A Visit to Karachi YMCA, Pakistan

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Last Updated (Friday, 03 March 2023 16:29)

In early February, a visit to Karachi YMCA was made by Kohei Yamada, immediate past General Secretary, alongside Nam Boo Won, General Secretary of APAY, to take necessary follow-up actions on the Karachi High Court order made in February 2020. The court authorized and gave power to APAY to reinstate the Karachi YMCA.

A Brief History of the Karachi YMCA

The Karachi YMCA was founded in 1905 by the British Government in the centre of Karachi city with a vast ground for sports mainly for the Christian community. The YMCA then took a 100-year contract to run the sports activities and schools, especially for the Christian populations. The YMCA had run a secondary school, hostel, various sports programs and as a separate legal entity, Polytechnic Institute on the ground, and St. Mary Secondary School in poor communities.

From around 2005, the ground was taken over by commercial businesses, which deeply influenced the division of the board members. Since then, two groups of so-called “board of the YMCA” have fought for the ground ownership. In December 2018, the Karachi High court ordered the business groups to leave the YMCA ground, and it vacated in June 2019. The High Court then ordered APAY to take over the leadership for three years in 2020. Meanwhile, the ground is recovered by the Commissioner of Karachi.

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, APAY could not come to Karachi for nearly 3 years. If the Supreme Court permits APAY to carry on its given task from 2023, it can plan to recover the YMCA activities in three years. A three-year plan was drafted by the APAY General Secretary Nam Boo Won and Kohei Yamada, former GS of APAY, after visiting Karachi in February 2023.

Current situations of the Karachi YMCA

The YMCA of Karachi is located in the middle of the City Center area with a huge land of 35,000 Square Yards (100mx300m wide), including a ground, school, various classrooms, Polytechnic Institute buildings and some housing for staff members. On this campus, there are YMCA Secondary School (K1 to G10) with 400 students and 40 staff members, a Polytechnic Institute of 200students in 7 kinds of technologies with 41 staff members, a Hostel of 50 rooms (family 8, 14 double and 28 single rooms), plus various sports activities. YMCA also has St. Mary Secondary School in a different location (in low-income communities) with 300 students and 22 staff members.

The above programs have continued during the last 20 years amid difficulties, but the lack of a proper governance structure has stopped many sports activities of the YMCA. APAY is expected to recover the governance structure in three years by the Supreme Court order. 

Three Year Plan drafted (Summer 2023 – end of 2025)

In a series of discussions with the principles of the YMCA school (Mushtaq) and Polytechnic Institute (Ivan) and consulted legally by APAY-designated lawyer Ishrat Ghazali, Kohei and Nam have drafted a Three-Year Plan whose main points are as below:

  • APAY will start hiring GS position as soon as the Supreme Court permits.
  • APAY will form a Steering Committee as well as a Partners Support group.
  • APAY will appoint various groups of teachers and staff members: 1) school teachers’ teams, 2) Polytech Construction team, and 3)Governance formation team (by Steering comm)
  • A three-year financial plan is drafted, including using the Nazir-held fund by order of the High Court.

APAY will recruit a few senior staff members to Karachi to help the local movement in three years with the following plan of action:

  • Renovation of the old building (originally made for hostel and staff members’ housing in 1905 and now being used as the Secondary School).
  • Renovation of Hostel (in the 1980s, the YMCA of the USA helped build the hostel for a very successful income-generating project, but it was not used since 2005 due to security issues) needs to be renovated.
  • Strengthening the current two existing schools and Polytech Institute.
  • School Revitalization Plan started by teachers and staff team

Renovating the school building is an important issue which will be dealt with right after we get the order from the Supreme Court. To improve the quality of the education of the YMCA Secondary School, YMCA will utilize the existing facility and ground for the students during class hours as well as for extra-curricular activities. Meanwhile, the school teachers and staff will initiate the School Revitalization Plan by making different task teams of teachers and staff members by their initiatives.

Hostel Re-Construction Plan

We will construct the hostel, which has not been used for over 15 years. We need to fix it gradually in three years. As the Polytechnic Institute has professional instructors in construction and architecture, we will ask instructors and students to renovate the hostel gradually under the construction team of the Institute. We may need to hire some professionals in some specific areas, but mainly this is to renovate the YMCA Hostel by students themselves as a part of extracurricular activities. The rooftop could be filled with solar energy panels, and the renewal electricity could be shared with the hostel and schools. We would apply this fund for Y’s Men International Green Team.

Governance Review (Steering Committee with APAY)

During the period of APAY management for three years, the Steering Committee will be formed under the supervision of APAY. The Steering Committee needs to discuss the legal status of the Karachi YMCA, which has two legal entities with different constitutions. This is one important issue to be addressed for future YMCA development. A General Secretary to be appointed in due course will coordinate the four significant departments with six other management positions.

  • Secretary of Administration (Accountant and tenant management)
  • Polytechnic Institute Dept. Principal
  • St. Mary Secondary School Dept. Principal
  • YMCA Secondary School Dept. Principal
  • (new) Sport Coordinator for school and outsiders ⇒not Executive position
  • (new) Hostel Management Dept. Chief administrator from the third year

All these plans will be submitted to the upcoming APAY board meeting for review and approval for implementation.

By Kohei Yamada, former GS and Nam Boo Won, GS of APAY