Support for 1,500 Households and 39 International Students in Korea, and an Event for Global Family to Have Happy Chuseok

“May things be always like they are on Chuseok.”

Chuseok, which is celebrated in autumn, the season of harvest, is the biggest Korean holiday, when families and friends gather together to share joy. Behind the joyful and abundant holiday is the invisible efforts of mothers who work for the happiness of their families. Before the Chuseok holiday, the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation shared a mother’s love this year, too, so that no one would be left out.

From September 11 to 14, WeLoveU members conducted the “Happy Chuseok Together With Neighbors 2023” project; through local governments across the country, they donated grocery gifts to 1,500 households, including senior citizens living alone, single-parent families, grandparent families, multicultural families, and disabled families. Additionally, they delivered living stability subsidies to 39 international students in cooperation with foreign embassies in Korea. On the 11th, the first day of the period, they held the “Happy Chuseok Together With Our Global Family 2023,” as part of the project. They shared holiday food and gifts, experiencing traditional games, which gave strength to domestic neighbors in need and global neighbors who live in Korea.

The event was held at the ERICA Convention Center, Hanyang University in Ansan, Korea, being attended by about 400 people: WeLoveU members, including Honorary Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah and Head Director Lee Kang-min, international students, workers, and multicultural families from 24 countries such as Nepal, Mongolia, China, Ghana, Kenya, Ecuador, and Peru, as well as Ansan citizens. Officials from the embassies of Laos, Cambodia, and the Philippines, Ansan City Council, and Ansan Cultural Center also participated in the event.

Honorary Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah warmly welcomed them and said, “We’re holding this event to comfort and encourage you, on behalf of your families in your home countries during the holiday.” She comforted them who must have suffered hardships and loneliness until then. Chairwoman Zahng also wished for the happiness and health of the participants, saying, “I hope you will have a happy time, sharing love and generosity with each other, regardless of nationality, just like families and friends.”

Ansan City Councilor Han Gap-su said, “WeLoveU has done what the city had to perform. I’m deeply grateful to WeLoveU members for giving hope and courage to every corner of the world through volunteer services.” Regarding the event, Alounkone Boulommavong, Counselor of the Laos Embassy in Korea, said, “I’m very impressed with this special event for international students from many countries, including Laos.” He gave thanks to WeLoveU members and all Korean participants for welcoming all the foreign guests whom they met for the first time, saying, “The students from Laos are doing well, thanks to kind and warmhearted Koreans.”

After the welcome ceremony, a luncheon and side events were held. Global villagers of various nationalities enjoyed Korean dishes such as japchae, galbitang, and chewy rice cakes, and experienced Korean culture while wearing hanbok, playing jegi-kicking, and playing a yeot seller. International students studying in difficult circumstances in Korea, immigrant women making efforts to adjust to unfamiliar food and culture after marriage, and domestic neighbors and foreign workers who had endured the hardships of life with love for their families, all gathered together and had a happy time. The event was just like a big family gathering on a national holiday.

A Japanese woman who had lived in Korea for five years said, “There are not many national holidays in Japan where family gathers together. I love Korean culture where families gather together and share food.” A Cambodian housewife said, “Although I’ve lived in Korea for more than 18 years, I still miss my family in my home country so much every national holiday. Today, I’m happy and excited as if my whole family got together on a national holiday.”

At the hanbok experience corner, Honorary Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah helped foreign participants tie strips of the upper garment and adjust their clothes. A Bangladeshi worker who tried on a hanbok for the first time, said, “Chairwoman’s care reminded me of my mother who is in my home country. Through today’s event, I got to know Korea better.” A graduate student who came three years ago from Peru, the other side of Korea, said, “From the subway station that is led to this event, I felt a warm welcome from the members who gave directions. While studying in Korea, it’s been difficult for me to make Korean friends, but I’m so happy today.” He hoped to constantly participate in WeLoveU’s volunteer activities for global villagers.

Receiving love as well as the holiday gifts, the event participants encouraged one another for their bright future just like families and friends as Chairwoman Zahng wished.