Host program designed to help migrant laborersArirang TV, in conjunction with the Migrant Workers Center in Korea is holding an event called the “Host-Family Campaign” whereby foreign migrant workers are paired with Korean families in order to help them adjust better to life in Korea.
Once the migrant worker is matched with a family, the hosts can invite the worker to their home or provide regular financial contributions. There are no set rules for sponsorship, and it is at the discretion of the sponsor what kind of support to give to a worker.
“This is an effort to allow migrant workers who have recently arrived in Korea have a smoother transition,” said Song Chang-wook, the Arirang TV official in charge of the campaign. “This campaign is also a way to better enhance our national image.”
After a host signs a contract pledging support for a migrant worker, they can visit that person’s workplace or invite the worker over for holidays.
Among those who have offered to become host families are Lee Young-kyung, chief executive officer of Korea Telecom; Euh Yoon-dae, president of Korea University; Hwang Woo-suk, a stem cell expert and professor at Seoul National University; National Assembly Representatives Nam Kyong-phil of the Grand National Party and Lee Mi-kyung of the Uri Party; and the theater actress Shon Suk. So far, about 200 host families have signed up, according to Arirang TV.
“We are trying to make this into a social movement,” Mr. Song said. “First, we are trying to get influential leaders in society to participate as host families, and then we’re hoping that ordinary folks will join in.”
Currently, there are about 400,000 migrant workers living in Korea. In the past, the ill treatment of migrant workers has caused many to protest against Korean companies and society. This campaign will match up Koreans with migrant workers who are affiliated with the Migrant Workers Center under the Labor Ministry.
Tomorrow, Arirang TV and the Korea Federation of Small and Middle Businesses will hold a “Coming Together Festival” for migrant workers at KBS’s 88 Gymnasium in eastern Seoul from 10:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. The picnic lunch is a meeting between migrant workers and society leaders to promote greater interaction and exchange.
According to the Migrant Workers’ Center in Korea, about 1,000 migrant workers and 40 renowned dignitaries are expected to attend. For more information, call (02) 3475-5003~4.
by Choi Jie-ho
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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