DESTINY (“DivErSiTy Is NecessitY") is a youth club that deals with issues faced by helping multicultural families (a term for families in which one spouse is Korean and the other is an immigrant) in Korea, with focus given to immigrants from countries such as Bangladesh, India, and Yemen. Because of their differences in language and culture, they struggle to find jobs and had troubling affording the masks required by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the immigrants are unqualified to participate in the Korean government’s five-day rotation system in order to make sure that masks were supplied to all citizens. This is because foreigners can only purchase masks from pharmacies if they are subscribing to Korea’s national health insurance plan, which a lot of immigrants cannot afford. The club takes action to alleviate immigrants’ financial struggles by donating necessities and teaching them Korea’s language and culture.
|[Members of DESTINY with multicultural children; Photo by Julia Lee]|
DESTINY was informed that most children were completely ignorant about COVID-19 and prevention methods. To improve this situation, we implemented three projects. First, we made 100 cloth masks and delivered them to multicultural families. Secondly, we ordered hand sanitizers. Finally, we created a presentation regarding the coronavirus made up of basic information of COVID-19, prevention methods, and how to properly use masks and hand sanitizers. Through all three activities, we were able to increase children’s awareness of the current pandemic and help them stay safe.
|[Screenshot of a slide from DESTINY presentation; Photo by Julia Lee]|
Because learning the language is the first step to successfully adapt to a new country, DESTINY also offers Korean language tutoring. I have been teaching a nine-year-old girl from Bangladesh since March. Although it is impossible for her to communicate with her peers and teachers, she attends a Korean school, which does not provide foreigners with Korean language courses. Our classes started with greeting words and then moved on to basic conversation. I taught her the Korean alphabet, Hangeul, and how to read simple words and phrases. Even though she struggled at the beginning, she was able to carry on a conversation after constant studying of the learning materials and watching the Korean animations that I recommended. As time progressed, we were able to have deeper conversations, through which I was able to learn more about her as a person.
Furthermore, in order to help the immigrants overcome their cultural barriers, DESTINY started “Unboxing Korea”, a YouTube channel that helps immigrants to understand Korean culture. Its title carries the message that DESTINY will help immigrants to “open” Korea, which is often a firmly-closed box in the beginning. It introduces Korea by covering a wide variety of topics, such as public transportation, popular locations, and traditional foods. We once filmed ourselves riding subways, buses, and taxis to familiarize them with Korean public transportation. This project is not only accessible to multicultural families but also to anyone else who are interested, meaning that we can benefit all foreigners who are willing to learn about Korea.
|[Screenshot of a Video in Unboxing Korea; Photo by Julia Lee]|
DESTINY will expand its impact by not only directly helping the immigrants by continuously organizing events and providing necessary resources but also increasing general social awareness of the multicultural families’ struggles. DESTINY is planning to create a social media platform on Instagram or Facebook that could be accessed by more people. We will post pictures of DESTINY’s projects and articles regarding the immigrants in Korea in order to encourage Korean citizens to join the movement.
Julia (Eunseo) Lee
Junior (Grade 11)
Chadwick International School
Julia (Eunseo) Lee email@example.com
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