On May 7th YMCA Europe, World YMCA, and YMCA Romania were together at the Romanian – Ukrainian border to secure the strongest foundation of immediate, mid and long-term intervention.
Hosted and joined by Alina Pop (Secretary-General of YMCA Romania), the teams from our main international umbrella organisations visited the 'Blue Dot' registration point, assessed the situation together with the volunteers serving on the border and participated in welcoming refugees from various parts of Ukraine.
It is indeed an impressive set of standards and procedures to ensure the safety and basic human needs of everyone fleeing the war.
They had the chance to walk on the 'Bridge of Peace'- the border crossing point, being inspired by the stories and understanding the full dimension of the service the YMCA is providing.
“Peace will prevail” was the common message shared by the leadership of the national, regional and world organisations. They pledged that our movement will grow stronger, protecting human dignity and providing care.
Later that day another inspiring moment was to see the efforts done by the local staff members and volunteers of YMCA Romania at the ROUA Community Centre.
ROUA serves as a day-care and psycho-socio support centre for the Ukrainian community settled in the area as a result of the current events.
The YMCA has established a friendly community here at the centre. We have mothers with their children that are welcome to join programs designed to meet their needs, providing a safe space and opening a door to hope. And everything is possible through the continuous support of ActionAid and the YMCA family worldwide.
On the 8th of May we met with YMCA Romania leadership, analysing the immediate, medium, and long-term action with key decisions on the implementation strategy.
Our journey forward will bring us closer, building trust, care and impact, establishing a fruitful collaboration with YMCAs from different regional realities – to strengthen our movement and continue our outreach work.
A photo albume dedicated to the visit in Romania is available below.
On May 9th, Europe Day is a day of celebration dedicated to unity and peace. Since its inception, the European Union has vowed to bound European countries to a common future of peace and prosperity, united in diversity.
As YMCA Europe, we are profoundly attached to the ideal of unity at the basis of our international movement and greatly committed to peace as a key objective.
It was very symbolic that on Europe’s Day we discussed with YMCA in Slovakia leadership at the YMCA Building in Bratislava about a joint strategy to provide relief to refugees.
The Slovak movement was one of the first YMCAs providing support to those fleeing Ukraine because of the war. The national movement and the local associations continue responding and are ready for the next stage : mid-long term actions for integration of refugees.
YMCA Europe is committed to being a reliable partner of all these actions with an impact on the community.
As part of the action plan responding to the effects of the war in Ukraine, we approached YMCA Vienna on May 10th. It has been a chance to learn more about the needs of Ukrainian refugees in the city and the relief that the YMCA provides.
In addition to accommodating several Ukrainian citizens at their facilities, the local association is developing partnerships with churches and other institutions to strengthen the integration of newcomers. YMCA Vienna has a committed and effective history of providing a safe space and relief to refugees.
We are inspired by the number of YMCAs across Europe that continue responding to this humanitarian crisis by opening their facilities to Ukrainian refugees.
Over 250 YMCAs in 12 countries have taken action and this number continues to grow. Together we care by providing hope and safety.