Instances of Activities of Fixed Duration
Updated: Apr 11, 2019
Prepared by the Office of Social and Economic Development
A group of youth in Sydney, Australia, involved adults, children, and other youth from the community in a project to clear up littered and overgrown green areas in their neighborhood. They initiated the effort so that space could be provided for parents to play with their children, and for young people and adults to read, play sport, and hold conversations on topics relevant to the well-being of the locality.
In the Canary Islands, a number of youth and adults organized music camps for young adolescents, during which they composed and sang songs on themes such as friendship, service, and excellence. The recordings they made have been enjoyed by young people in the country and further afield, all of whom yearn for music that can uplift their hearts.
A group of youth in Cordoba, Colombia, noticed the large amounts of garbage polluting the streets and the river and decided to start a waste management project. They began by raising awareness among individuals and families within their community on the causes of the environmental damage they witnessed. The consultations that they initiated then led to the formation of work groups in different parts of the neighborhood to maintain the cleanliness of the physical environment.
In a small locality in Côte d’Ivoire, a group of young people cleaned out the village’s hydraulic pump as an act of collective service to help improve the cleanliness of water coming into the village.
Tamil Nadu, India
In a village in Tamil Nadu, India, where many people were affected by dengue fever, a group of youth involved in the educational processes of the Bahá’í community assisted a doctor and some medical students in carrying out awareness-raising activities in the locality. The young people, who were more familiar with the village than the visiting medical staff, assisted by introducing them to some 50 homes and helped them explain to the residents how the dengue virus spreads and how to suppress the breeding of mosquitoes.
In Jordan, a three-day workshop was held with several community leaders of a village. Among the topics discussed were the principle of consultation, the equality of women and men, the spiritual and material resources ready to be harnessed in the community, and the great potential youth have to help bring about constructive change.
A group of young friends in Antananarivo, Madagascar, composed poems and shared them with their neighbors with the purpose of bringing hope to their community and uplifting its social environment.
In a village in the Asli region of Malaysia, community members consulted at a local meeting about the education of their children. These conversations led to the addition of academic content to informal classes for moral education that were already under way. The classes also became more formalized and began to be offered on a daily basis.
In Nepal, a group of Bahá’ís in the community of Kanj mobilized 150 residents and leaders of their village to help repair the main road that had been damaged by heavy rainfall.
In Christchurch, New Zealand, a group of Bahá’ís participated in a tree-planting project to help improve the natural environment of their community.
Papua New Guinea
In Makamaka, Papua New Guinea, community members decided to build additional classrooms for a local school, as well as homes for some of the new teachers. Funds for these construction efforts were raised by the school’s agricultural plots as well as other projects.
In a township in Pretoria, South Africa, a teenager began to promote conversations among her peers about women’s empowerment. They taught one another songs on the subject and shared them at various community events.
In a neighborhood in Madrid, Spain, a number of young people engaged in Bahá’í educational activities noticed that some of their younger peers needed help in their academic work and so began to offer them regular tutorial assistance.
Following a devastating cyclone that destroyed coffee farms in the Tanna island of Vanuatu, a group of Bahá’ís set up a nursery, planted 36,000 coffee seedlings, and distributed them among coffee farmers free of charge
Instances of Change at the Level of Culture
In certain places in Cambodia, boys have traditionally been the preferred recipients of formal education. In several villages in the Battambang district of the country, as consciousness of the equality of women and men grew over time, more and more girls were able to receive higher levels of education. Around a decade ago, a girl from a locality where community-building activities had been sustained for many years, was able to attend high school— the first girl from her village to do so. Gradually, this youth began assisting a number of younger girls in her village to advance in their own education. After graduating from high school, she was invited by a national educational agency of the Bahá’í community to offer training to youth in other rural communities. In her own community, her example, as well as those of the girls she had accompanied, helped further deepen consciousness on the importance of education of girls. Now it is common practice for girls in her village to receive formal education. Women have also begun to take on more prominent roles in the community.
Uttar Pradesh, India
The removal of long-standing prejudices, such as those of the caste system in India, is a natural outcome of community-building efforts that seek to uphold the principle of the oneness of humanity. In a few villages in the Banthra and Kakori districts of Uttar Pradesh, India, young people from different castes have established strong friendships, based on their common desire to serve those younger than themselves. New relationships and patterns of activity have subsequently emerged. For instance, the youth began interacting more freely and sustaining conversation on topics of import, visiting one another’s homes, carrying out acts of service together, and reflecting on concepts such as the oneness of humanity and freedom from prejudice. Such relationships among the young people have also exerted influence on the wider community, where it is now common for families to open their homes for prayer gatherings and community events, and for some parents to consent to marriages where bride and groom are from different castes.
In a neighborhood in Toronto, Canada, generally known as a place of rife drug use and violence, an increasing number of young people and their families have engaged in service to their community, dedicating themselves to its progress and well-being. Community gatherings and other events have helped open a dialogue on themes such as hope and unity, as well as allowing for reflection on issues related to the conduct of young people in the neighborhood. Newcomers who often felt isolated became better integrated as they joined picnics organized for the community and received visits in their homes. Thus, while the community has a variety of populations, spaces have been created for people of different backgrounds to interact, build friendships across cultures, and learn to trust one another. In this way, many people who would otherwise take the first opportunity to leave the neighborhood have decided to stay. They have developed a love for the neighborhood and its inhabitants, and are committed to its long-term advancement.