Since December 2nd, 2018, the National Council of C-YMCA has had the privilege of welcoming Elisabeth KALYVATSI, secretary for refugee assistance at the World Alliance of YMCAs, invited to the 2018 National General Assembly of C-YMCA held from 08 to 09 December 2018 in the locality of Foumbot, in West Region, Noun Department.
Her visit in Cameroon allowed her to meet, as part of the work sessions, C-YMCA National Executive Board Project Team, UNHCR members, Cameroonian authorities and other partners. Before the end of her stay we were able to collect her impressions during an interview.
– What was the purpose of your presence in Cameroon and what are your impressions since you arrived?
Cameroon YMCA is running the PAIJEREC project, financed from World YMCA, assisting refugees. I am here as the Secretary for refugee assistance of WY. The program is on a year and it is really succeeding very promising results.
– You visited the YMCA power-space in Bertoua, where you met refugees from the Central African Republic, in their daily activities, can you share with us this experience?
It was really interesting but also very inspiring. The refugees welcomed me very warmly and told me two things in two different ways:
- The first one was an opportunity for appreciation and
- Was the opportunity to declare the importance of this project and to ask for the continuation.
It was really moving to listen to the refugees to thank YMCA for the safe space. To say that they had the opportunity to learn so many things that they never thought before. And of course, to see in practice the integration, the hope.
Furthermore, what is very important is that some of the refugees all ready volunteering in that program, because they want to help effectively to the success.
– What can we learn from the working sessions you had with the C-YMCA National Executive Board Project Team, UNHCR members, Cameroonian authorities and other partners?
From YMCA Cameroon side there is will! There is determination. Lots of ideas and possibilities for further development and enrichment of this program.
The YMCA Cameroon has achieved through its programs, the recognition and respect from the other side. I think our meetings also with the authorities helped and soon there will be more concrete results.
– We had the honor of your presence at the National General Assembly in Foumbot, which allowed you to meet several other officials of Cameroon-YMCA, your impressions?
It was my pleasure and honor to be invited in and my present at the most important moment for a national organization: The General Assembly!
I had the opportunity to meet all those volunteers from all over the country and be informed about those your work all over, not just for the refugees but the prisoners, the schools, children, the cooperation with the church etc.
Thank you very much for that. What is really impressive is that there are so many young people included in your process..
– After more than a week in Cameroon, can you tell us something?
There is a lot of problems, gabs, challenges in your country. So I believe that Cameroon needs you. The society needs you!
– In general, what remarks can you give us in the direction of the evolution of the movement in Cameroon?
I think you know better the needs of the people, the needs of your country and the dynamics of your organization.
Keep going and be open in the new challenges. Thank you for what you already do.
God bless you!