For a long time I have wanted to get involved with helping North Korean refugees while I live in Korea. Last year, with the crazy bus schedule I thought it would be impossible, so I never pursued any opportunities to help out.
This year, while browsing meetup.com one day I saw an opportunity to volunteer at Mulmangcho School. It is an alternative school for North Korean refugees and one of the options it to volunteer to teach English on Sundays. In case you were wondering, Mulmangcho means ‘Forget-me-not.’
I thought it would be a good opportunity to go down and try volunteering once to see if I liked it. Coincidentally, another friend happened to be looking at the same meetup as me. We decided to volunteer together.
Mulmangcho is located out in Yeoju (여주) in Gyeonggi province. It is a about a 2 and a half hour journey from Incheon. We met the coordinator at the terminal and off we went to volunteer.
Riding the small school van and looking out the window reminded me of the countryside where I lived last year. Sometimes you forget how much you miss the sight of trees and the slower side of life.
I have to admit that I was under prepared to be a teacher that day. Luckily, I was paired with the coordinator, Rachel, and we taught three students phonics. I learned that the attention span of the students is lower and that it is always good to improvise and roll with the flow. I ended up playing chase for half an hour.
We were served a really delicious lunch, and before being ushered back to bus terminal I was able to see the puppies. I love puppies!
So, one time at Mulmangcho has now turned into three times. I fell in love with scenery, the kids, the puppies, and the school. Sunday is one of my favorite days and I look forward to spending time with like-minded people.
This is the link to the website.
And if you are curious or want to know more, check out this great FAQ post.