Journey to Tanguar Haor: by the Birisiri YMCA

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Last Updated (Monday, 08 January 2024 16:59)

The Covid-19 pandemic brought many changes in our lives and still we bear its effect in our daily activities. All we may have experiences stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness during the Covid-19 pandemic and which negatively affected our mental health. Because of the negative effects in our mind, we may miss to take care of our own body and our mind did not connect with other because of physical distance and was able to take care of our society members too. Nowadays we are recovering from such negative effects and coming back to our daily life routine. The Bangladesh Y Movement always try to build a strong supportive community and strengthen relationships among its members through its activities and emphasized to recover the negative impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic by taking different kinds of activities. The Birisiri YMCA (one of the local YMCA) arranged such a wonderful day-long (whole day) outdoor trip in the famous lake of the Tanguar (Haor) for its members and community people. The Tanguar Haor (lake) is one of famous tourist site and world heritage site situated in Sunamganj, Shylet district in Bangladesh. Where the blue sky plays with the water, where the white cloud sleep in the arms of the mountain, where the row of the tree every day take a bath in the blue water and color of forest lives below the water. The sunrise in the early, then smile, the moon surprised to see her beauty in the water glass, the row of stars are sleeping in the arms of the left- the everything imagination come true when you see the Tanguar Haor.

On 4th August, 2023 Birisiri YMCAs hired a rent bus and a big boat for the whole day trip. Early in the morning around fifty (50) members including youths, women and few respective guests started one and half hour journey by the rented bus and arrived Kalmakanda Bazar. In the road of Birisiri YMCA to Kalmakanda Bazar, people can see the natural beauty including Indian green hills, green crops fields, many farms, local bazar and different villages. About one and half hours later whole team reached to the Kalmakanda Bazar area where the rented boat was waiting to float on the Tanguar Haor. Before the whole day floating in the Haor the Birisiri YMCA management team prepared and brought packets launch, life jackets for all, musical instruments and sufficient drinking water for everybody.

When the boat started its engine, everybody was excited to see the beauty of the Haor. They found that the whole Tanguar Haor is converted like crystalline aquarium whose height is 20-25 feet tall. The water creates a blue earth by the theft from the sky. The cloud is flying under the sky during the trip and everybody felt joy and started to sing with the youth forum members. After a few-hour-journey, the boat arrived at the Watch Tower which was located within the Dharmapasha and the Tahirpur Upazila of Sunamganj District. It is a high watch tower that was constructed by the forest department of Bangladesh for the tourist to watch the natural beauty of the Haor. From the Watch Tower all travelers can see the Haor (lake) surface area by the bird eyes. It is easy to see the unique natural shallow lake beauty from the watch tower. Besides seeing the beauty of the Lake, the travelers also anchored their boat to swim in the Haor. After that, the boat started moving onto Niladri Lake. During this trip all travelers got engaged in different activities. Some of them were reading books, some were chatting, and some were singing different Bangla folk song.

Members enjoying Haor natural beauty

This journey by boat is an experience that combines excitement, adventure, and relaxation in this group. The sound of the water splashing against the hull and the gentle swaying of the boat provides calming and relaxing moments to all travelers. This boat offers a unique perspective on the Tanguar Haor, allowing all members to see landscapes from a different angle and get up close and personal with nature. During the Tanguar Haor trip our boat stop at quaint villages and local markets along the way, savoring the local cuisine and see the villager’s way of life. This trip by boat covers careful planning and preparation. Before this trip Birisiri YMCA management team studied the weather and water conditions, as well as any potential threats, so all travelers wear life jackets and communication devices, to ensure a safe and comfortable journey. The journey lasted for about almost six hours and we return to our destination before the sunset.

As most of the members agreed, this journey by boat to explore the Tanguar Haor might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is filled with adventure, beauty, and the relaxation from the Covid pandemic period. It is an unforgettable experience.

Biplob Rangsa

Executive Secretary for Programme


Prepared date: 28 August, 2023


University & College YMCA 20th Anniversary International Youth Conference 2023

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Last Updated (Monday, 08 January 2024 17:00)

Inspiring Young People to Make a Difference: University & College YMCA 20th Anniversary International Youth Conference 2023

Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong hosted University & College YMCA International Youth Conference 2023 "Inspire2gether: Community Wellbeing in Post-pandemic Era" from 21-24 July. The conference brought together over 100 local and overseas delegates with the aim of inspiring young people to respond to society's needs. It served as a multicultural platform for knowledge exchange. Activities such as thematic talks, community explorations, and design thinking workshops were conducted to stimulate delegates' thoughts on the pandemic's impact on community wellbeing.

Several esteemed professionals presented their valuable insights on related topics. Mr. Răzvan-Victor Sassu, Head of Strategy & Policy of World Alliance of YMCAs (World YMCA), discussed the World YMCA's efforts in addressing community wellbeing in the post-pandemic era. He emphasized the importance of the younger generation's role and responsibilities in creating a sustainable and equitable world, highlighting the YMCA's Vision 2030. Additionally, professors from The University of Hong Kong and The Chinese University of Hong Kong shared their research findings and insights on the impact of the pandemic on families and emotional health.

To gain firsthand insight into the challenges of communities, delegates participated in a wide array of community exploration activities such as visits to the communities and various service units of Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong, enabling them to understand the needs of young people, the elderly, low-income families and the homeless after the pandemic. Moreover, the Conference featured a cultural carnival where delegates showcased their culture through traditional attire, food and games. The carnival attracted over 200 children and parents, providing an opportunity for delegates to connect with the local community and share their diverse cultures.

In the Closing Ceremony, we were honored to host a distinguished panel of guests, including Mr. Alex Fan, MH, Non-official Member of the Youth Development Commission; Mr. Răzvan-Victor Sassu; The Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Soo, JP, Director of Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong; Dr. Eddie Ho, Chairman of University & College YMCA Committee of Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong, and Mr. Karl Lau, General Secretary of Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong. During the ceremony, delegates shared their solutions and insights on addressing challenges faced by young people, the elderly, low-income families, and the homeless, utilizing the Design Thinking framework. Representatives from partnered universities provided valuable feedback, encouraging delegates to further develop their talents and make a positive social impact.


Serve Beyond the Service

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Last Updated (Thursday, 30 June 2022 12:51)

The fifth wave of the pandemic has been rapidly escalating in the community since the beginning of February this year. With the number of confirmed cases growing exponentially, many under­resourced families and seniors living alone were out of anti­epidemic and living supplies. Therefore, YMCA of Hong Kong Cheung Sha Wan Centre launched a Care Package Campaign for the people in need in Cheung Sha Wan. Miraculously, the Campaign had attracted an anonymous donation of $100,000 that allowed the supplies to include emergency food and daily necessities to 450 families in Cheung Sha Wan and Tung Chung to relieve their urgent needs.

It all started with a phone call...

On February 27, Fish received a call from a single parent, who is on the After School Care Programme and live in a subdivided flat with her 3 children, she expressed her devastation as her entire family had been tested positive. When Fish was planning to purchase some necessities for them, Mary received more calls from other families in the similar dire situations, so they started buying and delivering the supplies to them, on top of their normal duties. While answering the call to response and suffering from manpower shortage as a consequence of their staff being tested positive or undergoing quarantine as close contact, all they thought about was 'how much they could help'.

With the enormous responsibilities ahead of them, they encouraged each other to stay strong and healthy, to step up and rush to rescue those were helpless. They dashed out to purchase supplies for several days and contacted the local grocery shops, "there was a shortage of supplies around town, so we bought whatever was available on the shelves. As soon as we received a call for help, we headed out to deliver the supplies the following day."

The good cause bore fruit and was eventually attracted an anonymous donation of $100,000 for the Care Package Campaign. With the sponsorship, Fish and Mary were able to procure more supplies and expand the reach to 450 families in Cheung Sha Wan and Tung Chung. Besides serving more beneficiaries, they were also able to include supplies to address symptoms such as sore throat, to replace biscuits with cakes; and for those under home quarantine, to bring them canned vegetables to maintain a balanced diet.

Little did we know that Fish and Mary had given up more than what they did. With Hong Kong facing an onslaught from the 5th wave of the pandemic, work from home had become a common phenomenon, but they were not stopped by any of these. "As I live with my grandmother and daughter, I was worried to put my family at risk, so I decided to stay at The Salisbury temporarily. I found it hard for my family to understand why I am doing this, so I just texted them, and explained to them when I got home at night." Fish's daughter just turned 5 years old, she has never slept alone and away from her family. She could only see her daughter via video call for a whole month because of the work they did. "Thankfully, our families respected our decision and were supportive, so that we could stay focus to serve."

Read more: Serve Beyond the Service