In 1886, Mary F. Scranton founded Ewha with the hope of educating the oppressed Korean women. Scranton’s devotion in raising and nurturing underprivileged Korean women eventually gave birth to the world’s largest women’s university despite the hard times Ewha had to bear such as the Japanese colonization period and the ordeals of the Korean War.
Following the frontier spirit of Scranton, Ewha has been spreading the spirit of serving and sharing in various countries. Among those countries that are in need of assistance, there are several reasons why Ewha has chosen Cambodia in particular, which makes the relationship between Ewha and Cambodia special.
Ewha Community Welfare Center and the Ewha Graduate School of Social Welfare (GSSW) established Ewha Social Services in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Feb. 21. The center aims to promote the welfare of children and female from low-income groups and lay its foundation in Cambodia by passing on know-how from Korea’s field experiences. The center was established to return what Ewha had received in the past.
“Mrs. Scranton devoted herself for the education of women and the minorities,” said Joo Sung-a, the director of Ewha Social Services. “We are practicing what we learned from her and returning the help we received when we lacked educational infrastructure.” Ewha is known to be the first Korean university to set up an institution in a foreign country, taking the first step as a front-runner to spread the spirit of sharing.
The center runs various programs for children and teenagers such as culture experiencing programs, education on children’s rights, and after-school programs in which diverse daily courses are given including English, Cambodian language, Korean, arts, and dancing.
It also provides practical and basic hygiene education such as hand-washing, teeth brushing, and using the western-style toilet in a proper way since the children are susceptible to illness due to insanitary conditions and lack of hygienic sense.
Before the center was established, children were not able to receive education since they stayed at home doing the housework.
“Locals tell me that they are thankful for taking care of and educating their children while they are at work,” Joo said.
The center also has special programs for local development and strengthening social welfare expertise such as workshops given by experts, Korea-Cambodia school-industry partnership programs and field instruction.
“As the center aims to help the local community create an autonomous and sustainable welfare environment, it is important for us to figure out what their real demands are by living with them,” Joo said.
The center plans to provide various other projects in education, welfare, self-support, and health care based on the locals’ needs.
* Reporter: Chung Yoon-young & Lee Ji-hyun & Jeon Ji-won & Lee Sang-ha