Children attending the Hope Kids program aimed at helping children from multicultural families adjust to society raise their hands behind a sign in Bukchon, downtown Seoul, Saturday. / Courtesy of Asia Treasure Network
By Kang Hyun-kyung
A group of 42 children spent a day-long emersion culture tour at the Bukcheon (northern village) area of Seoul, Saturday. Among them, 26 were from families with multicultural backgrounds.
The event was the first in a series of the Hope Kids programs prepared to help children of parents who are either a migrant worker or married to a migrant from a Southeast Asian nation, in order to better adjust to Korean society.
Park Jung-sook, representative of the Asia Treasure Network (ATN), told The Korea Times that her social enterprise organized the day camp for the two groups of children — one from Korean families and the other from ethnic minorities — to educate them about the value of integration in the era of the multicultural society.
“We’ve learned a lot from the recent tragedy involving a Vietnamese bride who was killed by her husband in the port city of Busan eight days after she married,” Park said of the purpose of the program.
“Still many Koreans, intentionally or unintentionally, do not consider multicultural families to be part of us. And I think raising public awareness of the need for integration is essential especially when the number of multicultural families is ever growing here.”
During the day tour, 16 elementary school children from the multicultural families worked together with their counterparts from Korean families by making kites, attending cultural heritage tours, and visiting traditional museums near the village.
Through teamwork, Park said the children from the two groups would come to know more about each other and better understand their counterparts and their ways.
The ATN targeted multiracial children for they tend to be isolated from early education in cultural and art programs for many of their parents are struggling to make ends meet.
Their cultural and artistic talents might not be discovered or developed early and this may prevent them from finding their professional world fitting with their talents when they grow up.
The ATN recruited Korean volunteers who were willing to share their time and expertise to help those children learn and develop academic and cultural skills.
The social enterprise plans to organize two more Hope Kids programs later this year.