ICS programme is changing lives, Yao’s story

Kougbeadjo Yao Ekpe underwent a huge transformation thanks to his involvement with International Citizen Service. Before the programme, Yao was very shy, lacked self-confidence and felt uncomfortable working with vulnerable children and young people.  He was afraid of speaking in public and avoided it at all costs, so much so, that whilst in school he would never raise his hand, and struggled academically. He was certain that a lack of confidence and poor results at school would spell out a bleak future, and he found it particularly difficult to make friends.

“It was hard for me to make real friends and I found myself isolated.” Yao explained. However, with ICS, he learnt to “surpass himself”, and thanks to his experience as a volunteer in Atakpamé, Togo, he gained more confidence, and found it easier to work as part of a team.

Liberia emergencies

Ask any mother and they will say the same: their worst fear is seeing their children suffer.

For Vivien, these fears have multiplied amid an Ebola outbreak which has had almost 15,000 confirmed cases. Vivien is raising a family in Liberia – the worst affected country – where the virus has claimed over 2,800 lives.

The International “Mzungu »

 “Local is lekker (nice) but Global is better”, a saying synonymous with those South Africans aiming to go beyond their borders with their work and influence. While some may argue this, my years in the YMCA have shown this to be true. A lot of African languages use the name – “Mzungu” to describe a white person, my story as a “Mzungu” in Germany, Africa and the World has truly been amazing to say the least. I have become an “International Mzungu” indeed.

ICS volunteers in a mid-term evaluation workshop

Arrived in Togo on the 18th of July the UK ICS volunteers and their counterparts from Togo started a two-day mid-term evaluation workshop this morning in Bagbé. Fifteen (15) International Citizen Service (ICS) volunteers from UK and Togo have being working together on several activities under YMCA supervision for some weeks now. Time has come to go through an evaluation of the journey and adjust what needs to be so and make some decisions to move forward accordingly.

AAYMCA statement on ebola in Africa

The Africa Alliance of YMCAs stands in solidarity with our YMCAs in Liberia and Sierra Leone and their people as they continue to struggle against the deadly onslaught of Ebola. We have been deeply saddened by the spread and the fear that has gripped the nations.