A Light in the Darkness: our co-founder’s story

Y Care Blog Header with Terry Waite sitting alongside the article heading: 'Light in the darkness: our founder's story'


Every young person’s potential fulfilled

At Y Care International, we are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged young people in some of the world’s most marginalized communities. Our partnership-based model means we work closely with local youth-focused organizations to create opportunities and equip individuals to overcome the challenges they face. We firmly believe that by collaborating with these organizations, we can better understand their communities and, with their guidance, provide the necessary support for them to fulfil their potential.

We spoke to Terry Waite at his home in Bury St Edmunds UK © 2021 Tom Price

Founded by Terry Waite CBE, along with John Naylor and David Bedford from the National Council of England, Y Care International remains deeply rooted in the global YMCA movement.

Terry Waite is our passionate advocate, and has a remarkable background that has shaped our organization’s values and mission.

Meet our co-founder, Terry Waite

Terry’s journey began when he was recruited by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1980 and joined the Archbishop’s Private Staff at Lambeth Palace in London. As an Advisor to the Archbishop, he embarked on extensive travels worldwide, handling diplomatic and ecclesiastical exchanges on behalf of the Archbishop. Notably, Terry arranged and accompanied the Archbishop on the first-ever visit of an Archbishop of Canterbury to China, and he ventured to numerous countries such as Australia, New Zealand, The USA, Canada, and nations in The Caribbean, South East Asia, South Africa, and East and West Africa.

His exceptional negotiation skills came to the forefront in the early 1980s when Terry successfully secured the release of several hostages from Iran, bringing him into the public eye. In 1983, he once again demonstrated his diplomatic prowess by negotiating with Colonel Gaddafi for the release of British hostages held in Libya. However, Terry’s unwavering dedication to helping others took an unimaginable turn when, in January 1987, he himself was taken captive while negotiating for the release of Western hostages in Lebanon. He endured a captivity lasting 1,763 days, with the first four years spent in total solitary confinement.

Today, Terry Waite resides in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, where he continues to inspire others with his story of resilience and hope. Reflecting on his confinement in an interview with the BBC, Terry described the austere conditions he faced—chained to the wall for nearly 24 hours a day, sleeping on the floor, devoid of books or papers, and deprived of natural light due to shuttered windows. Despite these extreme hardships, he recognized the value of life and strived to live as fully as possible, embracing each day one step at a time.

It is Terry’s extraordinary journey that led him to found Y Care International—a testament to his unwavering commitment to improving the lives of young people in marginalized communities. But we cannot achieve this alone. We need your support to bring transformative change to those who need it the most.

Terry Waite sits in his study © 2021 Tom Price

Continuing a legacy

By becoming a supporter of Y Care International, you join us in building strong and sustainable partnerships that address youth unemployment, build opportunity, and fulfil potential.

Your contribution will enable us to accompany local organizations, providing crucial support in the form of technical assistance, learning opportunities, financial aid, and networking. Together, we can increase the impact and scale of their work, offering disadvantaged young people the opportunities they deserve.

Join us today and be a part of our mission to create a better future for marginalized communities worldwide. Together, we can transform lives and empower young people to thrive. Visit the ‘Our Work‘  to find out how you can make a difference through your support.

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