Interview by Rachael Adu
Since its launching in March 2010 featured in Cho-Sun Ilbo, one of the most famous Korean Newspapers. In this interview, Amber SungWon Min (President) and Ah-Hyung Cho (Vice President) of Givology Korea take some time to speak with us about their Givology experiences.
Givology Korea members participate in the CSIA Festival Donation Campaign
What inspired you to start the Givology Korea Regional Chapter?
AM: In 2006, I went to Cambodia for habitat volunteering works. Because I was only 13 and the youngest member of the group, all I could do was to hang out with village kids. There I met a girl, Woong-TI, who was also 13 years old, and even though she couldn’t speak Korean or English, and neither could I speak Cambodian, we got along really well using body language. For ten days, I taught her some mathematical rules as well as English words such as “great” and “fantastic” while she taught me Cambodian words and culture. At first, I was surprised at the lack of opportunities available to her to get educated, and then I was even more surprised to see her sparkling eyes when I taught her English or math. Until now, I can never forget the sparkle in her eyes.
For a while after returning from Cambodia, I searched for opportunities to participate in promoting education in developing countries. Eventually, in 2009, I came across the Givology website. I gathered some friends who were also interested in child education, and we researched the Givology website for days! After deciding we wanted to be a part of this organization, we requested to start a regional Givology chapter, got approved, and we started on our first mission: the bake sale.
What are the goals Givology South Korea seeks to accomplish? What approach will you take to accomplish these goals?
AM: Our core goal in Givology Korea is to inform the public and raise awareness of the lacking educational opportunities in developing countries with the idea of ‘Give to Learn, Learn to Give.’ At first, we thought that getting a lot of donation would be the best accomplishment for Givology, so we started our donation campaigns with a bake sale and stationary sale, but soon realized that we were neglecting one of the most important missions of Givology – to inform people about need for child education in developing countries. We realized that even though raising funds is a practical way to help fund education and is one of the important tasks that Givology chapters should perform, raising awareness about child education is also very important. Hence, we held several campaigns, and most importantly, we hosted the Givology Youth Assembly, a two-day camp for 120 elementary students with the goal of raising awareness about global primary education. During this event, students had an opportunity to debate and discuss the current status and solutions to problems surrounding global primary education. With all our efforts, we were able to inform many students and people about child education and spread Givology spirit.
Amber addresses students at the Givology Youth Assembly
What challenges have you faced since starting this chapter of Givology? How have you/are you working through these challenges?
AM: I assume that it would be the same in other countries, but in Korea, people are hesitant to donate their money to organizations they are not too familiar with. Since not many people knew about Givology, it was really hard to get donations when we first started this chapter. Therefore, we decided to first promote Givology through several campaigns instead of asking for donations right away. We started our campaign at the Global Youth Extracurricular Expo (YOUHECA) in 2010 and succeeded in recruiting 80 members from over 60 high schools and 5 countries; we were awarded the ‘Outstanding Activity Award.’ Starting from YOUTHECA, we began to promote the ‘Givology Spirit,’ and in two years, held six campaigns and one raising awareness camp with 120 elementary students – all prepared and hosted completely by students. Recognized as one of three successful out of over 500 clubs, Givology Korea was given the honor of giving a speech in front of 2000 people at the 2011 Global Youth Extracurricular Expo. In addition, we were awarded the ‘Best Activity Award’ and had a radio interview with KBS - the most prestigious broadcast channel in Korea - about Givology. Through our focus on raising awareness and informing the public, more people got to know about Givology and we were able to collect more donations toward our cause. Hence, we are currently supporting 16 students and 12 projects with Givology.
You’ve talked about your chapter’s participation in YOUTHECA as well as the bake sale you held. Can you please tell us about some of the other successful projects Givology Korea has worked on?
AC: While the most significant event Givology Korea has held since its launch is the Givology Youth Assembly, we have also coordinated and participated in several other projects we are proud of. Some of them include the Dormitory Festival Donation Campaign, YOUTHECA, Givology Youth Assembly, CSIA Festival Awareness, and the Triple-C Donation Campaign.
Are there any projects you are currently working on? Please tell us about them.
AC: We are currently planning a street concert in front of the Seoul City Hall. One of our members is in a rap group and he and his members are planning to hold a street concert, followed by a flash mob to grab the public’s attention in favor of our cause.
A flash mob, that sounds like an exciting idea that will definitely give you more publicity! So, what is in store for Givology South Korea for the future?
AC: We plan to continue holding the Givology Youth Assembly. Since the first assembly was so successful and got so many good feedbacks from participants, we will make it an annual event, held on a much bigger scale than the first one. Our goal is to include more meaningful programs in the event and thus increase our donor base.
Thank you very much for spending this time to speak with us. Is there anything you’d like to share with others who are thinking of starting a Givology chapter?
AM: Givology Korea Chapter members are greatly thankful for the opportunity to be a part of Givology. Not only has Givology opened our eyes to the issues surrounding child education in developing countries, it has also provided us with chances to be a part of the solution. With our passionate goals and caring attitudes for children in the developing world, we are going to persist in making ‘a small yet tremendous difference’ in the world.
Would you like to learn more about Givology South Korea and helping to fund some of their projects? Click on the following links: Givology South Korea, sponsored students, sponsored projects
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