Committed to the development of YMCA as a Christian Organisation to serve the community, developing all peoples in Spirit, Mind and Body.
PROGRAMMES RELATED TO PRIORITIES IDENTIFIED AT 14TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The National Council encouraged member move-ments to review and develop programme initia-tives related to the priorities identified through a number of National events and after discussions and planning at National Council Meetings in November 1995 and April 1996 :
1. November 1996, National Consultation of YMCA Leaders to review the Malaysian situation and to seek strategies and develop plans for the implementation of these initiatives.
2.April/May 1997, Training in Programme Development with emphasis on community ini-tiatives and environment education at National and Local Levels to equip staff and volunteers with appropriate skills for programme develop-ment and implementation.
3. March/April 1998, Volunteers Development Programmes at 4 Local YMCAs and at National Level to further equip volunteers for more mean-ingful contribution.
4. March 1999, Capacity Building – National Hostel Workshop to critically review and reassess the Malaysian YMCA Hostel Operations in the current economic crisis (hostels have been a main-stay of the four major YMCAs’ financing for their community initiatives)
LOCAL YMCAS WERE INVOLVED IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS OF CONCERN DURING THE QUADRENNIUM
Christian Mission and Ecumenical Concerns in the Malaysian multi-religious, multi-cultural context:
Local YMCAs continued to provide programmes/ services in the spirit of solidarity with peoples of other faiths, especially through the work with the elderly and the deaf community, e.g. in the YMCAs of Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Sibu.
Issues like Rehabilitation and Care for HIV-Aids Victims, Ecology and Faith, the Christian in Politics, Developing Family Relationships were subjects of Christian Reflections, Seminars and Workshops in Kuala Lumpur YMCA. Studies on subjects like Ecumenism, Mission Today and Creative Bible Study were also conducted.
Leadership development for Volunteers and Staff to respond meaningfully to areas of concern:
The YMCAs of Sibu, Penang, lpoh and Kuala Lumpur each held a three-day volunteer develop-ment programme with resources from the Alberta YMCAs to develop skills in planning and implemen-tation of programmes.
Selected participants then participated in a Train-the-Trainers Programme to continue to develop volunteers at the local level.
Unfair labour practices – discrimination against deaf workers
The Kuala Lumpur YMCA continued to work with the deaf community on employment issues through a Deaf Employment Network to provide employment, support training and to assist the deaf faced with discrimination and unfair practices against them in the workplace. Employment Support training were held annually where the deaf workers were helped to understand their rights and labour laws of the country. Assistance was also given in cases of unfair treat-ment in the workplace, and the fight to an interpreter for the deaf worker was always emphasised to employers in cases of employment problems.
Urban squatters and human development
Kuala Lumpur YMCA continued to expand the work among the urban squatters in the community around the YMCA, covering three major ethnic groups. The YMCA there also cooperated with the Welfare Department’s Juvenile Welfare Committee in the Community.
Children were provided with Education Support [remedial education support] and organised activities. Life and social skills were also taught to the children. They were provided with their own activity centre.
One of the girls, Susanti, who started with the programme in her primary years scored six distinc-tions in the secondary school public examinations in 1998 and in 1999 gained admission into the Agricultural University .
The women of the squatter communities were involved in a community health programme, which currently has put emphasis on sexuality and repro-ductive health and this is essential to young teens within the community.
The Sibu YMCA continued to lend support to the local native community near their Camp Resort and worked closely with the native leaders.
Women – awareness building
The Sibu YMCA has developed strong leadership among the women membership with four women on the Board of Directors. Penang and Kuala Lumpur YMCAs have a woman each on their Boards. However, all the local YMCAs have active women participation and leadership at Board Committee levels.
Family life development, parenting and issues af-fecting women, form the awareness building programmes in the local YMCAs. The Kuala Lumpur YMCA women’s group was instrumental in initiat-ing the squatter community health programme and continue to be involved in it.
Special Populations (Deaf) – empowerment through self-reliance and self-advocacy
The Integrated Deaf Work Programmes of the Kuala Lumpur and Penang YMCAs have been increasing efforts in empowering the deaf commu-nity through self-reliance training. Education and access to information have also been emphasised through early intervention programmes. Parents’ Support Groups, for self-help, support and advo-cacy are encouraged and supported.
This year (1999), in Kuala Lumpur, parents of five teens who were denied entry into the Federation School for the Deaf even though they had done well enough to gain admission into regular academic classes were assisted to advocate for the right of their children into academic and not vocational studies. All finally secured admission into the academic stream.
The YMCA Deaf Club in Kuala Lumpur celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1998 and demonstrated their abilities by organising and hosting a celebration dinner of 680 persons out of which only 100 were hearing persons. They developed and published a Sign Language Book for easy communication with the hearing world. They demonstrated their entrepreneurship through a successful laundrette business – owned, managed and operated by them. Various individual deaf marketed their ‘inventions’ e.g. an alarm clock for the deaf, and batik cloth and paintings. The national media [ newspapers/ television] highlighted many of these deaf youths’ achievements.
In the area of advocacy they have participated in and made representations at various seminars/ conferences to ensure their rights e.g. in the right to an interpreter, the right to education of their choice, the right to secure driving licenses, the right to communication and information .
National cultural awareness
The different local YMCAs sought to promote local cultural awareness through children’s/teens programmes and camps. Traditional games were introduced in camps in Kuala Lumpur. Local cultural exposure trips were organised by the Sibu, Penang and Kuala Lumpur YMCAs.
Traditional games and traditional dances, e.g. Malay joget & inang; the Iban najat, Chinese fan dance, the Indian harvest dance were taught to children/teens and also the Hong Kong YMCA and the Yamoto-Koriyama Youth Exchange groups in Kuala Lumpur.
Sibu YMCA organised dance performances by children and youth at various events when traditional dances were also performed.
Youth development through student groups/ youth groups
Youth development programmes and activities were common to all the local YMCAs.
The Sibu YMCA had Hi-Y groups in six secondary schools providing opportunities for leadership and personal development. The Sibu YMCA has annually held an International Hi-Y Camp which brings over one hundred youth, including partici-pants from different parts of the world, for sharing, learning and discovery.
The YMCA in Kuala Lumpur has a 1 00-strong Chris-tian uniformed youth group called the Boys’ Brigade which has as its main principles – the development of youth to be disciplined, obedient, reverent, and ‘ all that tends towards a true Christian manliness’, very much akin to the YMCA’s ‘spirit, mind and body’. It also ran a Scout Troop for 20 squatter children who were mainly Muslims and Hindus.
Environment awareness building and initiation of local action
Environment awareness building has been carried out by the YMCAs in Penang and Kuala Lumpur, particularly through programmes like the Outdoor Education Programmes of Kuala Lumpur and the Holiday Camps of the Penang YMCA. Newsletters carry awareness building material, often with practical actions that can be taken.
The two YMCAs have also worked towards good environmental practises in the YMCA and the Penang YMCA has started a recycling project. The Kuala Lumpur YMCA started a Youth Environmen-tal Programme group and has begun developing an Environment Education Centre for children. The deaf youth and squatter children had ‘encouraged reusing’ of clothings and household items and in the process developed financial reources for their own development activities. This also helped to instill the spirit of self-reliance in them.
The Kuala Lumpur YMCA also worked closely with the Malaysian Nature Society’s Nature Park and used it as the site for many environment education programmes.
The Sibu YMCA developed their 12-acre Camp Resort to create opportunities for young people and the general public to be part of nature and to learn about the environment. This also provided a good opportunity for outreach to schools and the public.
Awareness building on civil society
Awareness building workshops and forums were held in the Kuala Lumpur YMCA. These were mainly to create awareness on issues affecting the country and society, and to take personal positive, practical actions.
The Kuala Lumpur YMCA Resource Centre provided a comprehensive range of printed resources on selected issues related to civil society, the environment, social issues, etc. The print media was monitored daily for issues and additional resources, and as indicators for the organisation of awareness building forums/ seminars/Christian reflection programmes.
Address – National Office
NGS, Ong Sooi Gaik
National Council of YMCAs
95 Jalan Padang Belia
50470 Kuala Lumpur
For hotel information, please contact YMCA National Offices directly.