Focus 2009

Volunteer KOR - KOR15-09-2009

Volunteer movement, much love shown through a little sharing

Project: Volunteer movement, much love shown through a little sharing
Date: 25 July - 8 August 2009
Place: Seoul (KOR) and San Jose (FIN)
Province: KOR

“I have really understood now that a more important virtue for building community is to keep in mind the value of one's neighbour and open one's heart to others before one's own needs, despite being weighed down and weary from work and many problems.” This is according to 17 years old Seongdo, who took part in ‘Project San Jose’.

San Jose Project

KSIY (Korea Supporters For International Youth) organised the 16th visit of this international volunteer movement over the last summer period (25 July - 8 August) in San Jose, 4 hours north of Manila, capital of the Philippines, by car. The main purpose of the project was to build a canteen at DBTC (Don Bosco Training Center) where around 100 boys come to learn trades in agriculture and welding.

On Sunday 25 July 2009, after months of preparation and seeking funds, 39 young men and women (high school or university, from 15 - 26 years of age) and three Salesian leaders (Fr Isidoro Hong, mission delegate for the province, Bro. Bosco Park, promoter of the project, and deacon Felix Wei, assistant) from Korea Province flew off from Incheon airport for 2 weeks of work and life-sharing. There was also a group of doctors with them who offered medical services to people around the Salesian community in Tondo.

For two weeks the young volunteers sweated it out in the task of building the canteen in various stages, laying foundations, digging, setting up steel, pouring cement... None of them had had experience of this kind before, only knowing how to chatter, play with their cellphones or best how to study a bit like the rest of their peers.

Much love shown through a little sharing

It wasn't just the work that was difficult for the volunteers but the climate, food, beds, toilets, being away from family and friends, culture and so on. Everything was different and less convenient for them. But the most difficult was creating community, moving together following the timetable, working together in groups, planning together, discussing and sharing thoughts and contributions. In fact, nothing was easy for them.

The volunteers came together on a monthly basis for the first time last May to get ready for departure, then they met again several times before leaving. They came from various parts of Korea and were of different ages, so they had little in common. Most had grown up in one child families with all their needs met by their parents.

But with all this not-so-easy experience they changed a lot and took on a totally different view of the world, one much broader than before. Their parents especially noticed the difference from when their youngsters first joined the volunteer group. This is one reasons why numbers keep growing. New projects are set up every two years, using summer and winter holiday times for KSIY. And with a bit of publicity around each project hundreds of requests come in from intending candidates, even if each one has to pay his or her own expenses for the trip, accommodation, food and a small tax on the project (10,000 US dollars all up!), so it easily reaches two thousand US dollars a head.

“We really are grateful to our Korean friends who have sacrificed not a little to help us through this Project. Many of them have shown their delight at being able to help others, show the Lord's love. Our boys at DBTC were also able to share an experience with them which they will never forget. I believe this is what Don Bosco wanted, that we enrich one another” said Fr Fernando Urbano, DBTC Rector.

Address: Centro Volontariato Internazionale
Don Bosco Youth Center
Shinkil 6 Dong 4491
Young Deung Po Ku
150-860 Seoul
Tel: (+82) 2.828.3506
Fax: (+82) 2.828.3674
Web site: