Lantonirina Rakotomalala

I am in charge of a Christian organization called YMCA Madagascar (Young Men’s Christian Association of Madagascar), and I work in the field of social development, particularly in mission with young people. This association aims to be Christian and ecumenical and is present in more than a hundred countries around the world. We have a universal principle that says YMCA is the association of young people who - accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior - want to testify and share their love among other young people and all communities. It has now been fourteen years since I have carried with me the vision of establishing - with a young generation - a society where the Christian ideal of a healthy, balanced, just and abundant life can be a reality. It was a resolution that we adopted in Geneva in 1998, with the enthusiasm and determination of young people who believe that they can - by themselves - change the whole world. This is also the main reason why I enrolled in the theological faculty and why I left my job and the city where I spent the most beautiful period of my youth to do theology, because i was certain that the Lord had his plan to restore and rebuild this world rotten by poverty and wickedness.

Time flies very quickly and here I am now at the head of an organization where my job is to ensure that concrete activities are carried out with young people in order to respond to the difficulties they face daily, and especially so that they can - they too - develop a vision for a better life. However, the frantic pace required by the implementation of several social projects and the race for funding often trap the theological reflection with which I have always wanted the actions of YMCA to be framed. Although I still believe as firmly as God has answers to the difficult realities experienced by young people, I feel limited in my reflections.

So when I learned about the existence of the Tsena Malalaka, I rejoiced in the hope of being able to exchange with other theologians of several themes which swarm in my head, going from the African theology of emancipation, to economic justice through gender issues, global citizenship and biblical and theological responses to crisis situations across Africa today and especially issues that affect young people. I am particularly touched by the fact that Tsena Malalaka is a space where women theologians can relax and express themselves freely, since there are very few networks that give them so many opportunities. I think that it is also a springboard for young theologians to develop with other more experienced colleagues opportunities for sharing and learning in order to refine their qualities as theologians as well as to assert themselves as such.