A non governmental, faith-based organization, the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) has last weekend interacted with members of the fourth estate in Sierra Leone during which it was revealed that they are one of the leading entities that complement government efforts in creating development avenues so much so that YMCA has become a household name amongst under-privileged and vulnerable youths who need help to become self reliant.
During an interactive session with YMCA senior staff at the organization's offices in Freetown on Friday 5th November 2010, the National General Secretary Mr. Christian M. Kamara, told pressmen that YMCA vision is to empower young people to meet up with the challenges of the ongoing African renaissance. He disclosed that since the organization was established in 1912 in Freetown, it has spread tentacles in all the regions and has 25 local branches.
According to Mr. Kamara, YMCA is a membership organization that works with young people as either volunteers or members during which YMCA advocates and creates opportunities to enhance the potential of young people in order to develop their bodies, minds and spirits to gain improved quality of life.
Mr. Christian M. Kamara further revealed that YMCA has always conducted several activities through-out Sierra Leone to provide basic education for vulnerable and deprived youths as well as vocational and technical training for young people. YMCA conducts mobile clinics and reproductive health programmes all aiming at complementing government efforts to capacitate young people.
In some other places, YMCA has empowered young people to participate in government though advocacy programme and other activities in agriculture, sporting and many other areas. In most communities in Sierra Leone, YMCA has constructed community centers, school and such social amenities. It was also revealed that since 2006 to date, YMCA has been offering free health care facilities to children under five years, lactating mothers and pregnant women.
According to Mr. Kamara, the YMCA is currently undertaking a project supporting youths livelihood in urban areas. He said the project caters for vulnerable and deprived war youths to learn skills and be self sufficient. He maintained that many young people have already graduated through this project and are engaged in self-sufficient ventures.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.