As part of the program of the Genfest, an international youth festival which envisages the participation of young people from all over the world, there will be a session where concrete actions are presented. Here we publish a few of the initiatives which demonstrate how many of these young people are dealing with problems and challenges they face every day.
One experience among many is that of the young people in Colombia, where the rain hasn’t let up for more than a year, with over 500 people who have died and gone missing and nearly 3 million people who have suffered damages. They started from Soacha, a city on the outskirts of Bogotà and together with the adults they organized a campaign to collect supplies and clothing. They also received 200 pairs of boots and a quantity of food that they distributed to the families most in need. Today the situation has worsened, because of illnesses and problems of living together in the camping grounds. They continue to collect supplies and stay close to the people.
Catania-Bujumbura: The bridge between the young people of these two cities was materialized in a keyboard. From a Skype video-call in which the African band “Gen Sorriso (Smile)” (who will perform also in Budapest) sang in Kirundi, the “Galilei” High School youth of Catania (Sicily) came up with the idea of offering them a keyboard. In order to accomplish this they launched the operation “An ice-cream for Burundi.” In the following link-up, an intercontinental virtual concert with drums and guitar (in Burundi) and the keyboard, that for now is still in Catania, but is destined for Burundi’s band.
The challenge of diversity – Buddhist and Christian youth have held 3 symposiums to share one another’s thoughts and experiences regarding topics like commitment for peace and living and transmitting Faith, thus creating a network of friendship and interreligious, intercultural and international fraternity.
72 Muslims and Christians of 5 countries of the Middle East and North Africa will meet for the first timein Budapest and, in record time, they have to put together the choreography that the groups have learnt in their respective countries, thanks to the virtual lessons passed around from one country to the other via YouTube. The same with the youth of India: Hindus of the Ghandian Shanti Ashram Movement and Christians have worked together for months on their dance, which wants to express the diversity of religions and castes present in their country, in a classical Indian style.
Num, a Buddhist girl from Thailand will speak about it on September 1st at the Genfest, while a Christian from Nazareth and a Muslim from Jerusalem will tell the 12,000 young people present what it means to live for fraternity in the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and of the difficulty of living together for three religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Among them are also young people who don’t have any religious belief, but who share the commitment to live for a united world. But each of them is in the front row, there, where they live, with the problems and challenges they face every day.
The United World Project, conceived and developed by the youth of the Focolare Movement and open to everyone’s collaboration, which will be launched in its first phase in Budapest, aims to highlight and promote fraternity already under way by individuals, groups and nations. It will also start up a permanent international Observatory, recognized by the UN.