As a member of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, you are part of a global movement focused on building community around the world. There are presently YMCAs operating in 120 countries and territories with over 10,000 local associations worldwide in cities, towns and villages. The international YMCA movement reaches approximately 65,000,000 individuals including program participants, benefactors, members, staff and volunteers.
Among the countries in which we have a presence is the Ukraine, which has 25 YMCAs. Eight have been forced to close due to the Russian invasion, but the others continue to serve. YMCAs have banned together in support of Ukraine. Here is the latest:
It has been six months since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The worldwide YMCA Movement has watched in horror as lives have been lost, people have been uprooted and families separated, infrastructure has been destroyed, and communities torn apart. It has also taken whatever action it could to relieve immediate suffering and plan for longer-term support to those who have been affected by the conflict.
With help from around the world, YMCA Europe has coordinated support for YMCA in Ukraine, and for those fleeing violence in Ukraine who have moved elsewhere in Europe. In summary:
YMCA Europe has received more than $940,000 in support of its Ukraine efforts. They have launched 20 projects in Ukraine and 70 others in over 20 countries in Europe. They estimate they have reached over 44,000 people – 30,000 in Ukraine and 14,000 outside it (largely in Europe). Their activities have included:
- Support for refugees at border points – food and hygiene, transport, accommodation, goods, job-finding
- Welcoming refugees – especially children – into YMCA Centers and offering free activities
- Mental health camps, psychological support
- Support for refugee families and people with disabilities
- Language training, services for integration
- Day camps and longer summer camps for refugee children
- Support for internally displaced people in Ukraine
Juan Simoes, Secretary General of YMCA Europe, said: “We salute the courage, the resilience, the determination of YMCA in Ukraine, where 17 out of 25 YMCA are still active and serving their young people and communities. We salute YMCAs all over Europe who have opened their doors and their hearts to support those who have had to flee Ukraine. And we salute YMCAs all over the world who have so kindly and generously funded our activities.”
World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee said: “I am so proud of YMCA Europe and the global YMCA Movement for the way in which we have collectively responded to crisis in the only way we know how: by showing practical love. It is a love which is shared all over the world, as we support vulnerable people affected by conflict. We have moved from immediate, humanitarian support to longer-term care and addressing the deeper traumas caused by war. We continue to do our best to lift our Ukrainian brothers and sisters in body, mind and spirit.”
Follow the regular posts on the YMCA Europe Facebook site, as it collates stories of support for Ukraine.