KENYA YMCA BACKGROUND
The YMCA was first established in Nairobi in 1910 as a provincial council of the British YMCA but was discontinued in 1932 due to lack of funds and leadership. The government took over the building; property assets were sold and proceeds held by the government against the re-establishment of the YMCA.
It was not until 1943 that work was done again in the name of YMCA. Through the War Prisoners' Aid of the World Alliance, the YMCA began work among the Italian prisoners of war in some 58 camps in Kenya.
In 1947 the Government provided an excellent site for a new building which was dedicated in 1950, providing hostel accommodation for 130 young people. The Nairobi centre was enlarged in 1961 and the National council of Kenya YMCA was launched. In 1964 a National council building and a prayer house were erected. Today, the Nairobi Central Branch stands in the same grounds.
Since its inauguration, the National Movement has grown and expanded to many parts of the country. It has centres in all the provinces except one, hence acquiring a real national outlook. It consists of 31 local branches, which operate under the direction of the National General Secretary and the National Executive Committee.
The Shauri Moyo centre started as boys' club in the early 1950's has grown tremendously. It now consists of a hostel with a capacity of 100 beds, a gymnasium, our largest vocational training centre and a public library. The centre is one of the most active around the country with a membership exceeding 1000.
On a 20-acre plot of land near Lake Naivasha donated to the YMCA in 1960, stands a campsite with excellent accommodation and recreational facilities. Known as the Naivasha YMCA camp, it is a popular resort in the area, attracting both local and foreign tourists. Trips to the nearby Hell's Gate, Lake Nakuru and other tourist sites in the region can be arranged from this camp.
The Limuru Farm Training School which opened in 1962 to train young Africans in modern farming methods has developed to an Agricultural Training Centre for both boys and girls from all over the country. The centre, known as Limuru Agricultural Youth Centre offers a two-year course and caters for 96 youths at any one time, taken from poor families throughout Kenya. The Kenya YMCA is committed to providing this training to needy youth as a way of liberating the individuals and the ir families economically. The graduates are able to obtain employment in the agricultural sector where their training and capability is well recognised.
Other Vocational Training Centres have been established in most of our branches making vocational training one of our major programmes today. The courses have diversified to include computers (Information Technology) secretarial studies and accounting.The YMCA has received considerable support from the government and local authorities. This has enabled us acquire plots on which we have set up centres throughout the country. Most of these centres are fully operational offering different services and facilities to the community and are manned by full time staff. The rest, which also offer different programmes in line with our mission are managed by volunteers.
Kenya YMCA over the years made an invaluable contribution to the lives of many young people in Kenya. Many of the youth who received assistance through the children sponsorship programme in the 1970s and 1980s are now working in various fields and are active members of this organisation.