Posted by: thebluemusicblog | November 18, 2014



Does this one compete, Andrew?

Jet Lag can be a blessing in disguise. Yesterday I made some unprotected statements in my blogpost about buying runners and inspiration to exercise. This was immediately commented to me by one of my readers (they pop up at the  most surprising places and at unprotected moments :-))I smiled with great self-confidence and asked her to wait and see. So this morning I was up and running at 05.30 and making the below selfie as a proof. One of the comments I was given, was a question if I was actually waiting for the bus. What an impertinent comment!


Today was a fascinating morning. Andrew from Southampton YMCA in England presented their YMCA Caretakers Festival. It was a heartbreaking story about young people below 18 years of age having to take care of  parents or siblings with alcohol-  or drug related problems and thereby becoming more of adults than children and loosing out on school and a meaningful life. YMCA is organizing a Festival for these Caretakers and giving them a break from their often problematic life. In addition the YMCA has worked efficiently with advocacy and awareness raising around this very problematic situation, so much that in 2014 a new law was passed to increase the assistance and protection to such young people. An absolute relevant programme within the framework of “Empowering Young People” – a prime example of a “YMCA POWER PLACE”. Congratulations!

IMG_5411Paul George from Bombay YMCA, the strong representative of India here

 Jason Lidberg from Calgary shared with us around the important Young Achievers Programme for Young Immigrants to Calgary. Toronto YMCA shared about Early Learning and Child Care for young babies, and taught us from statistics how much society generally saves on avoiding future social problems due to investing in early childhood programmes. Impressive!


Gerard from Togo with a customer from Canada, presenting the programme on “Justice and Rehabilitation for Young People in Prison or at Risk of Offending in Togo” –  an absolute fabulous programme. I have visited the prison in Lome, Togo, and seen the impact of this programme, also supported by Y-Care Int. Below some artifacts made by the prisoners.



The day really started in Munich, with a presentation by Joe Schmutz on a programme called Basket Ball Camps. Then we went on to a key note address by Oscar Gaitan, leader of Partners for Democratic Change in Colombia and a key operator in the work for peace in post-conflict Colombia. Together with Jaidivi Nunez, former member of the World YMCA Executive Committee 1998-2002, Oscar Gaitan demonstrated the non violent method for conflict resolution and how to advocate for public policy creation in social issues relevant for young people and other groups in need of stronger legal protection and defense. Very relevant information for us in the World YMCA, preparing for increased focus on advocacy for Youth Empowerment in the four strategic areas of Jobs, Health, Civic Engagement and the Environment, and also not to forget the Safe Space resolution from the World Council. I talked with Mr Gaitan and we will stay in touch on further exchange of experiences and concepts relevant for us.


Here a photo of Alveiro Valencia, National General Secretary of the Colombian YMCA Federation to the right, and in the middle “King” Juan Carlos Martinez Romo, international secretary in YMCA Colombia and demonstrating the clown programme to mobilize more young people for the YMCA. A successful profile creator!


Here two colleagues from Colombia YMCA,  Dalila Henao and Santiago Reina


Above my friend from Osaka YMCA, Senior Executive Director Hiroyuki Satoh and Bill.


Life is full of temptations, and so also in Bogota. I am not quite sure what this was, but is surely looked delicious, and I had to fight with myself to leave it to a snap shot.


I told you yesterday that Colombia is a very young country, 54% of the population is below 29 years of age! Colombia has more than 1800 bird species, the widest variation of butterflies and frogs, more than 3000 different orchids and it is the world’s leading producer of emeralds. Colombia is also one of the most inequitable countries of the world. 37,2% of its inhabitants live under the poverty level, and during the conflict I mentioned yesterday, more than 7 million people died.

Over the last 50 years the YMCA of Colombia has been offering a variety of programmes and services aimed at the development of young people from all social, economic and educational conditions. The mission is to help them become leaders that transform lives!IMG_5423

Sorry for the little foggy photo here, but this illustrates the children programme YMCA-Seeds.IMG_5424

This photo illustrates the programme for Child Labor Prevention and Elimination.IMG_5425And these happy kids illustrate the programme for education. Tomorrow we will visit some local programmes in Bogota, they include programmes for children with disabilities, Young Entrepreneurial Leaders, Volunteer Training programmes and International Programmes. Personally I will visit a programme for young offenders. More to come!

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