nation-Ghana.
In their meeting with the president of Ghana, True Parents encouraged him to quickly introduce moral and spiritual education in the nation, especially among the youth. True Parents said that when a nation starts to develop economically, in most cases the important aspects- the development of moral and ethical values-are often ignored. True Parents further explained that religious education should be based on logic in order to satisfy the inner desire of modern man.
As guided by True Parents, our target should be the creation of a movement for sexual purity. The movement should also be able to protect the youth from alcoholism, drugs and smoking. With such a movement, we can provide method, direction and the goal of world unification by tackling the above issues realistically and logically through the teachings and blessing of our True Parents.
As part of this goal and to fulfill the goal of 10,000 young elites in our nation for the Blessing '97, Youth Federation for World Peace was established. The main problem facing our nation is the spread of HIV/AIDS, STDs and teenage pregnancy. In 1986, we had only 42 people who had AIDS. Today, we have over half a million people infected with the HIV virus.
Government officials have lost hope and do not know what to do with the problems affecting young people. Even though religious people are preaching loudly on radio and TV, they are powerless when it comes to the issues in question. Where is the hope then? Who is going to guide our nation and world as we prepare to enter the 21st century? It is you and I, centered on True Parents' thoughts and blessing.
Despite being influenced greatly by Western culture, the majority of Ghanaian youth do associate with some churches or religion. Most of them have been entrenched in their churches and hardly listen to the teachings of other denominations or religions.
On Apr. 29, we decided to organize our first seminar on May 25, 1996 at the British Council Hall. We had no funds at all, yet we felt the seminar was for a good cause, and under all circumstances it should take place. What was our motivation and purpose? Our motivation was very clear: first, to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, STDs and teenage pregnancy across the nation by exposing the selfish attitude of condom promoters, and the limitations of condoms themselves. Second, to awaken the public, let them know the truth and have hope through the YFWP presentation.
To achieve this goal, we invited all the media groups in the nation (newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, etc.) to attend. We further invited the National AIDS/STDs Control Program (NACP) representative, the minister of education and the minister of health to present papers. We also invited representatives from the rest of the government ministries.
Moreover, the mainline churches, Christian council, Catholic secretariat, Ahmadiyya Movement, Federation of Moslem council and the general public, including students, were invited. Why did we invite such a broad spectrum of people? We had a questionnaire on which we intended to draw a resolution requiring the participation of these people on the agenda.
Simultaneously, as we were inviting people, some specific companies and organizations were given letters to sponsor our seminar either in totality or partly. The initial responses were all negative. Through our determination, prayers and support from brothers and sisters, we were sure that the tides would surely change at the appropriate time.
We paid for the hall on May 10, 1995. From May 15, we started receiving responses from the media that they could not donate money; however, they could advertise on our behalf (before and after) on the radio, TV and in newspapers. Four days before the seminar, it started appearing in the newspapers, TV and radio. Our budget for the seminar 1,200,000 cedis (approximately $900). Even though we couldn't receive funds, almost all the required logistics were handled by other people and companies. Therefore we only incurred a small amount of debt.
The Day of the Seminar
The day before the seminar, we had to check and confirm with the media, paper presenters, sponsors, etc. In the morning, everything seemed fine. Beginning at 9am the weather changed. It rained the whole day and we felt it was already a victory for the seminar.
On the day of the seminar, we went to the British Council Hall very early, around 8:30am, to put up our banners and a few things together. To our surprise, the British and French governments together with a beer company in Ghana were sponsoring a youth conference also on the issue of AIDS at the same hall. We felt it was really Satan. Why was it satanic? First, the only TV station had to cancel our appointment to cover our program for the sake of this particular conference because they paid a huge amount of money for coverage. Second, the content of their presentation (as we sat in and listened) was dedicated toward the promotion of condoms.
Fortunately or unfortunately, Heavenly Father had to intervene; only 62 participants including their staff, the media and our members who were present at the time of their conference. After their conference (which ended at 12noon), they started to drink alcohol and the same evening they had all night get-together, dancing and drinking. Can you imagine what went on during and after their get-together? Only God knows.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Youth and Sports was organizing fundraising football match between local teams, South African team and Ghanaian playing in Europe. Under all these circumstances we felt God and True Parents were on our side and therefore we must win victory. We quickly arranged the hall, putting up our banner, testing the sound system, our slide projector, etc. In the meantime, invitees were coming in their numbers. In all, we had 292 participants who attended.
The Education and Health Ministers who were to speak did not come. Their assistants came to present their papers. Representatives from the National AIDS/STDs control program presented their view on the subject after presenting our viewpoint, exposing the shortcomings of condoms and providing participants the need to SAVE SEX until the right time.
The hall was emotionally and spiritually charged and the NACP representative was confused and had nothing to offer. The open forum was very exciting as people were "shooting missiles" at the NACP representative. Before we closed, we drew up a resolution which was the climax of the whole event. Everyone felt the seminar was extraordinary and wished it to be organized in all the schools. It was total victory for God and True Parents.
Follow-up and Future Plans
After the seminar, we continue to receive phone calls, people requesting to become members of YFWP. In addition, two other organizations have registered with us to become cooperative members. Those willing to become members have to follow YFWP aims and objectives. This includes abstaining from illicit sex and refraining from alcohol, drugs, smoking and behaviors which would tarnish their future leadership qualities. Through YFWP and AIDS campaigns, we feel the process of purifying society has already started.
In the meantime, effort is being made to follow-up to provide further education (moral, ethical and Divine Principle). The ministry of education is also discussing how we can be sponsored to reach out to all schools, colleges and universities to share with them. Through this mission, we hope to save the nation, because the future of every nation depends on the youth. Second, we are also inviting serious ones to workshop, ultimately to become candidates for Blessing '97.
Meanwhile we have only one slide projector and a set of slides on Richard Panzer's Free Teens, HIV/AIDS/STDs, and Pregnancy Prevention. To reach out and fulfill our goal, we will appeal to members to assist us with these logistics: one or two slide projectors, a screen, slides on Unification Thought (theory of original human nature; axiology; education; ethics; art and history). Formerly socialist nation, CAUSA slides will also be helpful to clear the minds of those who are still insisting on socialism.
Contributions can be sent to:
Youth Federation for World Peace-Ghana
P.O. Box 11626, Accra-North, Ghana
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