Shinhan unlocks a world of opportunitiesWhen it comes to her future career, Kim Young-joo, a 21-year-old college student with a severe visual impairment, has always felt limited.
Kim’s parents and teachers have tried to nudge her into applying for a role as a public servant due to the job security and a government quota that guarantees a certain number of jobs for people with impairments.
But Kim, who is interested in music and broadcasting, has bigger aspirations. She wants to find out how other people with impairments from around the world find their best career through a program called Global Challenges of Youth with Disabilities.
Shinhan Financial Group launched this year’s edition of the overseas program for people with impairments on Thursday, bringing together participants from different countries around the world.
The annual program allows participants to explore different topics related to disabilities and visit overseas sites or institutions with advanced systems for impaired people.
Shinhan has spent 4.8 billion won ($4.1 million) on the program so far, according to a source at the group.
Marking the 15th anniversary, this year’s edition will bring together 66 people between ages 18 and 34 from Korea and other countries such as India, Indonesia, Georgia and Vietnam.
Chairman Cho Yong-byoung attended a launch event held Thursday at the Federation of Korean Industries Hall in Yeouido, western Seoul.
“I was impressed by the ideas that combine the notion of the fourth industrial revolution with disabilities and internet technology,” Cho said. “I hope that each team finds their own way of resolving the issue in selected countries.”
Participants are divided into six teams depending on the topics ranging from studying how people with impairments live in their host country to vocational programs and looking into technological advances of assistive devices.
Kim’s team - dubbed Ganaljigi - will fly to New York to look into the recruiting environment for people with impairments.
“While people with disabilities are often discouraged from exploring different job opportunities, I heard that the United States has a more supportive system and culture,” Kim said.
“Among the different cities, we chose New York because it is known for respecting diversity.”
Her team, made up of students at Konkuk University, will travel to meet people from the New York State Commission for the Blind and the U.S. National Federation of the Blind.
Another group named Barrier Free plans to visit Australia to delve into the country’s development of assistive technology. They will attend a conference called i-CREATe held in Canberra. The conference lets students from around the world demonstrate different assistive technologies for the elderly and people with impairments.
“We will showcase one of our devices there,” said Lee jin-woo, a 22-year-old student with a visual impairment and a member of the team. “Australia is known for having a high level of disability technology and welfare system. So we’d like to learn from the advanced systems.”
Meitia Ekatina, a 28-year-old from Indonesia, belongs to a team consisting of non-Korean members.
Ekatina, whose left leg has been amputated, and her team will study Korea’s support programs and transportation systems for people with impairments.
“We’ve visited different institutions and I was impressed by the vocational programs at Korea Employment Agency for the Disabled and how inclusive their support is,” she said.
BY PARK EUN-JEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]