중앙데일리

Robbery tests dedication of Canadian expat

Mar 05,2007
Craig Kulyk
As American dramatist Clare Booth Luce once said, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Craig Kulyk can vouch for that. Having been moved by the plight of Cambodian orphans on a recent trip to Southeast Asia, the Canadian traveler decided to use some musical connections he had in Korea to hold a fundraising concert during a trip to Seoul for a friend’s wedding. The event, held last month at Mike’s Cabin in Sinchon, raised over a million won ($1,000), an amount that can go a long way in an impoverished nation like Cambodia.

Rainbow Foundation seeks to improve the lives of children in Cambodia.
However, while in Ulsan at the wedding, the friend’s house where he was staying in Haebangchon (a mostly foreigner neighborhood near Itaewon) was broken into. As Mr. Kulyk had been preparing to go back to Cambodia, most of his personal belongings were in the apartment. All of the proceeds from the fundraiser were stolen, along with his passport, birth certificate, driver’s license and personal savings. Unable to leave Seoul, Mr. Kulyk seemed less concerned about his own fate than that of the orphanage.
“What’s most unfortunate is that Rainbow House felt the biggest blow,” he said.
Rainbow House is a small, non-profit orphanage in the southern Cambodian beach town of Sihanoukville that relies entirely on donations to survive. It was founded last year by Leanne Carney, who used to teach English in Korea.
“I really wanted to get involved in a project that helped some of the countless poor in Cambodia, and I stumbled upon Rainbow House. I helped out by spending time with the kids at the beach on Sundays and teaching them English three times a week,” said Mr. Kulyk. “Despite their situation, the kids have so much potential.”
The orphanage is in a big, bright home, refurbished by volunteers, with a classroom, six bedrooms and a garden. There are currently nine children living there, with room for a few more.
With so many attending the benefit concert, Mr. Kulyk suspected that the thief may have been someone he knew, or at least someone who knew him. He had two acquaintances who lived nearby who have also recently had large amounts of cash taken from their homes. He mentioned this apparent localized crime wave to the police when he filed his report.
“An officer told me that this kind of robbery happens about 20 times a month in the Itaewon and Haebangchon area. People really need to start locking up their places.”

children who benefit from the program. Provided by Rainbow Foundation
As is always the case in such circumstances, suspicion was cast on all concerned, including Mr. Kulyk himself. “I understand that given the situation, some may suspect me of wrongdoing. However, anybody who knows me would confirm that I am a genuine, honest person who is trying to help children that I feel are deserving of my time and energy,” he said.
And so, despite initial misgivings and a fair share of adversity, Mr. Kulyk is now organizing another fundraiser.
“Clearly if I were dishonest I wouldn’t be trying to do this again. After the robbery, I felt personally responsible and didn’t want to do another event for the same cause. But it’s simply unfair to the orphanage for me to not pull through on a promise that I made,” he said.
The next event will again be held at Mike’s Cabin in Sinchon, on March 24, featuring performances by local bands such as Bexcant and Grooble. Cover will be 5,000 won.
“Every ship [10] won from the door and the raffle will go to Rainbow House,” said Mr. Kulyk, adding that any raffle prize or additional financial donations would be greatly appreciated. Donations can also be made directly at www.cambodian-orphans.com. Mr. Kulyk can be contacted at craig_korea@yahoo.com.



By Richard Scott-Ashe Contributing Writer [richard@joongang.co.kr]



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