Y Care International is at its core a partnership-based organisation, working hand in hand with local youth-focused organisations in some of the worlds poorest countries to create opportunities for disadvantaged young women and men.
We firmly believe that local organisations are best placed to understand their communities and their needs. Our role is to accompany them and offer support, technical, learning, financial, networking – to increase the impact and scale of their work. Today, we are focused on building strong, sustainable partnerships to tackle the growing crisis of youth unemployment.
We grew out of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) movement.
Founded in 1844 in London, the YMCA is the oldest and largest youth organisation in the world, reaching 58 million young people.
With its unparalleled reach and capacity to mobilise young people across 120 countries, the YMCA is well-placed to create significant impact at scale with and for young people.
The YMCA works to bring social justice and peace to young people and their communities, regardless of religion, race, gender or culture.
Y Care International, was founded by Terry Waite CBE – who remains our President and passionate advocate – and National Council of England members John Naylor and David Bedford. Y Care International continued to be a subsidiary charity of YMCA England & Wales before becoming a fully independent in 2005.
David Bedford, the Co-founder-Director of Y Care International, invited Terry Waite to become its first Chairman, and steered its vision and growth for the first eight years.
While Terry was in captivity, David worked closely with Acting Chairman, Archbishop Runcie, before succeeding Terry as Chairman, serving for ten years. By the time David stepped down, his vision of an agency supporting young people's development projects through YMCAs all over the world had been achieved. In addition, under his leadership Y Care International began to respond to humanitarian emergencies across the world. David is a Methodist local preacher.
Terry Waite has a long and distinguished record as a former hostage negotiator (having been a hostage); humanitarian and author.
Terry comes from Cheshire, where he was born in 1939, and on was first appointed as Education Advisor to the Anglican Bishop of Bristol. He and his family moved to Uganda in 1969 where he worked for the first African Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Around this time he founded the Southern Sudan Project, setting up aid and development programmes in the region.
In 1980 Terry joined the Private Staff of the Archbishop of Canterbury, successfully negotiating the release of several hostages from Iran and Libya and gained public attention. In January 1987, while negotiating for the release of Western hostages in Lebanon, he himself was taken captive and remained in captivity for 1,763 days, the first four years of which he spent in solitary confinement. Terry was released in November 1991.
Terry co-founded Y Care International in 1984, serving first as Chair, and then as President. He stepped down as President in 2022. He was awarded the MBE in 1983 and the CBE in 1992 and has received many awards including honorary doctorates from British and foreign universities.
Photo credits: Tom Price / Y Care International