San Salvador (Fides Service) - “Youth and Peace” is the theme of the 4th edition of the Springtime for Life campaign, promoted every year throughout Brazil by the Ecumenical Service of Coordination CESE. The objective of the 2004 campaign is to stimulate and encourage solidarity among people with practical measures to eliminate all violence. In this context the Campaign programme includes mobilisation of society to find community ways of building a culture of peace.
With this campaign CESE “intends to discuss the problems affecting young people and stimulate concrete initiatives on the part of the members Churches and the CESE network all over the country; to warn about the dangers young people face and foster concrete commitment to find alternatives to protect youth and to promote their active integration in society”.
CESE recalls that Brazil has a population of about 34 million aged between 15 and 24 years, who represent about 20% of the whole population, and that 80% of these young people live in urban areas. About 3.7 million are unemployed, and represent 47% of all the jobless people in Brazil. Half of these young people do not study and only 13% of those who do study reach university. CESE says “the violence to which young people are exposed is frightening, in situations of social, economic, and political exclusion mainly in the north and north east of Brazil in the outskirts of cities and in rural areas”.
In a society of competition and consumerism, marked deeply by inequality, the lack of prospects makes young people particularly vulnerable to the lure of organised crime, drug trafficking first of all. Therefore “to care for youth today means to invest in their present and in their future and to protect our society which is mainly composed of young people”. Each community, according to its possibilities, organises the most suitable activities to increase awareness on the theme of the campaign and activities undertaken by CESE.
CESE includes the Roman Catholic Church in Brazil, the United Presbyterian Church the Independent Presbyterian Church, the Anglican, Episcopal of Brazil and the Methodist Church which work together in ecumenical activities to promote the value of life. (R.Z.) (Agenzia Fides 22/9/2004; Righe 30, Parole 391)