Founded in 1873 YMCA Trivandrum is a constituent of the Worldwide YMCA Movement. The young Men’s Christian Association had its origin in England in 1844. Within three decades of its formation YMCA came into being in Trivandrum with a predominantly Indian membership. Like the first YMCA in London it was born out of a prayer group which used to meet under the leadership of Miss Mary Bourne, a British national. The statement of purpose of the Association was the same as that of the London YMCA – the spiritual and mental improvement of its members. Its meetings were then held in the chapel of the London Missionary Society at Trivandrum. YMCA Trivandrum has the distinction of being the second YMCA founded in India after the Calcutta YMCA. In 1894 the Association was affiliated to the National Council of YMCAs in India. The YMCA movement has more than 12,000 local units with a membership of nearly 30 million spread over 130 countries under the umbrella of the World Alliance of YMCAs.
The Trivandrum YMCA now functions from a plot of land granted on lease by the Maharaja of Travancore in 1917. In the pre-independent days the YMCA premises were regularly used by the leaders of the State Congress for discussions and deliberations on the freedom struggle. It is a matter of pride that the National Flag was first hoisted in the YMCA by the National leaders on 15 August 1947 when India became a free Nation.
With an unbroken continuity spanning over a century the Trivandrum YMCA has been rendering yeomen services to the general public in the capital of Kerala. The main focus of its activities has been the youth of the State irrespective of caste, creed, religion or gender. One of the earliest departments that started functioning was the Boys’ Division. The Student Department which caters to the University students was added later. The Trivandrum YMCA has the unique distinction of having organized a Student parliament in 1933. Over the years its area of activity has been widened to include community development as one of its major objectives. Consequently two Rural Development Centres were started in 1976 and 1986 in the suburban villages of Aruvikkara and Vettinad respectively. In 2009 a Library and e-Learning Centre was started in the building where the British Library functioned earlier.
The relentless efforts of the Trivandrum YMCA to mould the Youth and to empower the women and the under privileged by its multi dimensional progranmmes have earned a pride of place for the movement in the public life of the City over the years.
The YMCA also has two branches – The Tirumala branch started in the eastern part of the City in 1966 and the Trvandrum North Branch started in 2007 in the northern part.