„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


9th June 2016

In May 2016 Adam Rychlik, YMCA Europe staff member visited Tirana and had several meetings with the key leaders of all the YMCA groups.

There are 3 active groups in Albania and all of them keep contact with YMCA Europe. None of them is representing a national YMCA movement as they are local organisations and have no formal common structures. In May 2016 Adam Rychlik, YMCA Europe staff member visited Tirana and had several meetings with the key leaders of all 3 groups. During this visit an evaluation of the last 12 months of activitywas done and the plans of development were reviewed according to the priorities of YMCA Europe´s new Strategic Plan

YMCA Tirana was registered in 2014 and focuses mostly on the development of social programmes. Empowerment and activation of Albanian youth is meeting an important need of Albanian society and will bring long-terms results. The leaders of this association are also involved in valuable projects of other organizations. This is an inspiration for the YMCA and shows possible directions in programme development. The best example is a project, which deals with former victims of trafficking and domestic violence. This is a complete set of recovery segments that give the beneficiaries law protection, psychological help, accommodation and employment.

The project is run by an organization called Different and Equal, in which YMCA Tirana CEO Egla Lula plays a significant role as external expert. Going in this direction, YMCA Tirana is planning their own project under the title "Coaching for Employment".

In April 2016 another YMCA association in Tirana was founded. It is called YMCA Active Albania. This association is formed by Albanian students, who were active in a students' movement "Albanian Creative". The president of YAA is Eriglen Begaj. Their plans of own project concern environment protection help to orphanages and youth empowerment.

There is also a group of people who are seriously preparing the foundation of the third YMCA in Tirana. The "engine" of this groups is David Chang, an American who some years ago moved to Albania and runs a school for children (http://www.facebook.com/tiranaschool). The group around him are people with an active profile. They are involved in concrete services provided to the community. The school presents a very modern methodology for children education. This is "learning by doing", where children are entirely engaged in the process of education and learning. This attitude is represented by the teachers who are employed there. The educational system, which is common in many EU countries, is only making a space for itself in Albania. It seems that when the heyday comes the school will take its deserved position in the educational field in Albania. And for YMCA in Albania the leaders like David, who focus on providing concrete and quality activities to people are already sought after. Hopefully they will have enough determination in overcoming all the obstacles they encounter in the country and its young democracy.

In the field visit to Albania in June 2015 the leaders of the groups agreed that for some time they will perform as separate organisations and at a certain point they would form a union. They also agreed that setting criteria of being a member of National YMCA in Albania would be crucial. Now they have a chance of creating such criteria and that would be in accordance with YMCA Europe indicators of a „helathy movement". And their activities will be able to be fitted well to the YMCA Europe Strategic Plan 2016-2020. YMCA Europe staff will support the process within their realistic possibilities. For the time being its reflected in our Operational Plan 2016-2017.

Author/Source: Adam Rychlik, YMCA Europe Executive Secretary

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