Unification News for December 1998
Reaching Out to the Young People of Lima
by Fritz PiepenburgLima, Peru
We have been receiving various requests from other Latin American countries, asking for information on how we are working with young people in Lima, Peru, and how we could achieve the (relative) high number of matching candidates. Well, here is the full story.
It all began with a lucky encounter with the Prefect of Lima (who calls himself the 4th most important person to represent the nation, after the President of the Republic, the Vice-Presidents and, maybe the Prime Minister).
This man turned out to be a real fan of everything relating to the family. He shares with us the strong conviction that both, good and evil in society, originate from within the family. Very soon, after he familiarized himself with the Family Federation for World Peace and its objectives, we agreed to hold a one-day seminar for all the governors of the 43 state in Lima. The Prefect himself would call upon the governors, who almost all attended, because attending convocations by the Prefect is part of their job anyway.
With the blessing of the Prefect, we held a one-day seminar, demonstrated videos and gave talks on topics like "How to Become Good Citizens", "Leadership and Society", "AIDS and Its Prevention in a Social Context", "Family Values and Family Education" etc.
In fact, the speeches were so well received that we held more seminars, not only for the governors, but each governor would organize his vice-governors and other leaders from his/her district and invite us to do a similar (this time half-day) seminar.
The last seminar was about "Youth education" and "A Campaign for Sexual Purity". Here in Lima we do have a big problem with abandoned or half-abandoned young people (mainly between the age of 12 to 18 years) who organize themselves in groups, developing their own hierarchy and group dynamics, usually drifting into drugs, alcohol, prostitution, theft and robbery. These groups have become a big hazard to social peace and security forces are breaking their head to come up with some solutions to the problem.
While the answer from the police is usually a "get tough" message, and the lawmakers have passed a special law allowing the police to detain these small villains and put them into "educative custody" (which is another word for prison), our approach is much more positive: educating the parents to become better parents and awaking their conscience and feeling of responsibility for their children. Healthy homes, which will produce healthy citizensthe governors and other community leaders like this idea and are ready to cooperate. At the end of the seminar, we handed out certificates to all community leaders, nominating them "Promoters of the Campaign to Save the Youth and the Family", which they all received enthusiastically.
The second stroke of luck was a visit to the director of a Pedagogical Institute, a highly dynamic lady, who knows what she wants and does it without any delay. We offered a course of capacitation in "family values" and "leadership" for all of her students. The support of the governor of the district was crucial. When we visited the director together with the governor, who is a person of public standing and of confidence, the director was quickly convinced that this was a good thing and, within a matter of minutes, came up with a plan to teach the entire institute morning and afternoon for three consecutive days, 4 classrooms a time.
Opening and closing ceremony was done as a joint project of the Family Federation, the Governorate of the District and the Directorate of the Institute, which gave the whole event a very profound, official and serious appearance. Within three days, we could reach all of the 1400 students of the institute, offering two main speeches: "Formation of Character" (based on the chapter on Education of the Unification Thought) and "Formation of Inter-Personal Relations" (based on the chapter on Ethics). In between we presented the international pure-love campaign and explained the international blessing project.
A folder was being handed out to each participant. The center piece of the folder reads "Youth Campaign or Sexual Puritya New Vision on Sexuality and Matrimony". And here we discovered a surprising fact (surprising at least for me, coming from the "old continent"): the young people, all future teachers and thus multipliers (if consciously or not) of their own views and concepts, were very open to our teaching of morality and ethics. Yes of course, all of them desired a lasting partnership, a faithful spouse, a happy family and children. When we told them, this is how it works and that is what you have to do to realize all of your dreams and aspiration, they were all ears and took it all in. As lecturers we preferred those members who had already established their own families and therefore could talk from "first hand experience" about what conjugal partnership and rearing children is all about. The lecturers spoke very directly and without any false shame about husband-wife relationships (something we all learned from True Father), and it was very well received by the young people, who were grateful for the candor and bluntness.
Later on we handed out a questionnaire, with questions based on the lectures. The last question on "inter-personal relationships" reads: "Would you be willing to participate in an international marriage and why?" Some 70% of the students answered positively and those were later on invited to come to the Family Federation for more education in a second phase. Of course, from answering a question in the affirmative till becoming a matching candidate is still a long way to go, but the first step may be the most important one and it is not too difficult to take.
After this very successful experience with this one institute, we contacted more institutes, colleges and universities, always accompanied by the governor in charge. Thus, until the present moment, we have reached some 4000 young people at more than 20 institutes and colleges, always carrying the same message.
Working with the youth has been a particularly gratifying experience. These people are in the prime of their lives with all their dreams and good intentions for a happy life. It also showed us the potential power of the Family Federation as a useful and valuable institution which has a lot to contribute for a more healthy and stable society.
(If you want to receive the folder we are usingall in Spanish of courseyou can send me your e-mail address to "firstname.lastname@example.org" and I will forward a copy to you).
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