Unlike other developing countries, Cambodia wanted educational assistance more than economic aid.
“Cambodia is one of the countries to which Korea gives Official Development Assistance intensively,” said professor Kim Mee-hye, the dean of the GSSW. “Thus, giving educational assistance than economic aid was considered to be beneficial in fostering the ability to be independent.”
“As Ewha was established with the help of foreign missionaries, being able to take on the side of helping other countries and opening the Department of Social Welfare reversely meant very meaningful to us. That is why we selected Cambodia,” Kim said.
In December 2009, the GSSW launched the master’s program of social work at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) in Cambodia.
The program was organized to raise future policy makers and scholars in social welfare. Students are required to take 18 courses for four semesters ranging from ethics and human rights in social work to field work.
Since its inauguration in 2009, all the professors of the GSSW have been taking turns staying at the RUPP every summer and winter vacations, giving lectures to students for two weeks without receiving payment.
“Last summer, I traveled to Cambodia and taught Children Welfare Services at the RUPP for four hours every day for two weeks, even on weekends,” professor Chung Ick-joong (GSSW) said. “We were on a very tight schedule because we had to cover all the points in the lecture usually given over the course of one semester.”
Chung recalled the Cambodian students he taught as passionate learners.
“Students of the RUPP highly regarded the development of their country for the next generation,” Chung said.
This year, 12 out of 14 students completed the master’s degree. Graduates became specialists in social welfare or members of non-governmental organizations.
The GSSW and the Korea International Cooperation Agency are planning to strengthen the social welfare business in Cambodia in the future.
* Reporter: Chung Yoon-young & Lee Ji-hyun & Jeon Ji-won & Lee Sang-ha