Exchanging Love Through Mentoring
Exchanging Love Through Mentoring
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2006.04.05 00:00
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▲ Photo provided by Choi Jung-a. A Rotaract club member is teaching English to her students at Sun Duk Won.
   They often say that money determines a student's academic ability in Korean society. Many students receive expensive tutorial lessons and numerous people guide these students. On the other hand, orphans, juveniles whose parents are divorced, and handicapped students do not have the chance to receive such expensive lessons or counseling because they are in a destitute state. Like the proverb which says, "Heaven helps those who help themselves," student clubs like Ewha Rotaract and Chamuri are ready to help and instruct those who yearn to have a few extra lessons.
   Rotaract is a worldwide service club established in 1968 by young men and women, who voluntarily help people in need.
   About forty students are involved in the Ewha Rotaract, which was founded thirty-four years ago. Since about 1973, members of Ewha Rotaract began to teach young girls from age 3 to 18 in "Sun Duk Won," an orphanage located in Eunpyung-Gu.
   Members get together every Tuesday and go to "Sun Duk Won." On a one to one basis, they help children understand regular school curricula or subjects with which the children are struggling. Furthermore, they often give advice for the children's daily problems. Choi Jung-a (Consumer Science & Human Development, 2), the president of Ewha Rotaract said, "Our relationship is not just limited to teacher and student.   Sometimes we become counselors, at other times we become close friends who can confide one's secrets. This is why I think "mentoring" is a more appropriate word than teaching. It is not always us being the mentors. We sometimes become mentee as well. Children are really bright making us forget our anguish and be grateful for every day of our life."
   Choi commented that teaching children is not always easy. "Sometimes, the girls do not try to open their mind, making us tired. In cases like this, I try to reach to the girl's heart with sincerity and tell her stories of my family because they often feel nostalgic about having a family," Choi said.
   Chamuri was established in 1987 as a university students union, helping visually handicapped students to receive lessons. Students from ten universities are members of Chamuri. They began to teach handicapped high school students at the Seoul National School for the Blind (SNSB). Most of the visually handicapped students have no alternative but to become massagers or acupuncturists. Thus, the school's curricula usually consists of training techniques of massaging. Naturally, students who want to study more and enter university lack the necessary academic education. Chamuri teaches and helps those students who need extra lessons but cannot afford them.
   Once a week, Chamuri members go to SNSB and teach students for about two hours. "Usually there are few text books which are written in Braille. Thus, we have to read the whole text to students. That is the hardest part of teaching," Hong Mi-jung (Industrial Design, 2) said. "When I taught Korean classical literature, I had to read those difficult texts to students. After that, I decided to record texts so that whenever students want to study, I can just play the tape I recorded," Hong added. 
   "When I just got into Chamuri, I had a prejudice against the handicapped, and felt sorry for them. However, as I got to know them, I found that there's nothing different about them except for the fact that they are blind. All the students I taught were warm and pure. I became to think of them as true friends," You Eun-bi (Clothing & Textiles, 2) said enthusiastically. You added that joining Chamuri and meeting SNSB's students made her more mature and unbiased. Chamuri volunteers do not only offer academic help to the students, but also let the students learn what is really important in life: love among people.

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