The first Young People for Development (YPD) Exchange and Training Program took place in Thailand from 7 – 25 August 2003.

It began with a request in mid-2002 from the MRJC (Catholic Rural Youth Movement) in the Pas de Calais in northern France, a member movement of CCFD France, to hold an exchange program in South East Asia.

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace Thailand and the Karen Youth Leadership and Management Training Program (KYLMTP) agreed to host this exchange in Thailand.

On learning of this initiative, the Beifang Jinde Catholic Social Centre in China and the Solidarity and Development Group, Vietnam became interested in joining this program. Other groups and organisations in Shenyang, China, Hanoi, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia also heard about this initiative and requested to join the program.

Eventually, 55 young people from Vietnam, China, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Cambodia and France joined the highly successful program.


The first YPD program had three aims:

  1. To form a core group of young agents of transformation and development for each of the participating groups/movements;
  2. To build a network of young agents of transformation and development among the participating countries focusing particularly on South East Asia (China, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, Philippines);
  3. To develop an ongoing plan of action and training for the members of the emerging network.


The formation or training method we chose was the see-judge-act pioneered by the Young Christian Workers (YCW) movement, founded by Joseph Cardijn, a Belgian Catholic priest, who devoted his life to young workers and the working class.

The YPD Network

Following the first YPD program, participants returned home, full of enthusiasm to start local teams with their friends and colleagues.

Soon, we had YPD teams in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, among the Karen community in both Thailand and Myanmar, in the Chiang Mai region of northern Thailand, in Cambodia, Malaysia, and France.

Later, we also developed YPD teams in Sumatra, Indonesia, and Melbourne, Australia.

Annual training programs

To develop the YPD network and its activities and actions, we continued to organise annual international exchange and training programs, which continued nearly every year until the Covid close down in many countries prevented us from continuing.

We hope in future to recommence these programs and develop new generations of YPD community leaders.