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YWCA Hong Kong celebrates 90 years

YWCA Hong Kong celebrates 90 years

2010 marks the 90th anniversary of the YWCA of Hong Kong, and many activities were planned by the Association to celebrate this significant milestone. The most important however, was an international conference which took place from December 2- 3 under the theme “The Role of Woman, Family and Government in Building a Caring Culture.”

The conference, which brought together distinguished speakers and participants from all over the world, was also attended by many YWCAs in the region, including the YWCA of Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and Thailand. There was also a World YWCA team present, which included World YWCA President, Susan Brennan and Programme Director for Asia and Pacific, Juli Dugdale.

World YWCA General Secretary Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, who was the keynote speaker for the event was not able to be physically present due to inclement weather conditions in Geneva. However, she was able to deliver an address via video conferencing.

Ms. Gumbonzvanda’s message focused on the topic “Love, the Power to Change – A Cosmopolitan View on Women’s Power in Building a Better World.” She shared how, since its founding in 1855, the YWCA movement has placed relationships at the centre of its values. She drew attention to the movement’s motto “By Love, Serve One Another”, and stated “it is a simple and profound message, grounded on the Christian basis of the movement and affirming the core purpose of why we exist; to serve and to influence the practices, behaviours, norms and policies shaping our lives today.”

Further expanding on “Love, the Power to Change”, Ms. Gumbonzvanda said that we are called upon to lead not just today, but also tomorrow, with love, respect, foresight and determination. She also stated that the theme of the anniversary celebrations speaks directly to the joint effort of women to shape a better world, and that it echoed the grounding values of the YWCA movement.

The YWCA of Hong Kong was founded in 1920 to meet the social needs of people in the community. The Association began with 81 founding members and 12 founding board members, and its earliest projects included women’s leadership trainings in secondary schools, evening schools for working women and parenting skills trainings for new mothers. Over the years the YWCA has blossomed into a multi-service organisation, with 60 centres throughout the region providing services which target everyone from infants to senior citizens.

On behalf of the World movement, Ms. Gumbonzvanda congratulated the YWCA of Hong Kong for their achievement. She said “I pay tribute to the founding members of the YWCA of Hong Kong, who 90 years ago inspired by their love for humanity , recognising the power of women and girls to organise and build a better world, dared to form this YWCA.” She continued by saying that she celebrated all leaders, staff and volunteers, for together they bring the collective power of fellowship, knowledge, innovation and resilience to respond to the realities in their community.

Following the two-day conference and anniversary celebrations, the World YWCA hosted a regional meeting for Asia. The meeting featured addresses from the World President and the General Secretary, sharing and thoughts on issues facing Associations in the regions, as well as a planning session for World YWCA Council and International Women’s Summit, which will take place in July 2011, in Zurich, Switzerland.

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