By Lavine Imali
YMCA celebrates 174 years since it was founded!
On 6 June 1844 George Williams founded the first YMCA in London with the purpose of “the improving of the spiritual condition of young men engaged in the drapery, embroidery, and other trades. The first YMCA was put up Montreal, Quebec in Canada.
The YMCA, often simply called the Y, is a worldwide organization head quartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with more than 58 million beneficiaries from 125 national associations.
The Africa Alliance of YMCAs commitment to the empowerment of young people all over Africa is not a recent phenomenon, as is witnessed by our long-standing work in favor of local culture and in safeguarding our values and in so many undertakings, great and small, aimed at social development.
Living in Africa today, the YMCA shares in the strains and stresses which are of concern to the youth. How can one not be saddened by the struggles that affect so many areas of the continent, the tragic condition of millions of young people suffering in unemployment and injustices, exposed to sickness and disease, burdened by underdevelopment and bearing the heavy consequences of their country’s external indebtedness?
In spite of such difficulties, it is important nevertheless not to lose sight of Africa’s enormous capacity for advancement. In this respect, the Africa YMCA will not fail to continue along this path to address these critical issues as we look forward to a development truly capable of meeting the needs and aspirations of young people in the African continent.
Let’s all continue to play a substantial role in encouraging and coordinating development and progress of our continent for the better future to which all the peoples of Africa legitimately aspire.
As we celebrate this day we take this amazing opportunity to thank all the young people for standing and growing together with us and most importantly helping us impact the livelihoods of our young people all over the world.