The Solidarity Fund has supported and continues to support many of our YMCA teams worldwide to adjust to and deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. Here are a few examples of what has been achieved thanks to your donations.
Keeping the staff and premises
The main purpose of the Fund is to keep the YMCAs in daily operation, and estimate it has helped to sustain about 380 jobs.
Due to COVID-19, many YMCA operations had to be put on hold. Their income was drastically cut, and the priority was to ensure that staff could be retained and that rent for premises could be paid on time. As YMCA Madagascar shares: “the grant allowed us to keep our staff and pay our rent during the 5 months of lockdown when our sources of income were in deficit”. YMCA Russia fixed their gas heating at the outdoor center “YMCA Dacha” which is their main resource-mobilization project. “This means we can save on the costs of heating and hot water, and raise more money to support YMCA Russia staff positions”.
So now that the Fund had assured that YMCAs were still in operation, with teams and premises intact, several YMCAs were able to continue their important work in supporting their communities which were suffering under the pandemic and the conditions it imposed.
Reaching the communities
YMCA programmes are essential to support communities, and YMCAs have worked hard to minimize the disruption caused by COVID. YMCA Cambodia provided children with learning materials while the schools were closed, and their families received visits from YMCA staff to provide ongoing help. YMCA Sierra Leone distributed food items and facilitated micro-grant payments to 550 vulnerable women. They also installed 15 hand washing tanks. The trainers of the East Jerusalem YMCA in Palestine published videos on their social media to keep connected to the local community and support them. YMCA Colombia coordinated with local YMCA movements to support the mental wellbeing of communities affected by COVID, and keep them physically healthy. They also initiated a culture of philanthropy so that staff and volunteers are working together to raise funds for their local associations.
YMCA Philippines launched two webinars. The first one was about supporting social entrepreneurs to handle the impact of the pandemic on their staff and businesses. 31 leaders, program staff and youth volunteers from 14 local YMCAs attended this webinar, which was facilitated by Victor Emmanuel Castro, the current Industry Development Specialist at the Department of Trade and Industry. For instance, young people who own a YMCA Community Store in San Pablo (pictured, left) learned how to keep the shop going for local people, so that they can buy basic consumer goods in a safe environment.
The second webinar was led by YMCA Manila, and focused on mental health under the title “Strength-Based Sharing for a Braver New Normal”. It was attended by 175 teachers and employees from different sectors. It was a “coping hub platform” for those who were affected physically, financially and emotionally by the crisis. The main aim was to develop resilience in body, mind and spirit, to cope with the challenges of the times.