Changes that YMCA brings into your life: the story of Thoumiyan Soundaram
When Thoumiyan is asked why he is involved in YMCA, he answers that YMCA has given him the platform to change his life towards youth leadership and development and if a person want to feel this unique type of change that YMCA brings into one’s spirit, mind and body, he or she should, in Thoumiyan’s opinion, join and be active in YMCA.
Thoumiyan came to his local YMCA-Jaffna, which is one of the oldest and well-known YMCAs in his country, to participate in sports and recreational activities in May 1998. Why did he choose YMCA ? There is a YMCA hostel that offers rooms for travellers in his hometown. That was difficult not to notice it. Also, Thoumiyan understood it as soon as he got involved into YMCA activities as a volunteer, the organization gives young people a great opportunity to develop their individuality, to come out of their closed world, to meet different interesting people from other communities, to learn a lot about themselves and about others. All these YMCA opportunities were very important for Thoumiyan who lived in the northern part of Sri Lanka that suffered for years from the Civil war and thus couldn’t give a lot to a young person. Moreover, he really appreciates the YMCA people who are, in his opinion, very open-minded, united and have a real desire to empower youth and help them with their problems.
As a young leader Thoumiyan has achieved great results within YMCA. Today he is mostly busy as a member of the Youth Committee and other committees of National Council of YMCAs Sri Lanka. The Youth committee collects information on the youth needs, problems, challenges and interests, analyses it and helps local YMCAs put priorities in their activities and develop new programs, which focus, in particular, on sport, recreation, leadership development, peace building and reconciliation, environment and climate change and vocational training.
Speaking about the changes that the YMCA brought into his life, Thoumiyan resumes : « I am who I am thanks to YMCA ». Thoumiyan would like to continue volunteering for YMCA in the future as he believes that there is a big potential and responsibility for YMCA to play a major role in youth empowerment in order to bring some betterment for the country and for its young generation in particular.
By Iryna Dzeshavitsyna , Belarus