Service Initiatives

Devotional Gathering

Children's Classes

Junior Youth Empowerment Program

Ruhi Institute

Devotionals provide opportunities for members of any religion to come together and share prayers and Holy Writings. Themes and topics are sometimes chosen for each gathering where discussion can be shared in a peaceful and comfortable environment.

The education of children is of paramount importance in the Baha'i Faith. This education should be both in the arts and sciences, and in spiritual and moral principles. These classes offer spiritual education for children from all religious backgrounds. Although virtues and principles are taught from a Baha'i context, classes are not centered around religious indoctrination.

The Junior Youth Empowerment Program aims to develop the moral and intellectual capacities of youth between the ages of 11-14, by enhancing their powers of expression and recognition of their own potentials for service.

 

Although the program is Baha'i-inspired, curriculum is not approached from a Baha'i context.

The Ruhi Institute is an educational institution, operating under the guidance of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Colombia, which dedicates its efforts to the development of human resources for the spiritual, social, and cultural development of the Colombian people. Although its center is in the town of Puerto Tejada in the department of Cauca, its area of influence extends throughout the entire country. Especially in recent years, its educational programs have been adopted by an increasing number of agencies worldwide.

 

Like any other institution involved in the process of education for development, the Ruhi Institute has formulated its strategies within a special framework and a philosophy of social change, development and education. In this case, that understanding has emerged from a consistent effort to apply Bahá’í principles to the analysis of social conditions.

Social Action and Socio-economic Development

From the point of view of social and economic development, the most interesting feature of Bahá'í community life is its unique consultative system. Bahá'u'lláh taught a pattern of group decision-making based on a striving for consensus. It would be accurate to say that most members of the Bahá'í Faith are, to one degree or another, students of the consultative process .

 

The social and economic development possibilities of this system first became apparent early last century in Iran where Iranian Bahá'ís created their own schools, clinics, and other social services, including Iran's first school for girls.

 

Today, development projects proliferate, especially throughout Asia, Latin America, and Africa. They include tutorial schools, local clinics, classes in health care, agricultural projects, reforestation, alcoholism counselling, and children's hostels. The community service programming of Bahá'í radio stations embraces not only such practical concerns but also the recognition of native culture.

 

Arising out of the assessment of local needs by locally elected Spiritual Assemblies, Bahá'í development projects are essentially grassroots undertakings. It is no doubt that this fact accounts for the self-sustaining character of so much of the work.

At The United Nations

The Bahá'í Faith teaches that true religion promotes unity, and that unity is the fundamental prerequisite for the achievement of global peace. "The well-being of mankind," Bahá'u'lláh said, "its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established."

 

Among the measures which the Bahá'í community advocates as contributions to world unity are a federation of nations, an international auxiliary language, the coordination of the world's economy, a universal system of education, a code of human rights for all peoples, an integrated mechanism for global communication, and a universal system of currency, weights and measures.

 

Believing that the United Nations represents a major effort in the unification of the planet, Bahá'ís have supported its work in every way possible. The Bahá'í International Community is accredited with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The Community's offices in New York and Geneva and Bahá'ís in many lands regularly participate in conferences, congresses and seminars concerned with the socio-economic life of our planet.

 

The sufferings which their own fellow believers have experienced as victims of religious persecution have particularly sensitized Bahá'ís to Bahá'u'lláh's teachings on human rights. The Bahá'í International Community participates actively in United Nations consultations dealing with minority rights, the status of women, crime prevention, the control of narcotic drugs, the welfare of children and the family, and the movement toward disarmament.

Human Rights

Over the five decades since the United Nations was founded, there has emerged a growing understanding that the recognition and protection of human rights at the international level plays a fundamental role in the promotion of peace, democracy, social progress and economic prosperity.

 

Starting in 1948 with the all-important Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this understanding has given rise to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, which together are also known as the International Bill of Rights, as well as some 75 other conventions which identify and promote the rights of women and children, the right to freedom of worship, and development, to name but a few.

 

Viewed as a whole, it is worth noting that the international movement to recognize and codify human rights has risen in parallel with the ever-increasing integration and interdependence of nations, cultures, and previously isolated peoples. The development of international human rights, in this sense, must be seen as yet another feature of the increasing maturation of humanity. And the continued development and emphasis on human rights is, likewise, a pre-condition for our continued advancement and progress.

 

For the worldwide Bahá'í community, activities in relation to international human rights have for the most part fallen into two areas: 1) the promotion of the concept of universal human rights in general; and, 2) efforts to protect specific Bahá'í communities that have been deprived of human rights, a process which has focused primarily on the persecution of the Bahá'í community of Iran.

 

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