Mr. Y casually glances at YWCA’s brochure and sees the acronym, “CMS”. Like most people, he wonders what it stands for and goes to his computer to Naver’s homepage. He performs a quick search for “Seoul’s YWCA” and clicks on the link for the organization’s homepage: http://www.seoulywca.or.kr.
It turns out that CMA is a way to donate, and he peruses the step-by-step directions:
1. Set aside an amount of money.
2. Apply for a monthly donation to the Seoul Branch of the Social Welfare Foundation of the National YWCA of Korea.
3. Sit back as the donated funds goes to people in financial difficulty through automatic transfer by the Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearings Institute.
But wait! He thinks to himself and questions how his hard earned money will be spent. Even though he is familiar with the organization, how will they use his money? His fingers clumsily look for the digits of YWCA’s number on the touch screen of his mobile and finally he manages to dial 02-3705-6041, the number for the Seoul Branch of the Social Welfare Foundation in National YWCA of Korea.
The line rings. A friendly representative answers the phone.
The following is a transcript of the conversation between him and the rep.
Seoul YWCA rep: Good morning! Seoul YWCA, how may I help you?
Mr. Y: Hello, I was wondering if you could give me some more information about CMA and where the money will be spent. I would like to donate, but I’d first like to know where my money is going.
Seoul YWCA rep: Sure thing sir. If you don’t mind may I ask who I’m speaking with?
Mr. Y: This is Mr. Y.
Seoul YWCA rep: Well Mr. Y, the Seoul YWCA has been using CMS funds for the following programs: 'Women's rights', 'Children and Youth', and the 'Environment'. We also help and support poor countries with the CMS fund; for example, to improve the living and studying environments of Cambodian orphans, to give sponsorships to Cambodian orphans, and to support the education of Burmese refugee women. In addition, your donation goes to various volunteer groups such as emergency aid volunteers, overseas youth volunteers, culture volunteers, and aged women volunteers.
Mr. Y: So, it sounds like my donations mostly support people outside of Korea?
Seoul YWCA rep: Actually, that is just a small part of where the CMS funds go, please allow me to explain how they will be used domestically. Your donation will be used both nationally and internationally. Seoul YWCA is composed of a headquarters and six outreach centers. The funds also support feeding children who may not have enough food, the elderly who live alone, low income single parent families, the handicapped, soup kitchens and food delivery services for the elderly, and multicultural families. Moreover, you can help a shelter called 'Nooribom' where women who suffer from domestic violence have nowhere to go turn to. You may be familiar with You, Ji-tae, an actor who has shown continued support for this cause. You can also sponsor scholarships for teenagers in low income families.
Mr. Y: How do I know whether my donation is being used well or not?
Seoul YWCA rep: The Social Welfare Foundation for the National YWCA of Korea has been audited by Certified Public Accountants and the district office. You can check a breakdown of Seoul YWCA's CMS use in both our homepage and our monthly magazine. An added benefit is that your donation is tax deductible.
Mr. Y: Hmmm…okay thanks for answering the questions I have for now, I will call back with any further ones.
Seoul YWCA rep: Sure thing sir, please don’t hesitate to call us.
After the conversation, Mr. Y thought of a million other ways he could use the money. To him, donating was reserved for those who could afford the luxuries of life, not for a salaryman like him. The answers from the phone call may not have convinced him. He is still not sure to this day, but it may have been the countless people he pictured assisting from a small generous gesture. Hesitant at first, he makes a monthly donation and each successive month is easier and easier as the joy of helping others grows inside of him with each payment. Now when he rushes up the steps from the subway he doesn’t ignore the homeless person, but wonders if just maybe his small payment fed that person or gave him a warm bed for one night. No longer is the annoying “ahjooma’s” push felt in front of entrance 2-2, but the warm rush in his heart reminding him just how frail humanity is and that he is making difference.