The Young Men’s Christian Association was started in 1844 for better development of the youth and uncared children. At present YMCA is spread around the world and has branches in 127 countries. This has made it the largest youth organisation in the world. The Industrial Revolution had drawn thousands of young men to the new manufacturing centres in England. The squalid and unsafe living conditions both in the workplace and at home made their life miserable. George Williams, a 23 year old draper who was typical of these young men founded the first YMCA in London on 6 June 1844 with the purpose of "the improving of the spiritual conditions of young men engaged in the drapery, embroidery and other trades". The new organization was dedicated to putting into practice Christian principles by developing a healthy spirit, mind and body. YMCA instilled a sense of direction and hope in the minds of the industrial workers through prayer and Bible study. The YMCA idea, although began among evangelicals, soon crossed the rigid religious and social barriers that existed in England in those days. This trait of openness attracted all men, women and children irrespective of race, religion and nationality to the new movement. YMCA now adopts a holistic approach to individual and social development encompassing spiritual, intellectual and physical methods.
The Ernakulam YMCA was started in 1939 when the erstwhile state of Cochin with a flourishing port and commercial centre was in developing stages. In those days Cochin was the only city in the state with sea, rail and road connections with other parts of the India. Hundreds of people were employed in the industrial units around Ernakulam town in the houses in British Cochin and in the Central Govt. Offices at Fort Cochin and Ernakulam.
A large number of students migrated to Ernakulam from other parts of the state to enlist themselves in the prestigious colleges of Ernakulam.The need to set up a YMCA at Cochin did rise up then due to the shortage of accomodation. Mr. K.K.Alexander, Mr. George Kurian and others took the initiative to start the YMCA with hostel facilites.It was meant not only as a “Home away from home”, but also an institution that will promote spiritual, mental and physical development of the young minds.The YMCA got going on 1st April, 1939,in a small building on Cannonshed road, on a monthly rental of Rs. 25/- and it could accommodate hardly half a dozen people. The next year the YMCA was shifted to a larger building on T.D. Road. Dr.T.Varghese was the founder President of Ernakulam YMCA (Chief Medical Officer of Cochin State) and Mr.Joseph A. Philip was the first secretary.
Today YMCA has grown to be a big help to the needy and helpless. YMCA is involved in major social activities and development of these class of people. YMCA has built Boys Home to serve the uncared street boys and it has built a nursing home for mentally retarded children.
To make it stand on its feet financially YMCA has been offering lodging facilities for the public at its International House at reasonable rates.YMCA is also having a restaurant in the heart of the city which offers Kerala and Continental dishes.
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