APAY calls for a peaceful restoration of democracy in Myanmar

The whole YMCA community across the Asia-Pacific region woke up in shock and distress to the news that the military had seized control of the country. They detained the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for Democracy. Since the military coup, we heard nothing from neither Aung San Suu Kyi or from the deposed President Win Myint.

Only recently, we celebrated with the people of Myanmar on their successful and peaceful general elections where the NLD captured over 83% of the elected seats. The whole country was waiting in eagerness for the newly elected legislators to begin their new mandate when the parliament session reopens.

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Letter to International Community from Myanmar
To: All Diplomatic Missions in Myanmar; all States and International Agencies Maintaining Relations with Myanmar

We are reaching out to express our grave concern regarding the illegal takeover of the Myanmar government by the military forces. While they have used claims of election fraud to justify their actions, we wanted to clarify that there is no provision under the Constitution or the laws of Myanmar justifying their intervention. In fact, their actions are in blatant violation of the 2008 Constitution—which they themselves drafted—as the power to declare a state of emergency is strictly reserved to the democratically elected president of the Union of Myanmar. Their actions amount to a slap in the face to the millions of Myanmar citizens who put their lives at risk in order to vote in the middle of a pandemic, as well as a betrayal of all of the promises they’ve made both to our citizens and to the international community.

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New Year’s greetings from the President and General Secretary of APAY

Dear friends and colleagues,

We wish to bring you warm greetings of the New Year from APAY. We hope you have started 2021, with a fresh mind, healthy body and renewed spirit amid unabating pandemic in our region and beyond.

Though we continue to face multiple challenges – both personally and professionally, we will not lose hope that is promised by our God. We are called to stand firm on God’s promises and envision courageously “the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1) It is still uncertain what the ‘new normal’ would be ahead of us? Nevertheless, we are called to continue to read and reflect on the signs of our time and be awakened by the ‘wake-up call’ posed by the pandemic! In this regard, we would like to introduce you a Prayer in the form of a Poem written by a theologian titled: “At the edge of a New Normal”.

Our “normal ways” are reassuring to us:

It is our normal way to slot people for wealth and poverty;

It is our normal way to classify people as “us” and “other”;

It is our normal way to prefer males to the other gender;

It is our normal way to distinguish heteros and the “other.”

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A Year Through Zoom!

TICF looks back on a year with many challenges due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its related restrictions. However, like so many others, ICF took its activities online as much as possible in order to keep offering a space for young peace-builders of the region to learn, exchange and connect. The year 2020 was concluded with an online series of four workshops on the Intersection of Religion, Gender, and Human Rights.

The workshops took place every Thursday from November 19th to December 10th. The different sub-themes on each respective Thursday were:

o Religion, Femicide, and Various Forms of Sexual Abuse

o Religion and LGBT Communities: „Is God’s Love Exclusive for Straight People?“

o Health as Human Rights and Peace Issue

o Women’s Rights are Human Rights.

“Women who are the victims of violence and sexual abuse usually do not get justice for themselves. Though the result is not a hundred percent, people are now raising their voices for justice for the victims of violence and sexual abuses. People are breaking the silence against violence, and this is a good sign.“ – Psyche Mankin from Bangladesh in her reflection on the first session.

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YMCA Tozanso organized Retreat for Essential Workers amidst Covid-19 Pandemic

People working in medical and welfare settings are experiencing mental and physical stress.  They can hardly get a holiday, and their daily activities are limited to their home and work. The additional pressure of not to cause infection at their workplace might cause their mental illness.

“There was no time to take a break these days.  A deep breath in nature has made me feel much better.”  “During the bonfire session, I could get to know that everyone has similar trouble.  It relieved my burden.  These are quotes from the participants.

Dr. Nakatani says those people have a strong will to “work for people” and “be close to people in need”, and they sometimes failed to notice their own exhaustion.  She points out that those sense of mission can quickly bring them into “Burnout Syndrome”.  She also advised the participants to share their feelings among workers every day and not carry their mental stress to the next day.

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Albay YMCA helped communities recover from Typhoons

The rollout of donations to disaster-affected communities commenced on November 22, 2020, two weeks after damage assessment and needs analysis. It was found that nearly half of the communities visited have already received shelter kits from the government and that the underlying hurdle was food security. Thus, Albay YMCA concentrated on the provision of food packs. Further, priority communities were determined based on typhoons’ damages, rate of displacement and poverty incidence.

The association coordinated with local government units prior to activity to ensure that the assistance will be delivered to minimise the risk of Covid-19 for disaster-affected people. So far, six successful food packs distribution has been carried out wherein the majority of direct beneficiaries were mothers, children and farmers from far-flung villages that were severely lashed by the abovementioned typhoons.

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Together We Stand against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
The National Council of YMCAs of India organized a Week-long of Activism Against

Gender-Based Violence

In response to the call of the Asia & Pacific Alliance of YMCAs( APAY),   to observe the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), the NCY India organized a week long virtual program on December 4-10, 2020.  The global campaign began on November 25, 2020, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and concluded on 10th December 2020, the Human Rights Day.  The UN UNiTE campaign had set the theme for the year “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!" The APAY chose the theme “Together We Stand Against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence”, and invited men and women to actively participate in the 16 days of the campaign.

The NCY India actively participated in the global campaign. The week long  meaningful virtual program was a  collective effort of the National Women’s Forum, The Department of National Youth Work & Programmes of the National Council of YMCAs of India (NCYI) in association with different Projects & Region of the NCYI - The Southern India Region of YMCAs, Health & Healthy Living Project, Vellore, YMCA Youth Centre Project Bhimtal, YMCA Multi-Sports Complex project, Faridabad, YMCA Programme Centre, Kurnool and National Projects in South West India Region, Alwaye Campsite Project, hosted the week long program.

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The Green Dream

A Dream That Became a Reality!

With great pleasure we share the news with the YMCA family, that the YMCA of Moratuwa was a carbon-neutral YMCA during 2019. The feat was achieved, mainly through a 12kVA Solar PV system which was installed in July 2018. The total investment for the project was 11790 USD which was partly funded by the APAY.

Our Thanks

Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the APAY for providing the initial push by partly funding the project through the APAY Green Fund. We also thank all the member movements who have contributed to the APAY Green Fund.

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Vaccine for Peace

Equal Distribution of Vaccine is The Only Way!

Criticism is mounting that wealthy countries are "buying up" the Covid- 19 vaccines. WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said "The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure. And the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the World's poorest countries…, and ultimately this actions only prolong the pandemic."

At the end of December 2020, officials  including the president were vaccinated against COVID-19 with Russia's Sputnik V. Nearly a month later (January 23, 2021)  60 million people worldwide have been vaccinated. But Still,no single Western-approved vaccine has been administered in any African countries, with a 2.5% mortality rate. The polarization of the vaccination is going on in a cruel manner. For reference, the global   mortality rate is 2.14 percent.

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Committee on Youth Participation and Leadership Development Elected New Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson

APAY Congratulates Stephanie Cheung of YMCA of Hong Kong and Daniel Cheong of YMCA of Penang, Malaysia for being elected as Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, respectively, of the Committee on Youth Participation and Leadership Development during its election held on 10 December 2020.

 

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APAY e-News Jan 2021

 

1. New Year’s greetings from the President and General Secretary of APAY

2. A Year Through Zoom!

3. YMCA Tozanso organized Retreat for Essential Workers amidst Covid-19 Pandemic

4. Albay YMCA helped communities recover from Typhoons

5. Together We Stand against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

6. The Green Dream

7. Committee on Youth Participation and Leadership Development Elected New Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson

 

 




Dear friends and colleagues,

We wish to bring you warm greetings of the New Year from APAY. We hope you have started 2021, with a fresh mind, healthy body and renewed spirit amid unabating pandemic in our region and beyond.

Though we continue to face multiple challenges – both personally and professionally, we will not lose hope that is promised by our God. We are called to stand firm on God’s promises and envision courageously “the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1) It is still uncertain what the ‘new normal’ would be ahead of us? Nevertheless, we are called to continue to read and reflect on the signs of our time and be awakened by the ‘wake-up call’ posed by the pandemic! In this regard, we would like to introduce you a Prayer in the form of a Poem written by a theologian titled: “At the edge of a New Normal”.

Our “normal ways” are reassuring to us:

It is our normal way to slot people for wealth and poverty;

It is our normal way to classify people as “us” and “other”;

It is our normal way to prefer males to the other gender;

It is our normal way to distinguish heteros and the “other.”