The International Youth Volunteer Service came into existence as an initiative of the Golden Jubilee year of Salesian presence in Korea - 2001. While the group carries out some very practical tasks, often helping with construction, it is no mere collection of brickmakers and builders. Very often it involves young students at university level, but essentially young volunteers, and some older ones, who are open to a formation process.
A Salesian Brother, Brother Bosco Park, and a lay woman, Professor Lee Myong Cheon from the mass media department of Cheong Ang University, Seoul, help form the group of volunteers by means of monthly meetings, where experiences are shared and Salesian spirituality is imparted.
NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANISATION STATUS
The IYVS has been recognised by the South Korean Government as a non-government organisation. It is registered as such with the Ministry of Culture and is able to apply for a small grant (upper limit is US$10,000) for each project. Occasionally there are requests for individual assistance. In January 2006, the request came for a Korean language teacher for East Timor. A Mr. Shin Dae Chool took up the request.
PROJECTS CARRIED OUT
The group's first overseas expedition took place in 2002 - to Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, where they helped out with the construction of the Street Children's village outside the city. They were also able to help the Salesians in the delicate task of working with these children as it was work which was at the very beginnings of Salesian presence in that country. A Korean Salesian on the spot was also involved.
For the following three years, groups spent time in East Timor, helping the Salesians in the work of rehabilitation and re-establishment of structures after the gaining of independence in that nation. In 2005 the group also went to the Southern Philippines where they helped construct a Parish Hall in Negros - Mambucal, near Bacolod City.
In 2006 a group of 24, which also included three Salesians, went to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where they helped in the construction of an Oratory and a dormitory. They have returned to Cambodia in January 2007 to the Don Bosco Technical School in Phnom Penh and have now grown to a substantial 49 in number! This includes students, medical staff, 4 Salesians, 1 Salesian Sister, a Salesian Cooperator and a journalist. A further group will depart for Papua New Guinea in July-August to help out at the school run by the Caritas Sisters in Port Moresby.