ETUSIVU ANSIOLUETTELO TUTKIMUKSET SAARNAT OPETUS LINKIT ENGLISH PAGES
This presentation gives a glimpse on how the work with victims of war begun in one social movement, namely Young Mens Christian Association, how it evolved, transformed, diffused, and was institutionalised.
The work with victims of war has two roots. The American YMCA was the first organisation which put mobile service units to serve armed men during the American Civil War. The other root is in the fields of the Battle of Solferino. After the battle Henri Dunant proposed to his Geneva YMCA to start the work among wounded soldiers.
In the First World War YMCA canteens served armed men on both sides of the front. When some of these men became prisoners of war (POWs) the YMCA served them as well in co-operation with Red Cross. After the war the YMCA experience was used for the service of American immigrants.
During the Second World War the World Alliance of YMCAs concentrated on POWs and left the other military work to national movements. While the Red Cross focused on camp inspections and material help, the YMCA concentrated on mental and spiritual helping of the POWs.
After the war ended, many of the POWs became displaced persons and refugees. The YMCA organisation was again transformed to serve these new victims of war. From the YMCA the model for the refugee aid diffused to the churches and to the UNHCR.