Sharing hopeful practices: international collaborations in refugee and migrant initiatives by YMCA Europe and YMCA of Greater Houston.
YMCAs in Europe and YMCA of Greater Houston held a joint meeting to discuss ongoing programs for refugees and migrants as well as future partnership developments and opportunities.
We are honoured to be able to converse with the YMCA team in Greater Houston—represented by Jeff Watkins, Asia Al Kakie, Dolores Serrano, Remy Watterson, Lisa Guitguit, and Maryna Gusarovska Hancock – an organisation providing support for refugees, immigrants and vulnerable populations in the Houston and surrounding areas for more than 45 years.
Joining the meeting from Europe were Alina Pop of YMCA Romania; Daniela Masarik of YMCA Slovakia; Dumitru Roibu of YMCA Moldova; Victoria Trofimova of CVJM Bayern; Marius Pop, Andy Tomsa, and Samantha Christian from YMCA Europe; as well as Kathleen Elsig of World YMCA.
Both teams exchanged their experience and expertise in supporting Ukrainian refugees through creating meaningful programs focused in improving mental and physical well-being, encouraging integration, providing upskilling opportunities through various training, and employment assistance, amongst many others. Learn more about our activities here.
As understanding and mitigating the challenges faced by Ukrainian refugees remain our priority, the exchange of ideas and experiences during the meeting has broadened our perspective on effective approaches to empower individuals navigating the complexities of displacement.
Looking ahead, the meeting with YMCA of Greater Houston marks the commencement of a promising partnership, grounded in a shared commitment to making a positive impact in the world. We are excited about the potential for joint initiatives, mutual learning, and the continued expansion of our services and support programs worldwide.
Our work as a movement is aligned with the vision of providing inclusive services for refugees and migrants worldwide. Every day our partnership-building initiatives, our innovative approach to youth work, employability and community building are a testament to our collaborative efforts as a YMCA. These efforts are echoing the steps taken towards embracing the pillars of Meaningful Work and Just World of YMCA Vision 2030.