We Are One Family in Love

The Intl. WeLoveU Foundation (hereinafter referred to as the WeLoveU), which has been caring for people around the world with the heart of a mother, held the event to look after multicultural families living nearby in the New Year. On January 18, the WeLoveU held the event, “2023 Happy New Year’s Day With Multicultural Families.” It is to share love with multicultural families, who must long for their hometown around the holiday season, and to comfort them who are experiencing many difficulties while living in a foreign country.

About 350 people attended the event at the WeLoveU’s Pangyo Chapter in Seongnam, Korea, including Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah, board members, WeLoveU volunteers, multicultural families from 19 countries, and 158 foreigners living in Korea. Since the event was held onsite for the first time in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the participants were even more excited and happy.

At 11 a.m., the first part of the event began with the welcoming ceremony. As the host introduced the countries where the participants came from, such as Mongolia, Vietnam, the Philippines, the United States, and Uzbekistan, the hall was filled with a round of applause. Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah said, “My heart feels warm and happy to be able to hold this New Year’s Day event,” and comforted the multicultural families living in an unfamiliar country. “I wish you to forget the moments of loneliness and pain today, and have a great time as if you are in your home countries. Let’s get rid of prejudice and have a beautiful love for humanity.”

Afterwards, the WeLoveU’s holiday gifts were presented. Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah held the hands of the multicultural families and delivered a gift set packed wity winter blankets, groceries, and heating bills. They came to Korea for different reasons and stories such as marriage, work, and refuge, and went through unimaginable difficulties. Thus, they were moved by her sincere encouragement.

The second and third parts of the event consisted of a banquet and a traditional Korean culture experience. The WeLoveU members prepared various holiday dishes for multicultural families, such as rice cake soup, japchae, bulgogi, and sanjeok. Through the banquet, the multicultural families experienced the generosity of Korean spirit during the holidays. They also played traditional Korean games such as yut-nori, jegi-chagi, and tuho, and had a good time by learning how to make Dalgona (Korean candy made with melted sugar and baking soda). Laughter and cheers were heard everywhere, and the event was full of excitement for the holidays.

The hanbok experience booth was very popular. Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah visited the booth to help multicultural families dress in hanbok, and she explained about jeogori and magoja. Nizamul Haque Sheikh, who works at the Embassy of Bangladesh in Korea, said, “I’ve been in Korea for 16 years, but it’s my first time trying on a hanbok. I feel like I became Korean since I am wearing a hanbok. It feels good and comfortable.” The multicultural families wore colorful hanbok, smiled brightly, and took photos together. It made everyone realize that we are one family although everybody has different appearances and figures.

During the event, the multicultural families laughed and shed tears, being comforted and loved, and were also strengthened by sharing their hardships and sympathizing each other. Natalia, who came to Korea from Ukraine, said, “There are many foreigners here, and I’m comforted by meeting people in similar circumstances. I’m still worried about the rest of my family back home, but I hope everyone can cheer up with positive thoughts. I hope that not only people in Ukraine but also everybody suffering hardship in the world will stand firm in the New Year.”

Ariona from Mongolia said, “When I first came to Korea, I had a hard time because of people’s prejudice against foreigners and cultural differences. I think today’s event will help foreigners adjust to Korea. I hope there will be more events like this in the future.” Brittany Mercedes Mccrae, United States Forces Korea, expressed how moved she was and said, “I received so much care and love through this event, and gained strength to live the whole year.”

The WeLoveU members cheered for the multicultural families’ new year with one mind. The WeLoveU Director Kwon Hyeok-jin said, “This event shows that there is still love and warmth in society, and we are happy to be here together. Everything seems tough these days, but I wish you all a healthy and happy new year.” A member named Moon Hyeong-seo (Goyang), a volunteer, said, “Since I used to live in a foreign county for seven years, I understand the difficulties of multicultural families. I hope that they will remember today’s good memories for a long time and obtain courage to overcome all difficulties ”