30,000 Participate in Youth Friendship Music Festivals in Thailand
From February through April 2007, SGI-Thailand hosted Youth Friendship Music Festivals at 27 venues throughout Thailand that rallied some 30,000 participants. The youth division took initiative for planning and carrying out the festivals with support from the men's and women's divisions. The shows included gymnastic feats, traditional Thai dances and choral performances.
The Bangkok General Headquarters No. 1 festival took place on April 1 at the SGI-Thailand Headquarters in Nonthaburi. Many guests attended, including Nonthaburi Province Governor Cherdwit Ridprasat, who expressed his delight to see so many young people involved in activities that benefit society. Nakornpathom Vice Mayor Cha-on Khuptawat remarked that she was greatly moved by the festival, which for her felt like an encounter with something she had long been searching for. She said the harmonious performance by individuals of various ages and backgrounds was a manifestation of SGI-Thailand members' spirit to serve others. Associate Professor Arom Chanuangit of Ramkhamhaeng University expressed his appreciation to SGI-Thailand for positively contributing to the local communities and society as a whole. He said he was especially happy to see young people and their families participating side by side.
As they prepared for the festival, many of the participants made breakthroughs in the challenges they face in their personal lives. Young women's division member Kanusawun Rummawit served as an instructor for the boys and girls' performance. Surprisingly, the rheumatism that had long plagued her improved dramatically, and her family was able to begin recovering from a financial crisis. Kiattichai Trakulsawangmao, a substitute teacher, although not an SGI member, supported the festival from beginning to end. Inspired by the event, he joined SGI and immediately after gained permanent employment as a teacher. Youth Division Leader Yongsin Chutimakul said the youth were able to harness and manifest their potential and develop themselves as they worked to put together the festivals.
[Adapted from an article in the April 17, 2007 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]