“We Deliver the Light of Hope and Love”

On May 4, with warm spring sunlight, a meaningful and pleasant event was held at Dongjin Wedding Hall in Yeoju County, Gyeonggi Province. Hosted by the Yeoju County Branch of Korea Blind Union and supported by the New Life Welfare Foundation, “The 4th Festival to Share Love With the Blind in Yeoju County” was crowded with 400 blind people and their guides from 31 regions of Gyeonggi Province.

Even before the festival began, around 70 volunteers from the New Life Welfare Foundation, who were in charge of the whole progress of the festival, were doing various volunteer activities here and there. The volunteers welcomed the blind who were arriving one by one, and carefully escorted them to the festival place. Sitting next to the blind, they explained about the surroundings and helped them feel comfortable by escorting them to the restroom and so on.

Kim Jin-shin, the Yeoju Branch Manager of Korea Blind Union which hosted the festival, mentioned the purpose of the festival, saying, “In reality, the blind usually stay at home because they can’t go any place without someone’s help. I wish them to enjoy this festival and be able to participate in society more actively.”

In the opening ceremony presided by the foundation member Hwang Myeong-nam, many guests attended: New Life Welfare Foundation Chief Director Lee Gang-min, Grand National Party Lawmaker Lee Gyu-taek, Korea Blind Union in Gyeonggi Province Branch Chairman Choi Jae-geun, Yeoju County Council Head Yun Seung-jin, Social Welfare Manager of Yeoju County Jeong Pil-yeong and so on. Gyeonggi Province Branch Chairman Choi Jae-geun offered the plaque of gratitude to the New Life Welfare Foundation for its dedication to the enhancement of the welfare for the blind.

Gyeonggi Province Branch Chairman Choi Jae-geun emphasized the necessity of the errand center to help the mobility of the blind. He also thanked the volunteers from the foundation, “I appreciate the New Life Welfare Foundation’s concern and support on this festival, whose purpose is to improve the social perception towards the blind and promote their welfare.”

After the opening ceremony, the volunteers were busy serving food that they had prepared wholeheartedly such as fruits, various kinds of rice cake, Buchimgae (which is Korean pan cake with some vegetables and sea food), and hot meals. The blind people who weren’t accompanied with their guides were helped by the volunteers and enjoyed lunch. One blind woman, Yu Sun-gab (69, second degree of sight disability) said, “It’s my first outing in a year. I’ve felt stuffy, staying at home day and night all the year. I’m very moved since these young people are doing good things for me.” She held the hand of a member beside her and delightedly repeated “Very good.”

After lunch, a song festival started. All the blind had a great time, singing songs which they had practiced until then. Throughout the festival, the volunteers were with them, massaging and talking with them; that day, they served as eyes to them, bringing beverages and tissues to them.

The festival finished around 5 p.m. At the closing speech, Yeoju County Manager of Korea Blind Union repeatedly thanked the foundation and its volunteers, wishing all the participants to be as happy as today all the time.

The members cleaned up the place after the festival. A member Song In-seon (33) from Incheon city said, “I was worried how to serve them because I was not familiar with them. While getting along with them and laughing together, I didn’t experience any difficulty and rather we communicated more sincerely heart to heart. I will serve them better next time.”

The blind say that what they want to do the most is to travel. We hope that the blind neighbors, who had to be trapped in closed places for their sight problems, can break the wall of disability and see the wide world with the light of love and hope.