Community unites to raise funds for int’l school

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Community unites to raise funds for int’l school

On Tuesday evening, a small chapel located on the second floor of Chongkyo Methodist Church in Doryeom-dong, central Seoul, was crowded with diplomats and lawmakers.

The diverse group of people was there for a fund-raising event jointly hosted by the missionary society at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the International Unity Network to raise funds to build an international school in Pocheon, Gyeonggi, for students of multi-ethnic families.

Dozens of diplomats stopped by the chapel after work, including: Han Choong-hee, director general at the Foreign Ministry’s cultural affairs bureau; Lee Baek-soon, director general at the ministry’s North American affairs bureau; and Han Dong-man, director general at the ministry’s international economic affairs bureau.

There were also former diplomats as well, including Choo Kyu-ho, former ambassador from Korea to Britain.

The event was held with the initial purpose of building a small school for students with multi-ethnic backgrounds that are attending an international school in Pocheon, Gyeonggi.

Currently, there are 16 students from China, Japan, Vietnam, Mongolia and Cambodia attending the so-called alternative school.

Over the past several years, students had to take classes in a small, rented building that costs 1 million won ($917) per month.

Understanding the difficult environment the students are in, Shin Sang-rok, head of the International Unity Network, donated 400 pyong (1,581 square yards) of land to build a two-floor school building.

The fund-raising event on Tuesday was intended to generate 500 million won to cover construction fees.

Diplomats that attended the event signed a pledge to donate part of their monthly salary to build the school for multi-ethnic students.

Lawmakers were also present, including Representative Jasmine Lee of the ruling Saenuri Party, a Philippine-born Korean citizen, and Representative Kim Young-woo of the ruling party, whose local electorate is Pocheon and Yeoncheon in Gyeonggi.

“A country is truly developed when it knows how to tolerate different cultures,” said Representative Kim.

By Chang Se-jeong, Lee Eun-joo []
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