RAP - 242 - Young Christian Workers shapes leaders of the future
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Young Christian Workers shapes leaders of the future

The Young Christian Workers (YCW) is a movement of young people with a mission to evangelize and educate the young people in the world of work. With national offices all around the world, the faith-based YCW helps thousands of young members to have a better future. Raptim spoke with Monicah Wanjiru, the Programs Development Assistant Director for YCW in Nairobi, Kenya.

Young Christian Workers helps young people step by step
The Young Christian Workers (YCW) was founded in 1925 by Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, a young Belgian priest then. The movement, also known as Jocism, started as a way of bringing vulnerable young people into groups. There they can discuss their working and living conditions, family situations, relationships, faith and their hopes and dreams.

Since 1925, YCW has expanded to 61 countries and has more than 200,000 members, but the mission remains the same. It is still a Catholic movement of education through experiences of young workers between the age of 18 and 35. One of the offices is in Nairobi, home of Monicah Wanjiru. The main principle of the YCW is to bring Christianity to young people in the world. “This is what guides our work and actions. We help our members by serving, representing and educating them to make reflections and take action in order to live with dignity and be witnesses to God’s presence and plan for the working youth.”

Through a step by step formation process, young people practice the ways of Young Christian Workers. The movement educates and motivates them to take action for better working and living conditions. The workers are trained to assume responsibilities and find solutions to their problems. That’s how the leaders of the future are nurtured.

“With our formation process we help young people to be more aware of what is around them”, says Monicah. “And most importantly we teach them how to be action-oriented.” The action-oriented principle is one of the key methods. “At the end of everything we do, we need to take some kind of action to improve the situation or to change something that is not working. We cannot discuss something and then sit down.”

Mercy and Monicah (right) at the annual charity activity of Young Christian Workers

As a representative of YCW, Monicah worked in Rome for four years. In her role as general-secretary for her organization’s International Secretariat, she first encountered Raptim in 2008 and then again in 2012. Monicah had some great experiences with Raptim until 2016, but parted ways when she moved back to Kenya. Until one day in April 2017, when she was riding in a matatu (Swahili name for bus). "One day I was traveling to Kikuyu town, I looked out the window on my left side. I thought I was dreaming because I saw a sign with Raptim. I never knew there were other Raptim offices outside Italy. It was something I never expected!”

After checking twice to make sure she actually saw what she thought, Monicah got so excited that she screamed ‘RAPTIM!'. “Everybody was looking at me, thinking what is wrong with her.” So, she immediately went on the internet. “From reading the profile, I thought it was the same Raptim as in Italy, but I was not really convinced. So, I called the number to find out for sure.” And it was true! Monicah found our office in Westlands, Nairobi, and a great relationship was restarted.

YCW holds formation and training programs on youth leadership development and on topical issues.

We are privileged to work with the Young Christian Workers and help them in their mission. It is all about compassionate people doing invaluable work in the most vulnerable of locations with an aim to better living conditions for all individuals in need. What does compassion mean to Monicah? “Compassion means reaching out with a big heart to people in need. To show them they are loved and valued, and they have worth and dignity. And that is what we do at YCW.”

We regularly arrange travel for compassionate, faith-based humanitarian organizations who are dedicated to helping those in need of aid. Never hesitate to contact us through our quick address locator should you have any questions. We’re proud to serve any faith-based organization which is willing to help young people in Kenya or anywhere else in the world to live a life with direction and with prospects for the future of this planet as a whole.