For more than 90 years, YMCA Lebanon has been working to develop the mind, bodies and spirits of young people regardless of their religion, political affiliation, colour or creed.
The objective of the organisation is to give its members a strong moral foundation and to improve their spiritual, mental and physical development while providing them with the necessary tools to help build a stronger, healthier society.
Through its work, YMCA works to improve social causes such as inclusion, community development, empowering youth, women and vulnerable communities. In order to do so, the organisation implements Vocational Education and training programmes; medical assistance programme which provides chronic medicines over 470 health centres across the country; youth recreational activities and psychological support through sports activities.
Since 2009, when YMCA decided to partner with Aflatoun International, ten thousand children and youth have benefited from the activities through 45 schools all over the country. YMCA decided to partner with Aflatoun because they were interested in the concept of saving and understanding rights, which they find to be very important in their society. In fact, Lebanese students do not receive this kind of education in their national educational programme.
What makes the organisation unique is that YMCA is one of the first NGOs that has helped implementing Social and Financial Education programmes in local schools. Now, they implement the Aflatoun and Aflayouth curricula in several schools in the country and they observe that children and youth are applying the concepts of Aflatoun, executing small projects that help them develop their entrepreneurial capacities for the future.
Moreover, they are proud of having taken part in the translation of the AflaYouth curriculum handbook to Armenian.
Empowering Armenians Across the Globe – AflaYouth
In 2020, the project “Empowering Armenians Across the Globe – AflaYouth” was initiated. It aims at offering Aflayouth in Western Armenian* to Armenians in Lebanon and across the globe. YMCA believes that this is an exemplary model of cooperation between leading NGOs – YMCA and Aflatoun International, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU).
Through Aflayouth, the children will develop the much-needed 21st century “soft skills”, and simultaneously will have the opportunity to practice the use of Armenian outside the confines of literature and history, which will encourage the use of Armenina in domains related to personal and social life, as well as career choices.
Ultimately, the curriculum will help learners develop the needed social, financial, employability and entrepreneurship skills. It will introduce the latest teaching and learning methods and approaches, so that teachers will be able to use these methods for their classes. The curriculum will also encourage the use of Western Armenian in domains related to everyday experiences, outside the confines of history or literature.
*the Western Armenian language is one of the preserved languages by UNESCO for being endangered.