All ahead for Budapest!
What’s news from the French-speaking Switzerland?
Today, only 3 months separate us from the Genfest, and yet the Youth for a United World have already made progress! In effect, more than a customary appointment, the international festival of the youth appears to most, as a point of arrival. This is fulfilled by all according to their possibilities and how they have contributed.
And so Switzerland, thanks to its excellent economic situation, has been assigned among other things to the job of collecting funds to help youth from continents further away, or those who have financial difficulties getting to Budapest.
This contribution is more than necessary so that the message of peace and unity in diversity can be taken out to youth from all the corners of the earth.
At face value, this adventure could seem difficult because most young people are either on apprenticeships or are taking courses at university which takes its toll in time and energy. But this effort is nothing compared to what could be born in us when we work for others!
Far from wanting to sit back now seeing what has been done, because there is still a lot to do. So let’s look at the activities that have already been taken ahead so far.
Action “Christmas Biscuits"
The celebration of Christmas was an awaited occasion in which the Youth for a United World put their commitment into action. Strengthened by this observation, two of them – helped by friends of all ages – decided to bake 36kgs of Christmas biscuits in the school where one of them study.
They needed a whole day to produce the desired amount. Once they were packaged up, the biscuits were sold in various places and corners, thanks to the friends and acquaintances who invested time to support the project of the youth – young people wanting to go against the current and build a more just world.
Services for a fee
How can we make money by helping our neighbour? The activities that benefit the Genfest are carried out also by responding to the needs of people who are happy to ask for help from youth that will then reinvest their earnings for peace.
For example, in the months of February and March, six youth from Geneva helped a lady to prepare to move house. The idea came from a friend of hers who, seeing that they weren’t managing alone, proposed to offer the services of the youth as a birthday present.
Small groups of those who were involved got together three times to package things of the house and clean the apartment. One activity that allowed us to serve, to collect funds and to work together in the spirit of the Genfest!
Once it involved putting on an apron to serve more than 50 people during an evening event, or to knit a woollen cardigan for an elderly lady... the response from the Youth for a United World was always positive and, even if it meant to draw on help from others, no occasion was overlooked.
Through these concrete actions, bridges are built that will allow youth from all 5 continents to arrive in Budapest.
If the youth are unanimously convinced of the importance of their activities, it would be understandable that the population that is not directly involved in the Fest because of their age, are not very willing to help. And yet it is not like this, because day after day their generosity and their help show their large amount of support.
A typical example is of a priest, originally from Vallese and owner of an apartment in a Tourist Station. In fact, in order to help the youth to collect money for the Genfest, he is ready to offer the proceeds from the rent of his apartment if they manage to rent it out during the months of March and April. This is going ahead...
To prepare the Genfest also means to invite young people that don’t know us yet. Not only is this a great chance for each of us to live these festive moments, to inform, to share and invite, but it is our chance to build bridges before even arriving to Budapest. With this willingness to reach out to the other, many young people have overcome their shyness in order to present the Genfest during different meetings, like the annual meeting of the Focolare Movement at Cully. During a conference organised by the students of the Creusets High school, or also during an evening organised by the students of the university of Lausanne.
We need to remember that it is the responsibility of each young person to circulate this message, not to have the reward for having distributed the greatest number of invitations, but to offer everyone the opportunity of participating in this wonderful human adventure.
What does the Genfest mean to us?
Among the youth wanting to go to Budapest, it is rare that any of them have had the chance to experience a similar event, as the last one was held in the year 2000 in Rome.
Even so, most of us just felt right about this manifestation that gives sense to the whole of our lives.
It’s interesting to discover what animates and gives us joy when living these moments of common commitment: one of us underlined their desire to see and live what could be a united world.
Another young person compared the discretion of a growing forest to the sound of a forest being destroyed by man. For her the Genfest is a visible event that allows us to come out of silence, a way to strongly invest in the spirit of all so to cry out loud and clear their desire for peace and unity.
We are all harmoniously linked in saying that the Genfest builds both an opportunity and a challenge: an opportunity to experience this moment of unity, of joy, of tolerance, but a challenge because once we return, we need to retain all that is positive of this experience and transmit it...