On September 5th, 2015, we organized a “Day Café” with the theme “We will connect and we will succeed.” The purpose of the event was to raise money and awareness to help Nepal. As you already know, the idea for this event began in May during Y4UW Korea’s annual workshop. The workshop, which was called “Empathy Project for Nepal,” brought together almost 80 youths across Korea to discuss how the youths could help Nepal rebuild.
“Empathy Project for Nepal” was inspired by Pope Francis’ call to use “the language of the mind, the heart, and the hands.” As a result, we focused on empathizing with the pain and suffering endured by our friends in Nepal. We were especially touched by letters and video messages from Nepalese Y4UW members. The theme of our Day Café, “We will connect and we will succeed” was borrowed from a heartfelt message sent by our Nepalese Gen named Laxman, who is currently studying in Mumbai.
Throughout the preparation, the Korean youths proposed many ideas to help Nepal, which were put into practice during our event on September 5th.
We held the event at a café located in an area famous for its youth culture and nightlife. Fortunately, the café is owned by a member of the Focolare Movement so she was generous enough to donate the space for us. The venue was filled with life through live performances, delicious food, beautiful accessories, postcards, and even a nail art shop - all handmade by the youths of Korea! The event was especially meaningful because it was planned and carried out by new and existing members of Y4UW Korea.
An especially meaningful moment during our event was when Korean youths had the chance to converse with youths from Nepal, Mumbai, and New Delhi via skype. We heard about the creative ways in which the youths from India helped Nepal. Y4UW in New Delhi shared with us their experience of donating for Nepal and being returned 100-fold through God’s blessing. We were also able to share the joy in hearing that Laxman’s family was safe and doing better. During the dialogue, Y4UW in Korea had the opportunity share its work as well.
By connecting with our friends, we were able to overcome our indifferences. We were able to truly empathize with those suffering, not as strangers, but as brothers and sisters. We were able to share the pain, anxiety, and suffering of our friends and it gave us a real sense of working towards a united world.
Though there were many youths of other faiths and organizations, many of them were touched by the spirit of volunteerism and unity displayed by other young people in their communities.
Youths who attended our event shared the following:
● Though my stay at the Day Café was brief, I felt so much joy and inspiration. I felt so much respect for all the young people who not only strove to remember the Nepalese disaster but also sought to share their work with others. It is difficult enough to organize such an event but inviting others to experience it together was really meaningful. For me, the event gave me an opportunity for reflection as I observed other young volunteers share their time, effort, and energy. While the thought of Nepalese disaster brings sadness and a heavy heart, I thought the event allowed me to learn about the difficulties of our Nepalese friends in an approachable manner. Furthermore, the day was meaningful because I was able to share the day with friends.
For the Gen and Y4UW youths who prepared the Day Café, it was a time for personal growth. Mustering the courage to invite friends who knew nothing of the Focolare movement; helping friends rediscover the love they have within themselves; and receiving help from adults within and outside the Focolare movement were all precious gifts we were able to share as young people.
● It was meaningful to be able to communicate with our friends in Nepal and empathize with their struggles. I sincerely wish that our friends will continue to overcome the difficulties with high spirits! Thank you!
● It has been awhile since we heard about Nepal in the media. By taking interest and empathizing with Nepal’s continued difficulties, I felt as though we were becoming united with those on the opposite side of the world. This feeling was especially evident when we connected with our Nepalese friends via skype!
● While we were able to assist Nepal in a small way, the greatest gift was giving the Korean youths the opportunity see our friends in Nepal not as strangers but as true brothers and sisters.
● This event was special because it was planned through a collaborative process that involved all the youths. In solidarity, “I” and “You” melted into “us” and I felt that, in a small way, we exemplified what unity should look like. Through our preparation, we were once again reminded that we were working towards a united world. We also want to promise with the youths of the world that we will continue to walk down this path!
We have no doubt, our dream of a united world will be fulfilled if we continue to connect and share our experiences with each other. Let us remember, “We will connect and we will succeed!”
Youth for United World, Korea.