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By Raphael Makoto Yamada
VIDES Japan member

       Rome-Tokyo, 8 July 2022 -- Almost 6 years after the previous VIDES International Congress (Rome, Pisana) in 2016, the 12th VIDES International Congress was held in Rome (Sassone - Carmelo), from 1-5 July 2022. Among the 150 participants (VIDES members - both young adults and FMA sisters) was Mr Raphael Makoto Yamada from Japan. Besides the presence of FMA Sr Chiara Cazzuola, FMA Mother General, and the FMA General Councillor for Youth Ministry were VIDES members from some 30 countries.

       This 12th Congress explored the theme “Vides culture of reciprocity. Foundations of the Common Home. Young protagonists of change”, with 120 participants in presence and others connected online – through conferences, workshops, presentations of good practices shared by the world VIDES realities and moments together, such as the “People’s Day” on the theme of peace with the inhabitants of Sassone and the “Solidarity Table” for the Ukraine emergency.

       Mr Raphael from VIDES Japan shares:

       "We were enriched by the threefold contents: Lectures on International Volunteers (Synod on Youth, Educational value of Volunteering in psychological aspects and agenda on the incoming Synod on Synodality 2021-2023); VIDES country activity reports (best practices from Latin America, Asia, USA, Europe and Africa). From Japan we shared domestics volunteer activities and Cambodia outreach with the respective online efforts.

       Second, future prospects: In order to improve the mutual sharing among VIDES members in different countries (challenges, future plans) we shared online in advance on our respective online platforms; enhance VIDES international networking for more creative activities that each country may become a key player; with the whole Church in the Synodal process, we promote synodality (consistency, working - action); VIDES will address specific concrete social issues in various countries (distance support, going to other country and connecting growth and local development through activities there).

       From the VIDES Japan point of view, I sense the following important insights: While other countries receive support as international NGOs through grants, funds and are sending volunteers abroad and providing financial assistance, Japan VIDES focuses on domestic activities and raise funds domestically. Our characteristic is working online and collaborating with other NGOs in Japan. I feel that in the future there will be an opportunity to share online the know-how of Japanese activities and possibly to sustain other VIDES activities abroad with VIDES Japan activities. We will be posting photos and more details about our activities on our website and Instagram.

       I feel VIDES International has a lot of potential to unite people with mutual experiences by its work and help young people not only travel but also change the world!"

       Besides Japan, within the EAO Region we find FMA International NGO members in South Korea, Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia. The website is VIDES International (https://www.vides.org). By its nature, VIDES is not strictly-speaking a Salesian Family member, but belongs to the vast Salesian Youth Movement, with a large number of Don Bosco Past Pupils or FMA Past Pupils involved.

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