Change of aid
After being asked to do a presentation at a Rotary district conference as an ambassadorial scholar, I went to New Bern, North Carolina.
To briefly introduce the Rotary Club, it was established in 1905 in Chicago, Ill. ``to raise funds to do good for the world.” Its basic purpose is to use the humanitarian services of business leaders to achieve peace.
The Rotary Foundation was established to promote goodwill and peace in the world through improving health, education, and combating poverty. It intends to make a better world in which everybody can live a better life together.
Now the Rotary Club together with the Bill Clinton Foundation is working to eliminate polio using the slogan ``End Polio Now,” and also actively participating in community service with the Global Food Bank Network and U.S. youth volunteer groups.
Immediate goals include giving healthcare benefits to 500 children in Uganda who lost their parents to AIDS. There was a time when the Rotary Club was perceived to be a social club for old or retired CEOs. Therefore, the current, diversified Rotary members are determined to recover the sense of ``service” that had been unpublicized. Pastors and NGO leaders have also joined and participated in various activities.
Many people are saying that volunteer work should become more active and effective than traditional work for pay. In Australia, for instance, the president of a non-profit organization called ``Women Who Lead” which provides leadership and a mentoring program for women, became the president of the local Rotary Club.
She founded this organization in 2009. She is now 22 years old and graduating from university this year. With the slogan ``Peace through Service,” there is a change in local volunteer services ``to do good for the world.” I will come back to this later, but there needs to be a new way to provide aid as well.
I thought a lot about what I would talk about for the presentation that day in New Bern. I talked about Korea’s development. After my presentation, other peace fellows followed. The fellows from different countries around the world including Sudan, Iran, Brazil, Uganda, Mexico, and South Africa made presentations on many subjects.
Each offered a brief introduction to his home country. Many people talked about political and economic confusion in their homelands. One fellow, after his presentation, said that he would like to benchmark Korea’s economic development and that his country was learning about its “Saemaeul” (new village) movement.”
I could not help but be surprised. It was especially surprising because, for a while, I talked about the movement with my classmates, and, during a brunch a few days earlier, I discussed it with Dr. San, a scientist researcher at the Pacific Institute studying the relationship between AIDS and education in Kenya.
He also studies AIDS and education around Africa, giving scholarships to 20 children in Kenya. After each of her visits to Africa, she has brunch with me and talks about the few months’ projects without stopping. She says, ``Park, whenever I visit Africa, I always think how good it would be if they learn the Saemaeul movement that Korea practiced during the 1970s because I don’t know if they will have change, hope, and dreams without changing their mentality and attitude towards life…”
Last month, the President, prime minister, and minister of industry of Myanmar said that Myanmar will ``achieve economic miracles with the Saemaeul movement, which was the role model of Koreans’ development,” before benchmarking the movement and beginning many programs and projects with Korea. Already, 15 Asian countries including India, Laos, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, 12 African countries, and two Central and South American countries are learning about this movement.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has repeatedly told African countries to ``learn Korea’s Saemaeul Movement.”
The writer is a strategist of the President Office of the World Federation of United Nations Associations. He is the author of ``Everyday Miracle,” ``Social Freedom in South Korea,” and ``Dreaming Social Entrepreneur” in Korean. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.