[EDITORIALS]‘We Start’ needs your helpThe “We Start” fund-raising campaign goes into full swing. “We Start” aims at providing comprehensive welfare, education and health care to children in poverty. It is a social campaign jointly promoted by 50 private organizations, including the JoongAng Ilbo, Community Chest of Korea and Korea Welfare Foundation. And its aim is ending poverty’s hand-down from generation to generation. For success, it is essential that those who can afford to financially participate in it.
Unlike the outward affluence of being the world’s 12th largest trading country, some 10 percent of Korean people suffer from poverty. People in absolute poverty who fail to meet minimum living costs amount to 1.35 million, and those who have difficulties in managing daily life because of unemployment and large debts is over 3 million. It is estimated that around 1 million among them are children and they can hardly find their daily meals. Naturally, they cannot receive proper education, nor can they get medical treatment even if they get sick. As poverty leaves various bad effects on them, they cannot lead a normal life after they become grown-ups and the expenses the society should pay in the end grow bigger. Therefore, it is the duty of the society and the nation in modern times that, by providing help to children in poverty, they let them have the opportunity to receive social benefits enjoyed by children of ordinary families.
Social campaigns to help children in poverty are active in advanced countries. Most representative are: “Sure Start” of the United Kingdom, “Head Start” of the United States and “Fair Start” of Canada. Mostly, they are part of government welfare policy. The Korean government, however, is involved only in helping children in hunger and helping children who have to support family members.
The “We Start” campaign is unfolded in various forms: building a village where multiple services, including education and health, are provided to children; creating a house of hope; providing places to start education; providing places for health care; and, finding guardians for them. We hope people will participate in this campaign by donating 1004 won ($ 0.86) a month, by dialing ARS donation numbers and by sending donations to the fund.