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History of World YMCA/YWCA

The Young Men’s Christian Association is an international organization dedicated to youth activities and community service.

       Motto: Not to be served, but to serve

The world's first Young Men's Christian Association, (Y.M.C.A.) was established in London in 1844 by the Englishman George Williams. Initially, there were only 12 young clerks who joined the YMCA, with their main activities being praying and Bible study. Gradually they attracted more youth and soon YMCA spread throughout the UK and Europe. By 1851, the YMCA had spread to the United States. Because the YMCA received support from the American Christian and youth organizations, it has grown to become an international organization dedicated to community service and developing amateur culture, education, sports and arts. The national organizations in turn are part of both an Area Alliance and the World Alliance of YMCAs with its headquarters located in Geneva Switzerland.

Above: George Williams

The Young Women’s Christian Association is an international women’s organization dedicated to women’s activities and community service.

    Motto: And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free

The world's first Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) was founded in London in 1855 by Lady Mary Jane Kinnaird. She established the YWCA to be a social and spiritual support system for young English women. Later, the YWCA developed into a mass women’s organization sponsored by the Women’s Christian community. Because the YWCA’s main concern is for the rights of women and children, it has gained the support and sympathy of communities around the world and has drawn in worldwide attention. More than 100 countries in the world have set up YWCA organizations, with the earliest being set up in England, America, Norway and Sweden. The national organizations in turn are part of both the World YWCA with its headquarters located in Geneva, Switzerland.


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