“I gained confidence through participating in YMCA activities”

Written by Liantsao – Madagascar. October 2016

Rakotonirina Claude Aime, better known as Rina, joined the YMCA in 2011. Rina had just moved from Antananarivo to Ambatolampy, a village just outside Carion, and wanted to get familiar with his surroundings. The older guys in the village were talking about this place in Carion where they used to hang out and have fun, a place where they danced, played and sang together with other youth in the area. The place the older boys spoke about was YMCA Carion, Young Men´s Christian Association in Carion. Coming from a protestant family his parents thought this sounded like a good idea for Rina to get involved in. They therefore decided to let him go with the older youth to participate in activities one Saturday in May 2011. 

Rina has always had a special talent in dance. When he was young his parents pushed him towards dancing more and attending different sessions in Antananarivo, but he never liked the places he attended there. ““Before I came to the YMCA I was very shy, and I did not talk much as this place was very new to me. When I came to Carion they had a way of accessing my talent and giving me confidence and courage to develop my talent, which is dancing” 

As the years went by he started getting more confident and began teaching dance in the YMCA. Rina describes how the YMCA helped build his confidence through leadership training and other activities that focus on youth empowerment in Carion and the surrounding areas. “We were going out to engage other youth, and before each outing we had a session on how to approach youth and how to engage stakeholders. This has helped me a lot as I have gotten older”.  

When Rina was a young boy he also had a passion for cars, and after he finished secondary school he started taking courses to become a mechanic. Once he finished these courses his father got him a job in the bus company he was working for. For a little period in time Rina drove the bus between Antananarivo and Tamatave and loved this. Unfortunately he lost his job and is today Rinalooking for a new job. 

Through his time in the YMCA Rina has grown from a shy boy to a confident young man. Rina is one of the youth that never misses an activity. He regularly shows up to the office just to stop by and help out. “Something that has always been here since I moved to Ambantolampy is the YMCA, and in 5 years I see myself as one of the leaders and role models for the youth in YMCA Carion”. Rina has engaged a lot of new members in Carion and is highly respected, and he will continue to be valuable to YMCA Madagascar in the future.