YMCA Europe Working Group on Refugees

It is one of the outcomes of  “YMCA WORKING FOR REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS” in Den Dolder, The Netherlands in March 2016. Learn more 

Role of the Group

The role of the Working Group is the implementation of the of YMCA Europe in which the work for and with refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and internally displaced persons (hereafter shortly called “refugees”) is one of the priorities.

  • Exchange of experiences. Identifying good practices; obstacles; training aspects etc.
  • Developing new initiatives and new co-operation in YMCA work for refugees asylum seekers and internally displaced people on all YMCA levels in Europe
  • Discussing coordinated actions within the framework of YMCA Europe.

The first open programme debate initiated by the Working Group were workshops at the YMCA Europe General Assembly in Hintersee, Germany 2018. At the sessions were presented concrete examples of YMCA work with and for refugees in Europe. This was followed by a discussion about priorities for YMCA refugee work and actions to be undertaken.

In 2019 the Group established a database with YMCA projects for refugees in Europe (see below).

In February 2021 a high level conference about YMCA work with refugees was organised. Next to exchanging practical experiences, inputs were given by Mr. Margaritis Schinas (Vice-President of the European Commission) and Mr. Antonio Vitorino (Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration of the United Nations).

Since the start of the war in Ukraïne in February 2022 the Group prepared informal periodical Updates about activities of local and national YMCA’s in Europe for refugees from Ukraine.

In February 2023 the conference on Work with Refugees was organized for people who face the issues related to migration caused by the war in Ukraine in their everyday work.

Database YMCA projects with/for refugees

This database contains projects of local and national YMCAs in Europe about work with/for refugees. It is a source of information for all who are working with refugees/migrants and all who plan to start new projects. 

The data come from the survey conducted by YMCA Europe Working Group on Refugees in 2019. The content is the responsibility of the deliverer of the information. The information will periodically be updated to keep the database relevant.


You are kindly invited to submit new YMCA projects to the database and also to submit changes using the form of the survey via this link “Take the online survey”   



Main tasks for 2023-2024:

  1. Organising the working conference “YMCA Work with refugees” from 9-12 February 2023 in Gdynia (Poland). This conference for practitioners aimed at increased cooperation; recommendations/tools for YMCA’s working with refugees; exchange of practical experiences. Themes to be discussed are: “Housing”; “Education” ; “Employment”; “(Resolving) problems in refugee centres and local communities”; “Working with children” and “(Mental) health issues”. 
  2. Preparing presentations and reporting about the outcomes of the conference at the 50th anniversary of YMCA Europe (Berlin, June 28th.-July 2nd. 2023). 
  3. Continuation of the periodical Updates of YMCA work for refugees from Ukraïne. 
  4. Updating the database for YMCA work with refugees in Europe. 
  5. Reporting to the General Assembly of YMCA Europe in 2024
  6. In addition to the above database, we have created a similar database uniquely for YMCA projects in Europe about the work with/for refugees from Ukraine.

Below you will find a map with the location of these projects and a listing with details of the different projects. In due time both databases will be integrated.



If you would like to submit a project to this specific database, please use this form.


Refugee library

To support the work you are doing, YMCA Europe is collecting resources from all national YMCAs to be shared and used in a common Refugee Library.

We invite you to make use of it and contribute if you have resources on your own. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have further suggestions or questions, or need additional support. The comment function of the document is enabled, so feel free to add your experiences and feedback to specific resources or regarding the Library in general within the document as well.

Members of the group
  • Ed Eggink (group leader) – The Netherlands. edeggink[at]gmail.com
  • Liisa Nerg – Finland. liisanerg[at]ymca.fi
  • Barbara Matt – Germany.  Barbara.Matt[at]ejwue.de
  • Daniela Mainenti – Italy.  email: daniela.mainenti[at]fondazioneymcaitalia.it
  • Richard Schweizer – Switzerland.  (liaison to the Executive Committee) richard[at]ymcaeurope.com
  • Carlota Mielgo González – Spain. c.mielgo[at]ymca.es
  • Viktor Serbulov – Ukraine. vserbulov[at]ukr.net
  • Dolores Tarrafeta – Greece.  lolitarrafeta[at]gmail.com   
  • Monika Ciok-Giertuga – Ireland. monika[at]northdownymca.org
  • Anthony Camilleri – Malta. info[at]ymcamalta.org
  • Anna Hallissey – England. Anna.Hallissey[at]ymca.org.uk
  • Jonathan van Varik – the Netherlands. jonathan[at]ymca.nl
  • Ana Viviana Catana – Romania. ana.viviana.catana[at]gmail.com