Ukraine: ‘YMCA stands for peace; YMCA works for peace’


At 1 April 2022: with up to 750,000 euro already raised from a target of 2 million, initial YMCA support has been given to some 15,000 people in Ukraine (where 17 YMCAs out of 25 in Ukraine are still functional and serving their communities) and to an estimated 40,000 new Ukrainian refugees arriving in RomaniaMoldova, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Belgium and Spain.

We are now launching an intended second round of support, in three broad areas.

First, offering free psychological First Aid for traumatised young Ukrainians. The ‘Heal the Smile’ project is already launched, and is creating a register of professional counsellors in Ukraine and surrounding countries. The register will ultimately be matched to a register of those who need counselling.

Second, continued programmes of sports and games, arts and crafts for young people who remain in Ukraine and for young people who have fled to neighbouring countries.  These activities will take place within existing YMCA structures and new ones: for instance in Bratislava (Slovakia), Warsaw (Poland), and Baia Mare (Romania, which is already in discussion with neighbouring Cavnic in Romania and YMCAs Carpathy and Uzhhorrod just over the border in Ukraine). The activities for young people will also be accompanied by help given to those registering as refugees, and to those who are forced to learning new local languages.

Third, continued training for young people in dealing with conflict, and learning conflict resolution skills, as a continuation of YMCA Europe’s Roots for Peace Programme.  ‘Roots’ has already run for 15 years, running 53 projects in 12 countries, involving well over 2000 young people for a total of 40 countries. Further rounds of the programme will ensure continued Ukrainian participation, as well as for Russians within the Russian Federation and in countries like Armenia and Georgia.

Thank you for your continued support – please donate here


News, voices


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Nataliia Vainilovych is a YMCA national trainer in playback theatre. She is currently staying in Kyiv and documenting the war: taking pictures of people in underground shelters, interviewing civilians, sharing stories of Ukrainians with the world. In the video, she tells us about her daily life in these challenging times. Interview by Marta Huretska, video by Philip Wilson


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The good news and the challenging news from YMCA relief efforts to support Ukraine (Facebook, 2 March 2022). Updates from Romania and Moldova.

Hear from YMCA Russia (25 February 2022)

Hear from Marta Huretska, YMCA Ukraine (26 February 2022)

Hear from Ana Lucia Lobos, a Canadian/Columbian who volunteered to work in YMA Ukraine a decade ago (28 February 2022)

Hear from Victor Serbulov, National General Secretary of YMCA Ukraine (25 February 2022)