With great honor and joy YMCA Thessaloniki welcomed on Wednesday 24th of August Michal Szymanczak, Senior Executive Secretary of the YMCA World, who remained in our city until Friday, August 26, 2016.

The visit is part of the international relations of YMCA Thessaloniki with European and international bodies of the YMCA World and was a result of our participation in the European Conference held in March 2016 in the Netherlands in the city Den Dolder. In the conference mentioned above, YMCA Thessaloniki made a very important suggestion to the members of the other European YMCA ‘s to raise awareness on issues relating to refugees and to enable executives in developing programmes and actions in favor of children refugees.

The purpose of the visit of the Senior Executive Secretary of YMCA World to the YMCA Thessaloniki was his better understanding and inform him about the actions undertaken by the YMCA Thessaloniki related to the refugee crisis and to visit refugee relocation centers.

During his stay Michal Szymanczak had the opportunity to visit the Refugee Relocation Center in Diavata where YMCA Thessaloniki is developing actions on a weekly basis focusing on the entertainment of the refugee children. He also visited the Refugee Center “ELPIDA” at Derveni, a new potential site of development for the YMCA action.

As a part of his visit, a discussion-meeting took place with members of the board of YMCA Thessaloniki, a representative of the Municipality of Thessaloniki and UNHCR and the partners of YMCA from the European REACT program. The REACT is a project funded by UNHCR, with lead partner the Municipality of Thessaloniki and is temporarily hosting refugees seeking asylum or relocation. During the meeting, new ways of strengthening the cooperation among the partners were discussed as well as the support from the YMCA World.

As announced by the Senior Executive Secretary of the YMCA World «following the events of the last two years mainly on the European continent, the YMCA World decided to strengthen the organizations – countries actively engaged with the refugee crisis, in all possible ways (financially, materially and human capital). In this context and following the disclosure of the activity developed by our organization, it was decided upon the YMCA World to assist YMCA Thessaloniki for it’s work, initially with the amount of 10,000 €, as the work of YMCA Thessaloniki is addressed by the YMCA World as a model program on the vulnerable group of refugees»