2013년 12월 26일 목요일

[Focus] Refrigerator Volunteers

"Human is the best present"
Refrigerator Volunteers : Lee Young Im, Lee Yeon Ja, Cho Soon Jae
(Seoul YWCA 31th Postnatal Carers)

Refrigerator Volunteers are voluntary gathering of Seoul YWCA members who are working as postnatal carers. They visit senior citizens who live alone and clean their refrigerators. They try to be a friend of senior citizens as well. Here is warm story about 3 members who have been volunteering as a team. 

We are team with great gratefulness
Lee Young Im, Lee Yeon Ja, and Cho Soon Jae. Their beautiful smiles always make us happy and bright. It is definitely not easy for them to do volunteering after the full week of work from Monday to Friday or Monday to Saturday. Nevertheless, their face are full of joy and gratefulness. Lee Young Im said that she recommended Ms. Lee and Ms. Cho tp join the volunteer activity after she experienced volunteer program for migrant workers. The team got trained at Guro Senior Citizen Welfare Center on January 15th , 2011. Since then, they have been visiting Kim Chae Bong, senior citizen who live alone and are 83 old, on Saturday of every third week.

Old Lady's Welcoming with Tears
On the first day of visiting the old lady, Kim, the whether was freezing. Besides, it was not easy to find the way to her home. When they met the lady welcoming them with tears, the team was moved. How much she missed people? They couldn't imagine. Kim said that she prayed all the time, 'Lord, thank you so much for sending those precious people to this useless old one. Thank you for filling me with love.'

She Makes Me Think My Mother
When they call her some times, she always said, 'You don't have to come. You are so busy and tired.' Her voice makes them feel mother's love. Weather forecast says this winter will be so cold and freezing. They are going to give her inner wears and some foods. Even they have to participate in family gathering, they don't miss the day of visiting her. Their children forced them to take a rest instead of volunteering, however, now, they support mothers' volunteering.

Seoul YWCA's Refrigerator Volunteers have been doing their activity since 2010. 23 volunteers as 12 teams regularly visited senior citizens who are living alone. If you want to join this activity, please call at 3705-6024. You can share your love anytime.

[Policy Monitoring] Mental Health Protection of Senior Citizens

Healthy life of senior citizen is emerging as the one of the significant social issues in this aging society. Seoul YWCA's Policy Monitors found out the way senior citizens could approach to programs to improve their mental health. 

Improvement of Depression Questionnaire Needed
Seoul YWCA's Policy Monitors(SYPM) sought advice on depression questionnaires collected from a few organizations in charge of medical check-up of citizens. National Health Insurance Cooperation asks only 3 questions about mental health of examinee over 66. Can we find an effectiveness of diagnosis with this questionnaire?  3rd-level hospital provides in-depth check-up about sleep, stress, anxiety, depression, however, the expense is too high for the vulnerable. Seoul Mental Health Improvement Center opens on-line check-up system so that anybody can access, but the elderly could not use its system easily. Suwon Mental Health Center for Senior Citizen offers subdivided questionnaires including senior citizen's recognition improvement program and depression improvement program. Its diagnostic rate is over 80% but it is only open for Suwon citizens.

Awareness on Metal Health Still Low
SYPM surveyed 200 women over 40 to find out their awareness on mental health. About the question 'Do you fell depression?', 36% of them answered 'I feel weakness and am depressed frequently', 32% said 'I don't like hanging out with people', 20% responded 'I cannot sleep because of anxieties', and 12% said 'I often feel like crying'. Despite of those results, 54% of them answered 'I don't need any help for those problems'. And 50% of them are thinking negatively about the mental health improvement program of their communities. As a result, change in their awareness on mental health is significantly needed.

Integrated Management System Required
First, National Health Insurance Cooperation has to reform their questionnaires on mental health. The number of questionnaires should be increased from 3 to 15. Senior citizen over 65 has to be able to get the mental check-up also. Second, there should be therapy and various program after the check-up linked with public health centers. Third, we have to improve our awareness on mental health. How about using 'Mental Stability Check-up' instead of 'Depression Check-up'? Mental Health Cafe can be run to provide helpful information. Finally, we suggest integrated management system to foster consultants for senior citizen's mental health.

SYPM submitted its results and suggetions to Seoul Metropolitan City's Department for Mental Health Improvement and will hand in to National Health Insurance Cooperation, too. For good policy enabling women's happy life, SYPM will keep doing policy monitoring.  

Seoul YWCA News in November, 2013

Gangnam Youth Center
Teen Club Festival
A club festival, ‘CLUB DAY’ was organized along with 12 clubs and 239 teens on November 9th (Saturday) in the fornt yard of Gangnam Youth Center. Each club prepared a booth and each wrote a ‘To Do List’ to decorate the Christmas tree. The economy club G.E.T and Suseo Middle School economy club S.E.S opened a ‘Reuse, Reduce, Recycle’ also known as ‘Ahnabada’ market and donated the days total sales profit for the marginalized adolescents.

YMCA and YWCA Joint Service
Seoul YWCA held a joint service on the theme of ‘agents of change’ during the week of World YMCA&YWCA International fellowship. Female theologian Choi Man Ja preached on the words of ‘Powers of Change: Discontinuity, Pity, Livelihood, Wisdom’, and each participant took their time to put one’s vows into a patchwork. The offerings of the day were sent to Milyang residents who are struggling to oppose the construction of a transmission tower.

Department for Adults Education
In-depth leadership education for businesswomen
The adult division opened an in-depth businesswomen leadership development program ‘Job & Tomorrow Up’ on November 19th (Tuesday). During orientation self-introductions were made and the importance of change was learned. Expert advice and collective coaching were done to resolve realistic tasks and challenges of businesswomen. There are 23 participants in the completing class, and 12 who have participated in the new class. The program is expected to proceed until January of next year.

Garak Social Welfare Center
The 6th Family Kite Flying
On November 16th (Saturday), Garak comprehensive social welfare center and 160 local residents proceeded with the 6th family kite flying activity held in Hangang Park. Starting with stretches and exercises, families and neighbors proceeded with watching world kites, and made creative kites. Lastly a kite-flying contest was held to conclude the wonderful memories held on an autumn day.

Department for Youth
Y-Teen fundraising bazaar for Myanmar community serive
The Teen division on November 23rd (Saturday) held a Y-teen fundraising bazaar for Myanmar community service project from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thirty Y-teen members participated to raise funds for college students for the Myanmar community service project that will take place starting on January 15th. Y-teen members who participated in the bazaar hoped that these small gestures will help fulfill a larger purpose.

Yeongdeungpo Women Resources Development Center
Business transitional education ‘Starting up a Coffee’ process
On November 7th (Thursday) at Yeongdeungpo Women Resource Development Center, businessmen who are planning on changing their type of business, and eleven businessmen who went out of business, took a business transitional education ‘Starting up a Coffee’ class. Participants learned about a founder’s mind, marketing strategies, and analyzed case studies. Overall participants had a time to understand about starting up a business.

Sungdong Youth Center
Alternative School ‘Tong’ extracurricular activities ‘Hand Factory’
At Sungdong Youth Cultural Center Alternative School ‘Tong’ on January 14th, an extracurricular activity ‘Hand Factory,’ a non-verbal arts and crafts activity, was organized in hopes to release internal stress. Teens who participated in the activity had time to make clocks, clay pots, and miniatures to reflects on and express one’s inner side.

Nowon Women Resources Development Center
Human Network Club Meeting
On November 15th (Friday), six mentor-mentee human network program clubs that were active for a year, met at Nowon Women Resource Development Center. Club members offered words of encouraged for the efforts the clubs made to develop employment capabilities and gave each other further support.

[YWCA Forum] Our Food, is it Safe from Radiation

On November 18 (Tuesday) at 2p.m., Seoul YWCA along with members and 80 participating citizens, opened a forum regarding the recent social problem of radiation and food safety. During the lecture, YooJin Lee, from the planning committee of the center of energy politics, chaired the meeting.

Radiation and Food Safety
2 years and 7 months have passed since Fukushima’s nuclear accident. Prime minister, Abe Shinzo, declared that Fukushima’s radiation is being completely controlled. However, TEPCO has announced that “10 million becquerel of radiation per hour is still being emitted.” Radioactive ‘substances cannot be felt through any of the five senses, and does not disappear with any chemical treatment. Radiation exposure limits are also set by the government according to the commercial interests and are not medically based. The reference value of 1mSv set by the government has the possibility of causing 10,000 people to acquire cancer. Unless the value is zero, there is no such thing as safe radiation exposure.

With public anxiety about radioactive contamination increasing, we propose the following policy to the government. All food imports from Japan should be banned. Rapid inspection of Japan’s marine products should be suspended and instead Korean Food Standards Codex’s ‘ten thousand seconds test’ should be implemented. Russia, China, and domestic fishery products should also be checked in the same way for radioactivity. Little to non-traceable amounts of contamination found in Japanese food also need to show the non-polluted certificate. Strontium and plutonium must also be included into the list of test items. The government should cooperate with China, Russia, etc. to monitor radioactive contamination of the ocean and information should be disclosed. Test results on baby products, cosmetics, industrial products and industrial materials, and radioactive waste, etc., should also be disclosed and relevant authorities and departments should be unified.

We Met Peace in Jeju

Refugee and South Korean college students learn and share peace and prepare for unification, ‘Peace School on a Street’.
18 South Korean students that have been studying about peace for the last four months went on a 2night 3days (November 11th-15th) trip to the peaceful island of Jeju.

A Friendly Trip that Thinks of the Region
Jeju, a place which just hearing the name makes one’s heart flutter, is an island of peace that many peace activists from all over the world have come to visit because of the recent Gangjeong village naval base construction that has become an international issue. With the question ‘what can we do to find peace’ in mind, we went on a fair travel. Fair travel, also called friendly travel, is not a travel that just includes eating and having fun, but it is also a trip where everyone respects the region, recognizes diversity, economy is revived, social problems are solved, and nature is preserved.
North and South Korean college students who went on the Jeju-do peace trip ate at restaurants in which the profit are all returned back to the local residents. They had the opportunity to go to a pesticide-free tangerine plantation, walk up and down the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and visit the Gangjeong village and meet peace.

Meeting Peace with the Heart

What is peace? Gangjeong village that had been going through much conflict since 2007 over the naval base construction showed us and made us feel the peace that was in our mind. As the naval case construction started in the ocean in front of Gangjeong village, which is tourist attraction, it led to many conflicts. 

Director Training 2014-2015 YWCA Emphasis on Education

Seoul YWCA has coordinated a director training program with Seoul’s northern part directors, members, and staff on November 6 (Wednesday) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Out of the six 2014-2015 YWCA priority projects, peaceful unification, female violence prevention, gender-sensitive policy settlement are the lectured subjects summarized and looked at.

Preparations for unification, education for peace and path to aid North Korea

Prof. Kim, Young-Soo (Seogang University)

Why peaceful unification?
Currently North Korea’s ‘Kim Jong Un center’ system has been developing and strong winds of social change is forming. As information circulation has accelerated, more people have come to use cell phones and as capitalism has come into play, there have been changes to perceptions on capital. In a new political culture with its emphasis on foundation and composition and capitalism’s ‘We can live only with money’ have merged, bribery has become prevalent.
Why peaceful unification? This is because we know the damages of unification by force, and because after unification there cannot be a separation. Recently Kim Jong Un has declared a unification by force within three years heightening the tension between North and South Korea. The terrible and tragic effects of war cannot be imagined by any generation that was not experienced war. We need to prepare for a peaceful unification to avoid our country from devastation, and a separation again after unification. Peaceful unification starts with preparation. Institutional unification is important; however, a unified mind is more important. We must start from acknowledging that we are different from others.

Unification of People, Unification of Mind
To overcome the realities of a sixty year division, we need to prepare for a ‘unification of people’, which is the ‘unification of mind’. Why not practice a rehearsal on unification ‘with North Korean refugees’ and not ‘for North Korean refugees’. To understand North Korea comprehensively we need a new education from before and we must continue to inform North Koreans of new announcements.
Envisioning the future after unification is also important. Let’s try imagining how it would be like after unification. We must have thoughts such as ‘what would happen to the army after unification, which major would be most popular, what can we do for a living’ and we must envisage our life after unification.

With regard to North Korean aid, we need not a one-time aid but we need to emphasize ‘little, meaningful, continuous’ aid. Its important to continuously carry out projects such as sending sanitary pads and cosmetics to North Korean women, and sending powdered milk to North Korean children. Let us try constructing a ‘Y-project’ that may differentiate the YWCA from others.

[Letter to YWCA] Thank You YWCA Scholarship!

From Seok Jung Mi (Myung Ji High Schoo)
First of all thank you for giving me such a valuable scholarship. As valuable as it is, I will use it in places that are most necessary. I will also study hard and participate actively in community service.
I was very fortunate to have met the Y-teen club when I stated high school. I always had a desperate wanting to volunteer, but when I found out that our school offers a community service activity, I immediately became a Y-teen member.
Y-teen club has been more than just a community service activity but has given me an opportunity to participate in valuable experiences. Through many activities such as the Dokdo flash mob, North Korea defector volunteer program, and watching human rights movies, I have realized that Seoul Y is an exceptional organization that helps teens build awareness of our society and our world. I am therefore very grateful and proud to be a Y-teen member.
Y-teen activities have allowed me to think and reflect more deeply on our society which caused me to think of becoming a person that may help the society. Carrying out my responsibility, I will become an even more active member in the future.

From Nam Ye-un (Dong gu marketing High School)
I am grateful to have received a scholarship. Through the scholarship I was able to pay for school operations and lunch fees. I would like to say how thankful I am.
I have learned a lot as a Y-teen member. Through various community services, knowing that I could be of help to others gave me a challenge and confidence. Participating in community activities I have not experienced before gave me the capacity to think more largely and to become more mature.
I am already somber thinking that I will not be able to participate more activity in Y-teen activities next year when I am a senior in high school. However, I will always practice the things YWCA has taught me for the past two years.

Once again I send my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to YWCA for financial support. With Y spirit, I will try on becoming a great member of the society and embrace our society and others.

Toilet Paper, Counterattack of Chemicals

Choi, Jae-Sook (Executive Director, Eco Consumer Cooperative)

Although newspapers and other types of plain paper are recycled and used, the main source of toilet paper is trees. For these raw materials to become toilet paper, a lot of chemicals are used mainly chlorine bleach and fluorescent whitening agent. Sometimes ink is used to print in drawings, and more chemicals are added for fragrance. Large amount of chemicals are used not only in toilet papers, but also in napkins and wooden chopsticks. This is not any different for recycled paper.

Fluorescent whitening agent is not lost even when washed or boiled
Among these chemicals, the one that needs most caution is the fluorescent whitening agent. Also called fluorescent bleaching agent, fluorescent whitening agent is added to textiles to whiten it. The chemical does not get rid of grime but instead covers it to make it look whiter and does not come off when washed or boiled. When the fluorescent whitening agent comes in direct contact with skin, it may cause atopic dermatitis, housewife's eczema and other skin disease. Those who argue that fluorescent whitening agent is a carcinogen, state that when this chemical enters the body, it causes harmful, negative effects. The problem is that fluorescent whitening agent is spread through the hands of many homemakers.
Currently, fluorescent whitening agent is restricted in products such as baby tissues and diapers, sanitary pads, and paper cups. However, it is not an overstatement to say that most white products use fluorescent whitening agent. When buying a product, it is nice to look at the product indicator for those that do not have any fluorescent whitening agent, but this too is not favorable. Recycled paper made from a 100% milk pack does not need any whitening agent since it is already white; however, this is not easily found commercially.

Wet tissues too, are not safe
It has become commonplace to carry around not only tissues but wet tissues as well, especially those who have kids. Wet tissues are composed of cloth, water, and additives. The cloth of wet tissues is made of polyester, which is harmful to our body, synthetic fiber, and nonwoven fabric. Nonwoven fabric are called ‘cloth that does not rip.’ It is a type of a chemical product using adhesives that not allows any fiber to disperse. Paraben and formaldehyde, types of preservatives, and propylene glycol, a type of humectants are also added. Fluorescent bleaching agent is also added to whiten the west tissues. It is also subjected to a process of disinfection and sterilization to remove micro-organisms. Wet tissues that contain these substances can cause eczema or skin rash. Remaining water left on the skin may also be possible to cause cancer. Non-woven fabric is also not environmentally friendly and may lead to an acceleration in environmental pollution.
Because of these various problems, organic wipes have been stealing the spotlight. One should choose products with labels including: Non-genetically modified organism (NON GMO), organic cotton 100%, Non-alcoholic, Non-artificial fragrance, Non-fluorescent, Non-formaldehyde, and Non-synthetic oil. The average span of wet tissues is two years; however, it is recommended to be used within six months after opening the package. After opening, it should not be kept in high temperatures, and one should be hygienic in taking out and closing the package.

Using safe products is recommended; however as trees are being used up, we suggest the use of handkerchiefs or cotton cloths.