Christmas with Y Care International
We’re preparing to celebrate the Christmas season with our network of YMCAs and local partners around the world, and this year, we’re sharing some snapshots and Christmas highlights from our local partners in Sierra Leone.
A Christmas message from Sierra Leone
Warm Christmas wishes from Christian Kamara, CEO of YMCA Sierra Leone.
Christian is based in Freetown and the surrounding area, and his role takes him around the county, supporting regional YMCA groups and projects which are working to see every young person’s potential fulfilled.
In the coming year, Y Care International will be showcasing some of the inspiring work of YMCA Sierra Leone, which operates in over 23 local communities in the country.
Projects range from a focus on natural resources and protecting biodiversity to youth employment and skills development.
Read on for Christian’s full message, and join our mailing list to hear stories of hope and transformation.
A festival for the family
We asked Christian what Christmas is like in local communities:
“Most people go (from the city) to their villages to join their families.
“Others celebrate with their kids at home.
“But there’s quite a lot of festival going on at Christmas… people go to the beach, many go to church, and people party from the second week of December until the end.”
Earlier this year…
In September, members of our team visited Lungi, near Freetown, to learn more about what the community and local YMCA are doing to sustain livelihoods and the local economy.
David, a community member, shared how beneficial mangrove forests are for the local community, who rely on fishing for income.
“When the mangroves are here … that is their feeding ground.”
David explained that healthy mangrove forests create healthy waters for fish, which in turn sustains the local economy. With the effects of climate change and other economic factors, it is more important than ever before to maintain the ecosystems and biodiversity that helps communities to survive and thrive.
‘We are the community, transforming the community’
“Mohamed saw a need for safer communities, and so he, with the support of the YMCA and other volunteers in the community go out most nights to engage with young people who are otherwise enticed into crime and help bring safety to residents in his area.”
In September, we met Mohamed in Freetown, Sierra Leone. As a musician, he and the YMCA are not just tackling crime and anti-social behaviour among young people. Mohamed uses music, forming bands and encouraging young people to make friends, learn new skills and gain the confidence they need to participate in the community.
Watch the full Christmas Message from our CEO, Greame Hodge, here.
Follow us in 2023 and discover more about how the YMCA in Sierra Leone is supporting locally-led initiatives like those in YMCA Sierra Leon, and to find out how you can get involved in their work through Y Care International.