Our Affiliated Project: The Yong Jin Children’s Home in Gwangju, South Korea

 

Quick facts about Yong Jin 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 5 to 19 years old.
  • Facility description: Situated on the slope of a mountain overlooking rice paddies below, the cluster of brick and stucco buildings houses dormitories, an auditorium, a dining room, kitchen and offices. The grounds include a vegetable garden and apple orchard.
  • Education: School-aged children attend local public schools, where they receive instruction in core academic subjects as well as rudimentary English.
  • Academic schedule: 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: Children perform a variety of assigned daily chores. For recreation, they participate in popular sports such as volleyball, soccer and baseball.
  • 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 future-oriented 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, Yong Jin Children’s Home traces its origin to efforts to address this postwar crisis. Located in the city of Gwangju, Yong Jin Children’s Home continues its mission of providing orphaned and underprivileged children in this region of South Korea with a safe and nurturing home environment, nutritious food and medical care.

Many of the children who come to Yong Jin 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.