Monday, October 5, 2009

YMCA Vitebsk can make people happy!

It’s difficult to imagine that in a modern city with its busy life full of rush, impersonality and indifference, there lives a group of people, who were united by an inner need to make this world a little bit better. Everyone began with himself, then started searching for like-minded people and luckily found. That was the birth of the movement which orientates to the souls of others, to their hearts, their creativity and mutual support. Now we are proud to say that this is all about YMCA Vitebsk – a non-governmental organization in the North of Belarus. The world is huge; not many people on the Earth knows where Belarus is; so few heard about Vitebsk – perhaps only those, who appreciates the art of Marc Chagall; even in Vitebsk not many people are acquainted with us. But this group of people exists, creates, loves, enjoys, supports and always invites. These people live absolutely unique life, and it is worth telling their stories – strange, crazy, sometimes usual, sometimes fantastic, but always happy. So, we welcome you to visit a happy world of YMCA Vitebsk – the place which makes people happy!

“I’ve got three daughters. (Now they are all involved in YMCA). They were growing, went to school. I tried to develop them in different ways. They attended different extra-curriculum classes, danced, sang and so on. But they were bored there. Yes, they learned handcrafts, they mastered their talents. And that’s all. I felt that they lose something important. They lacked soul growth! I thought about Church, but I was brought up in the communistic family and couldn’t transfer traditions which I don’t belong to. I was thinking of creation of some club where my girls can enjoy life, can develop their skills and souls. I didn’t know the way out, but I felt that had to do something to make my children happy. Then I heard about YMCA! I couldn’t believe that there already exists an organization I dreamt about! That was that club I thought to create! And I caught this idea! And in 1998 we began YMCA Vitebsk...”
These are the words of a chairperson of YMCA Vitebsk Tatiana Mirsalimova. Now her daughters are adults. The youngest Kristina is finishing the University and develops the social work and scouting. The middle one Elvira is developing our site. The elder Nina is a scout for the rest of her life. Tatiana has 3 grandchildren already. And she knows for sure that they won’t be bored in this world.

“For me YMCA is much. Perhaps, even too much. This is something I will be never able to leave. YMCA is my friends, belief in people, it’s my hope, it’s unlimited optimism. These are people looking in the same direction. These are hearts beating in one rhythm. Due to YMCA my inner feelings have changed, my attitude to people, to life, to myself. So many stories fly in front of my yes when I close them: when I believed in God thanks to YMCA, or when I found my real friend or stories about love...Love to people, to a person, to Personality...”
Kristina Mirsalimova is a talented leader who moves the organization forward because she loves it! Loves to tears in her eyes. Kristina became a theologist because YMCA presented her God; she got the education of the psychologist, because YMCA presented her social work. She enjoys the work of a trainer because YMCA presented her the opportunity to go through TtT (traning to trainers). She loves to be a volunteer because it makes her feel free and happy.

“I remember myself a child when I heard about YMCA for the first time. Tensing was running their rehearsals in our school. And once I got some courage and went there. It was moving and moving further, we were growing. People from other schools started to come to our group. And once there was a school theater contest. Of course, all people in our group had to be involved in their schools as they had great experience in performing on stage. I understood that we will be alone; just 3-5 people were from our school in our group. But they came. Everyone came. And we performed. And we took the first prize. They all had then problems in their schools. But in that moment I felt what it means to be a Team...”
Viktoria Surkova is our Tensing leader. She took this responsibility after Nadezhda Lukashenko. Nadezhda finished the University and had to leave to another town for work. Viktoria was just a member of Tensing. But we believed in her. And we gave her leadership. Viktoria doesn’t know, but in that school where she studied the teachers never wanted to give her any roles. They explained that her voice is not appropriate for stage. But we believed in her and gave her once the main part. She was brilliant! Now Viktoria is a student of Minsk Academy of Art, she will be a theater director. Who could imagine this?

These are only stories of 3 persons. There are much more stories, which I will tell later. I know these people and I know these feelings. I can imagine these moments. I know these moments. I came through them. YMCA is creating these moments. Sometimes we are working for years to do that. But when it happens, the world turns for someone. Let’s turn it TOGETHER!

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