Youths urged to embrace inter-religious tolerance for a peaceful society

A lobby group has challenged youths to wake up from slumber and use the opportunity they have now to safeguard the future of the country and ensure cohesiveness.

Peace builder and Inter-religious expert at Youth United for Peace in Kenya Josephat Khamasi says the cohesiveness and religious tolerance in the country depends on the youths who are the majority.

A section of Youths in Nakuru during one of the training.PHOTO/Pristone Mambili.

Speaking in Nakuru during a culmination meeting for the several youth training the lobby has been conducting in collaboration with the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru, Khamasi was very categorical that the youths have a voice that should be heard.

While citing the ongoing alleged corruption scandals in the country, Khamasi stated that they youths should also speak out in one voice no matter their political and religious differences.

“The future of our nation depends on us as youths. We cannot have a future when youths are fighting each, when youths are busy engaging in drugs and violence extremism. Even the corruption we are hearing of in the country can be addressed if the youths wake up and speak in one voice” said Khamasi.

Youth United for Peace in Kenya has been working closely with the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru on a 3-year pilot program to train youths in Nakuru on how to ensure cohesiveness and inter-religious tolerance among young people.

Khamasi says the pilot program has seen tremendous change in society with already 300 youths trained to become ambassadors of peace and inter-religious tolerance in society.

But even as the pilot program comes to an end, Khamasi says he will be having a meeting with the youthful steering committee together with the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru through the Bishop’s office so that they can see how to offer further assistance to the youths.

“Will be having a sitting with the steering committee to see to it that we address the other emerging issues affecting youths” he said.

He is however quick to note that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a big blow to their operation as there are guidelines by the Ministry of Health that should be adhered to.

This, he says has seen them have fewer youths in the training due to the social distancing guidelines unlike before.

Kevin Hawker, a beneficiary of the training, in an interview is optimistic that the knowledge gathered through the program will see transformation of many youths.

He challenged fellow youths in Nakuru county and Kenya as whole to ensure they play their role in shaping the society in the right direction.

Sentiments echoed by Ms Seraphia Chesang who says youths have been going through a lot during this COVID-19 period.

She is however quick to note that COVID-19 should not be an excuse for youths to engage in criminal activities but they should use the opportunity they have to better the society.

“Before COVID-19, we were there and even after COVID-19 we shall be there hence the need for all youths to wake up and make the society better” she said.

Another beneficiary of the program John Wakamila says the program has seen him learn how to relate with other religions.

While vowing to be ambassador of peace in society, his challenge to the youths is to appreciate each other’s religion and ensure cohesion.

“I have been trained and now my role is to reach out to my fellow youths and ensure tolerance” he said.

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