In May, Hyosung Employees created 'Hyosung Sharing Volunteer Group' voluntarily as a step to make a healthy and beautiful society. Also, on June 13, the group revisited Sungmin Disabled Children's Nursery Home. They went on a field trip to a traditional market with the disabled children. We begin with the beautiful day we had with the children. :)
Before visiting Sungmin Disabled Children’s Nursery, I was concerned about making mistakes, while also feeling excited as I remembered seeing the children last time and wondered whether they are doing well. Thanks to the email sent to us in advance containing the details of the names of the children we would see as well as their photos and disabilities, I could read it thoroughly and be prepared, letting go of some of my concern. When the day finally arrived, I put on comfortable clothes and sneakers to prepare myself for the experience of the traditional market, and wore the blue volunteers’ vest and hat before I set off to the nursery.
The teachers in Sungmin Disabled Children’s Nursery had been waiting for us, and they welcomed us with bright smiles as we arrived. We listened to the schedule of today’s programs as well as precautions, after which we could meet the children. My partner for today was this guy name Lee Tae-hoon with an intellectual disability. After a simple greeting, we moved to Sinwon Market located in Gwanak-gu by bus, during which I listened carefully to the teacher who explained Tae-hoon’s characteristics and learned some precautions. Tae-hoon, who at first seemed awkward and shy, adjusted quickly and answered my questions quite well, and later even held my hand.
Today’s mission was to look around Sinwon Market, see what kinds of things they sell, and buy the things written on the mission paper. Tae-hoon’s list of errands included cucumbers and green chili peppers. While he knew exactly what a cucumber is, he seemed to have a hard time distinguishing green chili peppers from Cheongyang chili peppers, which look quite similar. So I took him around the market and kept showing him the two different kinds of peppers. By the time we finished looking around the market, we became really friendly, and he excitedly called out the names of the things we saw together: “There’s rice cake, there’s bread, and there’s an oriental melon.” Once we reached the end of the market, we backtracked and bought cucumbers and green chili peppers.
Thanks to the PA system that announced our visit and requested interest, the merchants were especially kind to us. Tae-hoon could not communicate smoothly by himself, but he followed my instructions very well. He could complete his errands by saying, “Is this green chili?”, “How much is it?”, and “Thank you” with my help.
We had some time left until we needed to complete the mission, so I used the remaining money to buy a beverage Tae-hoon wanted to drink, and some bread to eat back in the nursery. At one point, as we came out of the supermarket and walked back to the assembly area, Tae-hoon stopped in front of a toy store and stared bright-eyed at toy excavators and toy cars. As I watched him, I suddenly felt a surge of pride and gratitude for this child, who never once caused trouble for about an hour. Other team members also seemed to be interacting with the children more smoothly than before, as this was the second time we visited. Whenever we ran into one another, we talked about what we bought and shared our snacks. In such cordial and amicable atmosphere, we wrapped up the traditional market experience.
We returned to the nursery by bus and sat around the table, where we ate the snacks we had bought and the food prepared by the nursery. The children, already grown attached to us, acted so cute and adorable that we could wrap up the activity in pleasure as we laughed and talked. Sungmin Sharing Group members wrote the daily log in which we reflected on and evaluated the day’s volunteer work, after which we had a discussion and dinner together near Seoul National University where we talked about our partners. All members of the Group were present, including the two members who could not participate in the activity today due to work but who joined us later in the get-together.
In the discussion, there was an opinion that it would be great if many high-rank superiors also participate in the activities, because most members are lower than deputy section chiefs. There was also a comment that it is a great opportunity to present a positive image of the company, as many people we meet in the process ask the company we are from. There was also a suggestion of doing volunteer work on weekends once or twice a year because it is difficult to make time on weekdays due to work. Personally, I hope this suggestion is taken into consideration to activate volunteer activities. If one member is excluded, one disabled child cannot have a partner; so I resolved to definitely participate the next time we do this activity. I look forward to the participation of more Hyosung employees in the Sharing Volunteer Group activities.
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