“Todak Todak Coop” helps youth build own social safety net
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“Todak Todak Coop” helps youth build own social safety net
  • Moon Bo-ra
  • 승인 2013.03.30 15:43
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Photo provided by Todak Todak Coop.
With the youth unemployment rate exceeding 9 percent this year, young people of Korean society are commonly referred to as “the working poor.” To alleviate such difficulties today’s young people experience, a form of social solidarity bank called Todak Todak Coop was founded. Todak Todak Coop, where todak todak is a Korean mimetic word for patting someone’s shoulder, started as a social solidarity bank for the youth. It was organized on Feb. 23 by Cho Keum-deuk, the director of the Youth Community Union, a group that aims to improve the quality of work environment for young people. Cho founded Todak Todak Coop based on her realization of the need for a social safety net which young people suffering from financial difficulties can freely call for a hand. “While the Korean society became a harder place for young people to live in, it seemed there was nobody from whom they could ask for help in financially difficult times,” Cho said. “In particular, many young people who work part-time or irregularly do not have a stable income to afford their living expenses. In such cases, I thought providing loans to them could be a big hand.” Since its foundation, the size of Todak Todak Coop grew from 160 to 230 members, accumulating a fund of one million won which was invested by each member as they joined. Operated mostly by members from the Youth Community Union, the Coop mainly offers services through which the members can mutually benefit, such as loans, finance education and mutual aid. As the Coop’s first aim is to save young people from financial crisis, it offers three different types of loans, including standard loan, emergency loan and Todak loan. The members can loan up to 500,000 won at an interest rate of 2 percent if they earn more than five “seeds,” which reflect the credit of each member. A seed, as a mileage system, is given to the member who participates in the Coop’s events or volunteers in the mutual aid program. Members who earn more than 10 seeds can use Todak loan with no interest as well. On the other hand, members without any seeds can also borrow money up to 200,000 won at an interest rate of 2 percent by using emergency loans, which are given only for urgent expenses such as medical fees. However, since the Coop is newly established, there have not been many opportunities for participants to earn seeds so far. Instead, the Coop has lent money to its members through emergency loans only. “Quite a number of members asked to borrow money urgently,” Cho said. “I remember a father who had not been paid by his company for a while. So, unfortunately, he had to loan some money to send his kids to his grandparents.” The Coop does not merely lend money to temporarily stop financial problems young people face. It also attempts to solve potential problems by assisting the youth to possess a strong fundamental knowledge in economy and finance. In order to do so, it also launched a series of finance management classes in which up to 30 members per session can learn how to budget, realize their financial status and, in the long run, well-manage their finance. One-to-one finance consulting is also available for those who borrowed money through emergency loans. In addition to services directly related to the finance field, the Union provides a venue for the youth to share their knowledge and talents through a number of mutual aid programs. The members can volunteer to share their expertise and receive a seed through language and legal support. “We will further expand Todak Todak Coop and start new projects, so that the members can cooperate and actively partake within the Coop,” Cho said. “We will not only try to solve such problems on our own but also speak out and ask for some measures on the government level.” Anyone aged from 15 to 39 can join Todak Todak Coop as a member with a bit of investment fund by submitting the application form which can be downloaded from its homepage (http://cafe.daum.net/ybank1030). For further information, visit the homepage or call (02) 332-5804.

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