Wednesday, February 9, 2011

International Development Week

FEBRUARAY 6-12, 2011

International Development Week gives Canadians a chance to:
•Learn more about Canada's role in international development and the important contribution of many Canadians in developing countries
•Learn more about life in developing countries
•Find out how they can become active global citizens and get involved in international development

Please visit MCIC's website to learn how 8 Manitobans are making a difference in the world, and find out what YOU can do to contribute to making our planet more peaceful!

In the midst of one of the bloodiest times in Mexico, where the drug wars of Mexican Cartels have left hundreds dead and terrorized citizens in one of North America’s poorest country, YMCA CASA remains a safe place for youth.

Every year, thousands of youth try to enter the United States illegally by crossing the Mexico-US border. Once caught, they are brought back to the border and placed in a detention centre where they are interviewed and re-patriated. Without YMCA Homes like Casa, these youth would then be released onto the streets to fend for themselves. Without food or money, they are released into border towns such as Tijuana. With high violent crime, drug and prostitution rates, these youth were extremely vulnerable.

Since 1991 they have had a safe place to go. CASA is recognized as a lead provider of services to migrant youth, offering “basic food and shelter, psychosocial counselling, medical and social referral services and family reunification’. (YMCA HOMES FOR MIGRANT YOUTH, 2008).

Each home is managed by a resident host-family, attending to the migrant youths’ basic needs. Once they are settled in the Home, YMCA social workers begin a dialogue that will hopefully lead to reunifying the youths with their families, helping them to pursue healthier and safer life choices.

To date, over 50,000 young people have been helped by the CASA program.

For over 10 years the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg has been a partner in support of the CASA program.

Individuals can donate to the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg’s Strong Kids Campaign and designate their donation to the International Fund.

100% of donations received are used to support YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg’s International Partnerships.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


The Peace Medal is a reminder that it is possible to build a more peaceful world, one step at a time, and that everyone can be engaged in these efforts.

Each year the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg’s International Working Group, along with YMCA’s across Canada, sends out a call for nominations for this prestigious award. Every year the nominees continue to impress, and it is never an easy decision for those who select the recipients. 2010 again proved to be a year of tough deliberations.

The groups below stood out for their efforts, both at home and abroad, and we are pleased to recognize their efforts and award them the 2010 Youth Peace Medal.


The students of Kildonan-East Collegiate’s Tanzania 2010 project were recognized d
ue to their “dedication to the construction of water holding tanks, drinking and hand washing stations, private pit latrines for girls, and a hygiene and water management education program.” The group has been together for four years to fundraise for the project in East Africa, working within the broader framework of the NGO Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief. Aside from fundraising they have learned about global issues such as food security, gender equality, and basic human rights and they have shared this knowledge with their community. As a direct result of their activities, children at Qaru Lambo and Gilala schools in Tanzania, whose students previously drank from sloughs and missed a lot of school as a result of sickness, now have year round access to fresh drinking water for the next thirty years.

The Gay Straight Alliance of Westwood Collegiate was chosen for “their dedication to creating a welcoming, safe and respectful school as ambassadors of acceptance for others.” Functioning for two years in Westwood Collegiate the GSA has proved popular amongst students due to its strong message of acceptance, human rights, safety, peace and harmony. They work tirelessly to fulfill their vision of “A school where everyone is welcome, safe and respected.” They hosted several events including a rainbow sticker drive for Gay Pride week, creating information pamphlets advocating for gay rights, created a teacher education package for “How to Teach Acceptance”, and they inspired 90% of the student body to wear purple on October 20, 2010 to send the message to bring an end to homophobic physical and emotional abuse, amongst many additional accomplishments. They have also helped other GSA groups form throughout the division and city. Their nominator stated that she has seen a change in the school since the group was formed – the atmosphere at the school is happier and more accepting and tolerant. In particular, the peace medal review committee appreciated the positive, inclusive approach taken by the group to build understanding and commitment among students and teachers.