Spare an hour to accommodate financially struggling students
Spare an hour to accommodate financially struggling students
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2014.10.12 13:49
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Sibsilbab volunteers work to deliver meal coupons to financially struggling students. Photo provided by Sibsilbab.
Used trays and plates are sent to the dishwashing depot via a conveyor belt, and within seconds, students quickly move on to rinsing and assorting with workers at the dining hall. While others could spend their free periods playing an occasional game of billiards, munching on pastries and sipping coffee in a cafe, or studying in the library, a group of student volunteers from Sibsiilbab have stepped up to work at the student cafeteria to deliver meal coupons to financially independent students from poor families.
Sibsiilbab is a student volunteer service group founded in Hanyang University where volunteers dedicate one hour every week to “make food” and accommodate students who feel burdened to purchase a meal coupon.
The name Sibsiilbab derived from the Korean four-character idiom “Sibsiilban,” translated as ten spoons full make one bowl, which means many hands work together to help one person.
“The words ban and bab have the same meaning but the word Sibsiilbab provides a more intuitive meaning as a proper noun,” said Kim Da-ye (Hanyang University, 3), one of the administrators of Sibsiilbab.
The main objective of the group is to continuously help students who are financially supported by the National Basic Living Security Act. Volunteers earn 5,500 won for serving food and 7,000 won for dishwashing per hour, and the money they earn are delivered to students as meal coupons.
Sibsiilbab started in the fall semester of 2014, and it currently has a total of 40 volunteers, mostly comprising of freshmen and sophomores, who are divided into groups according to the day they have signed up to volunteer. Volunteers participate one hour per week during lunch time from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m..
Lee Ho-young (Hanyang University, 3), one of the administrators of Sibsiilbab, came up with the founding idea in February. He persuaded other students, those who now are the administrators, to participate in this new form of volunteer service. However, since there were no precedents, the administration team faced some challenges.
“We were responsible for soliciting help but we did not know where to go and which professors to ask for help,” said Yun Yeuong-mun (Hanyang University 3), one of the other administrators. “Since we are all students, we also faced difficulties negotiating with adults who were working in professional fields.”
Despite these hardships, the group has no qualms about serving as benefactors of financially struggling students.  “This service not only delivers meal coupons to financially difficult students, but also saves students some time from working in part-time jobs to earn living expenses,” Kim said.
“I am lending them some of my time to do things that they want to do. I am making a small effort to help others, and it merely takes up one hour per week!”
In order to increasingly beef up the service program, the nine administrators of Sibsiilbab regularly hold meetings for discussions, evaluating the efficacy and progress of its service program. They are also currently contacting other student cafeterias at school, and other universities to expand the service.
“We heard that there is a Mirinae movement in Ewha in which students purchase meal coupons beforehand and distribute them to students who cannot afford to eat a meal,” Yun said. “Since Sibsiilbab and the Mirinae movement are running under a similar objective, we think that many students are sharing the same thought to help other students. We are currently having talks with the following universities: Konkuk University, Kyung Hee University and Sejong University.”
Sibsiilbab hopes to build an outreach for those financially difficult students by developing their own constituency beyond their own school as a corollary spreading throughout the entire country.
The meal coupons will be delivered to students at the end of October, and the second recruitment team will start the service in November.
Sibsiilbab is free and open to all students, and students may sign up easily for any weekday they wish to participate. Students who are interested may visit the Sibsiilbab Facebook page ( or the blog ( for further information.

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