THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Thiruvananthapuram chapter of Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) is completing 104 years of service. And every time the members elect new office bearers, they celebrate it with a unique candle-lighting ceremony. At the ceremony, all members arrive in white dresses. The outgoing president hands over a lighted candle to the new president to remember the past leaders. The new president accepts the lit candle and prays for god’s blessing to walk in the light of truth.
On Tuesday, the members selected their new office bearers — Mariam Gibu Abraham as president, Jaikumari Rajenesh and Jolly Job as vice presidents, Sheeba Varghese as treasurer and Sajini Varghese Oommen as recording secretary. The women for women society has been responsible for carrying out projects of social, economic and cultural changes and upholding the motto “by love serve one another”. The association now has a total of 350 members under four zones — Vazhuthacaud, Palayam, Pattom and Kowdiar.
“We now have members from every religion. The association coordinates health and hygiene work, self-employment works for financially poor women in city outskirts, welfare programmes, cultural activities, social activities and many more,” says Mariam Gibu Abraham, the new president.
“Compared to north India, youngsters are less active in voluntary initiatives in Kerala. It is for the first time that a woman in her 40s is elected as president of YWCA in our state. My aim will be to motivate more youth to join YWCA and serve our society,” she adds.
The YWCA Thiruvananthapuram chapter began its operations on August 16, 1917. The meeting by British-native Victoria Mathew at the Victoria Jubilee Town Hall in Palayam decided to set up YWCA in the capital. Letty Mathew John, general secretary of the chapter said the first president of the YWCA in the city was the wife of missionary Rev Arthur Parker. In 1918, Dr Mary Poonen Lukose took over and strengthened the organisation in her presidency of over 57 years.