Tuesday, June 13, 2017



Sierra Leone YMCA Partnership develops clean waterproject and proposes a cause-driven, business leadership development model

As we jump into summer and get ready for fall, we are excited about the progress we’ve made on our partnership with the Sierra Leone YMCA in the past year. The University YMCA delegation of student and Y alumni leaders recently traveled to Kemena, Sierra Leone for a partnership "working session" on The Furniture Project and to dig a well for clean water with the Sierra Leone YMCA.

Employment & Entrepreneurship
The Furniture Project will work with instructors and participants in the established Sierra Leone YMCA job training program to create employment opportunities through the creation of a YMCA-operated furniture business. The plan calls for a job training program that will make basic, rugged tables, chairs, desks, benches, and shelves to sell to local schools, churches and other non-profits. Local African wood and imported new and used hand tools will be used to build this furniture.

Clean Water: Kenema Well Project
One of the most pressing needs in Sierra Leone is access to clean drinking water. On their visit to Sierra Leone in May, our delegation visited a YMCA-operated school in Kenema, the country’s 3rd largest city. The Sierra Leone YMCA has achieved a critical goal for the Sierra Leone YMCA is to dig a well in close proximity to provide clean water for students and staff. 

Although the Sierra Leone YMCA has done preliminary work, a major hurdle was the need to raise $7,000 for the project. When Christian Kamara, CEO of the Sierra Leone YMCA, visited campus last summer, University Y Board member Sam Smith helped set up a meeting with the Urbana Rotary to discuss providing a large portion of the funding needed for the project. After reviewing the proposal, the Urbana Rotary’s International Committee voted to support the project; we are happy to report that the well has been dug thanks to that support. 

For more information about the Sierra Leone YMCA partnership, visit: universityymca.org/global/slymca

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