Our Affiliated Project: The Ae Hyang Children’s Home in Gimcheon, South Korea

 

Quick facts about the Ae Hyang Children’s Home:

  • Ages served: While children of all ages receive care at the home, those enrolled in our sponsorship program typically range in age from 4 to 18 years old.
  • Facility Description: The children’s home includes a main building and a dormitory, surrounded by beautiful, hilly forest.
  • Education: School-aged children attend local public schools, where they receive instruction in core academic subjects as well as rudimentary English.
  • Academic schedule: The school year begins in March and ends in February, with a long summer break. Children are also excused from classes on national holidays.
  • Extracurricular activities: Children complete a variety of assigned daily chores. For recreation, they fly colorful kites and play soccer and volleyball. Occasional field trips into Gimcheon are a special treat, with visits to public buildings, parks and shrines. Picnics are also popular.
  • Nutrition: Children receive three nutritious meals each day, with kimchi (the peppery cabbage-based staple of the Korean diet) occupying a prominent place on the table.

Comprising the lower half of a mountainous peninsula in East Asia, South Korea is truly a nation of contrasts. Although it emerged as an autonomous country in the aftermath of World War II, its rich culture and heritage reach back thousands of years.

Today, this populous nation (with a population density ten times higher than the global average) is renowned for its advancements in technology. However, more than half a century after the Korean War armistice, South Korea is still haunted by the ghosts of its turbulent past. The Korean War (1950-1953) devastated South Korea, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives — both military and civilian — and leaving thousands of children orphaned.

Like many South Korean orphanages, Ae Hyang Children’s Home (whose name means “Love Your Neighbor”) traces its origin to efforts to address this postwar crisis. Located about 120 miles southeast of Seoul, Ae Hyang Children’s Home continues its mission of providing orphaned and underprivileged children in this region of South Korea with a safe, nurturing home environment, nutritious food and medical care — while instilling the values of honesty, integrity, compassion for others and dependability.

Many of the children who come to Ae Hyang Children’s Home learn for the first time in their lives what it means to be loved and looked after. Here, each child receives respect, encouragement — and the opportunity to rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which s/he has come.