Smiles in the torrent of tears
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
The Bombay YMCA since its inception in 1875 has always risen to the occasion whenever calamities have struck the city. Beginning with Relief operations during World War I & II, the Army barracks were maintained by the YMCA and the Army Officers used the YMCA at Colaba for its operations. Over the past 145 years our experience gained in the 3 R’s - Rescue, Relief and Rehabilitation has grown exponentially.
During the earthquake at the Latur and Osmanabad districts in 1993, Bombay YMCA led in the relief and later rehabilitation of two villages of over 200 families including the construction of the primary school and the community centre. We were recently recognized for our efforts by the then Chief Minister, Shri. Sharad Pawar. When the communal riots broke out in the early 90s the YMCA was called in as Peacemakers between the communities in Agripada and Mumbai Central. The Army used the premises of the Procter YMCA at Agripada as their base for their operation. In addition, Bombay YMCA constructed close to 50 tenements at Ramabai Nagar, Ghatkopar in collaboration with a major newspaper group. Each time the city was submerged due to the deluge and came to a standstill, the YMCA opened its centers/Branches providing shelter and food for the stranded. During the terrorist attack of 26/11, the YMCA was home to many Mumbaikars and
foreign nationals at various YMCA centers spread across the city.
Even during the unprecedented times The city unit of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) has offered its well-furnished International Guest House of 75 Rooms to house their Doctors, Health Care Professionals and Asymptomatic patients. In addition, we have provided masks, gloves and medical equipment to the Nair and Kasturba Hospitals’ for the medical professionals working on the front-lines. In the first phase of the relief operations, we have been able to cater to 20,000 persons (4000 packets) by providing them with dry rations and groceries. Cooked food to the slum dwellers, daily wage earners, migrant workers, street beggars, rag pickers and construction workers has crossed 1,00,000 (One Lakh) threshold.
A special mention here is of our volunteer team ably led by our regular ‘Dhobiwala’ (Laundry Man) who have earned the sobriquet, ‘Scooter Saviors’ has enabled us to reach the unreached pockets from CST to Colaba Market right up to the slums at Cuffe Parade.
The victims have now become saviors. Thanks to the ladies who are housed at YMCA Saran, a shelter for destitute women run with the help of BMC have reached out to the unreached in the slums at Sakinaka. Our counselors trained at the Counseling Institute at Navi Mumbai are available on call daily for those who are in distress, stress and undergoing anxiety symptoms during this lock-down period.
In addition to these services, we have been organizing seminars and workshops on virtual platforms for all. Webinars for Health, Fitness, Mental Health, Counselling, etc., have been beneficial to the participants not only in Mumbai but across the nation.
“We acknowledge the contributions of our partners who have joined us in this mission during this time of the ‘virus crisis’ - Muthoot Finance, ATE Chandra Foundation, Rotary Club of Bombay, Rotary Club of Mumbai Central, Rotary Club of Queen’s Necklace, Rotary Club of Versova and Rotary Club of Mumbai Elegant. A special thanks to the BMC, Mumbai Police and Navi Mumbai Police who helped us with the permissions and the necessary assistance. As we begin our next phase, we would like to enlist the support of Mumbaikars in this hour of need,”
The Bombay YMCA blessed with its vast infrastructure, network and committed team of staff and volunteers at strategic locations ranging from Colaba to Navi Mumbai was able to promptly and efficiently respond to the pandemic that gripped our city.