Our Affiliated Project: The Iri Children’s Home in Iksan, South Korea

 

Quick facts about the Iri 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: A well-maintained complex comprised of dormitories, a dining room and a kitchen. The grounds include four acres of cultivated fields and a barn with cows, chickens and pigs.
  • Education: School-aged children attend local public schools where they receive instruction in core academic subjects and rudimentary English.
  • Academic year: In South Korea, the school year typically begins in early March and ends in mid-February, with a long summer break. Children are also excused from classes on national holidays, such as the Moon Festival, which is similar to America’s Thanksgiving.
  • Extracurricular activities: The children participate in assigned daily chores including farm work and cooking. Recreational activities include flying colorful kites, playing sports such as soccer and volleyball and (for the younger children) playing on the playground equipped with swings and slides.
  • 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, Iri (pronounced “eh-ree”) Children’s Home traces its origin to efforts to address this postwar crisis. Located in the important transport city of Iksan — once an ancient capital — Iri 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 — all while instilling the values of honesty, integrity, compassion and dependability.

Many of the children who come to Iri 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.