About YWCA

The Belize YWCA was founded in 1956. Its members are committed, by faith, to provide pportunities for the mental, physical, social and spiritual development of all, with a special emphasis on the empowerment of women and youth.The Purposeof YWCA Belize is to build a fellowship of women and girls devoted to the task of realizing in our common lives these ideals of personal and social living to which we are committed by our faith as Christians.

The Belize YWCA delivers programmes designed in response to the needs identified by the community, such as: literacy, education, sports, HIV/AIDS prevention, and skills training for employment or self-employment. These programmes focus on the following major goals:

  • Education, to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve social and economic stability and development for women and girls;
  • Health, to promote wellness among women and girls psychologically, physically, and spiritually;
  • Institution/Organization: to build the capacity of the institution to provide quality service; and
  • Justice: to promote human rights (equality) for women and girls.

Currently the Belize YWCA has programs that serve 2000 people directly – from infants to seniors. Some of these programmes are: Child Development, Community Development, Sustainable Skills Training, and Educational Classes. The Belize YWCA organization is committed to being a significant contributor to addressing the needs of Belizeans.

History

In 1956 the YWCA idea was born under the leadership of Mrs. Winnie Ward, wife of then Chief Justice and former member of the YWCA Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad. She saw the need for a YWCA in Belize so that skills and leadership could be developed among the young women of the country. She called a meeting with representatives from all religious denominations, explaining the purpose of the YWCA and describing what it could do for the country.

With overwhelming support, the YWCA was born, with initial meetings being held in the lower flat of the Chief Justice’s quarters. After Lady Ward’s departure from Belize, Lady Thornley, wife of the Governor took over as President. Meetings were held in the lower flat of the Fuller’s residence on North Park Street. The need for a special building for the work of the Y was discussed. Lady Thornley spearheaded all fundraising efforts towards acquiring a building of our own. She was instrumental in acquiring the land on which our headquarters now stands.

The members, all ladies were actively involved in making the bricks for the building under the supervision of the Late Mr. Wilhem Arnold and can be proud of the fact that they helped build the YWCA which is being fully utilized today. The building at the corner of St. Thomas Street and Freetown Road was opened 1960.

Function

The function of the association shall be to act in cooperation with local voluntary movements and with intergovernmental organizations for improved social and economic conditions an for basis human rights for all people. In time of emergency, to undertake and sponsor humanitarian welfare and relief work in accordance with Christian principles, irrespective of religious, social, political, cultural or racial differences.

Empowering Women

The Belize YWCA is mandated to empower women and youth to lead change and has assumed that responsibility of reaching far and near to empower all in order to promote change. It has been an instrument of change; this change has gradually and directly impacted the nation over the years.

Innovative and developmentally sound strategies are continually conceived by the Board of Directors, staff and members of the organization to target the needs of young girls and women who would not otherwise have legitimate opportunities to access traditional education and training for jobs to sustain themselves and their families. In effect, we are challenged to explore the potential of women and youth and empower them so that they can work to bring about social change.

In 2008 the YWCA, with funding from the European Union, embarked on a Gender-Based Rural Sustainable Livelihoods Project. Through this project, 200 women of various ages from rural communities countrywide were provided with entrepreneurial skills training.

Today, the YWCA continues to provide services for women and youth in order to create economic opportunities for them to become productive, and be able to generate income and gainful employment, which will impact themselves and their families.

Structure

The Administration of this Association shall be entrusted to a Board of Directors not less than fifteen nor more than twenty five, all of who shall be full members of the Association and as widely representative of the community as possible. Officers shall be elected by the members at the Annual Meeting and shall unclude a President, a 1st Vice-President, 2nd Vice President, a Recording Secretary and an Honorary Treasurer. The President shall be elected for a three (3) year term, but other officers for a term of one year only. The Board shall appoint a General Secretary.

Headquarters

Corner St. Thomas Street & Freetown Road
P.O BOX 158 Belize City, Belize C.A
Tel: 501-203-4971
Fax: 501-203-5686
email: bzeywca@gmail.com