To Help Underprivileged or Multicultural Families in Koreaand 20 Other Countries with Educational Goods, Facilities and ProgramsGive hopes to the seven billion people with a smile and a loving heart

497,950 km, which is the distance of circling the earth for around twelve and a half times, is the total distance that the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation has walked so far through the New Life Family Walkathon from its 1st event to its 18th event.

On a spring day when new lives started to sprout, the WeLoveU once again took on steps of love and share for the 7 billion global families. On April 15, 2018, the “19th New Life Family Walkathon,” which is hosted by the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation and sponsored by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Sejong Hospital, and Korea Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, was held at the Peace Square of Seoul World Cup Park. This walkathon was designed to help the neighbors in need and to root for the future of children and youths in over 20 countries overseas.

Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah of the WeLoveU Foundation, Chief Director Lee Kang-min of the WeLoveU, other executives, Yi Bae-keun the President of the Korea Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, and people from all walks of life came and participated in the event. Also, the ambassadors of Jordan and Spain, an acting ambassador of Bolivia, embassy officials from 18 countries and their family members participated in the sharing of love, regardless of their national boundaries.

On the day of the walkathon, the Peace Square was crowded with members and citizens participating in the event from the early morning. Around 13,000 participants with blue T-shirts filled the square with blue waves. At around 10 a.m., the walkathon started with a powerful performance by the marching band. After the rhythmical and powerful performance of the marching band, the cheerful dance routine of the New Life Children’s Choir made the members’ eyes and ears pleased.

At the opening ceremony of the first part of the event, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah expressed her impression about having the 19th walkathon, saying, “It’s already been over two decades since we started the walkathon.” Also, she hoped that this walkathon would be a meaningful step to give hope and courage to the neighbors in difficulties by saying, “When we all walk together, we are accompanied by comfort, and we get strength by holding each other’s hands firmly. Today, our hands will give help to others so that they can get up on their feet with courage and hope, and our feet will accompany our neighbors, with a bright hope.”

Yi Bae-keun the President of the Korea Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect said, “In 2002 when the Korean soccer team fulfilled the fantasy of reaching the semi-finals in the World Cup, the WeLoveU’s walkathon was held on Mt. Namsan for the first time in its history, and since that the walkathon has been continued until now and that a total of 205,000 people have participated in the event so far. Furthermore, he hoped that the world would be filled with the light of the love of WeLoveU, saying, “I believe that your pure love will become an undying fire as the year goes by and will shine every corner of the globe.”

Adel Mohammad Adaileh, Jordanian Ambassador to Korea delivered a congratulatory address lastly; “Ending poverty in all forms, and ensuring inclusive and equitable quality of education are the two main goals of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Through our participation in this walkathon, we are all working together, hand-in-hand, toward a sustainable development in the world, where no child will be left behind, uneducated, and in despair.” And he expressed gratitude to the WeLoveU for helping global villagers through worldwide activities, saying, “I believe each and every step we take through the walkathon will create a better world and hand it to the next generation.” At the conclusion of the address, the Ambassador shouted “We love you” with a big gesture, and the members responded with enthusiastic applause and cheering.

After the congratulatory speech, donation plates were posted on the stage. Through this walkathon, the WeLoveU will provide medical and living expenses to domestic 115 households and multicultural families in Korea, and donate a total of 215 million won (approx. 193,600 USD) for educational facilities, goods and activities in 20 countries including Honduras, India, Pakistan, Laos, Mongolia and Nepal. While taking a commemorative photograph, all the participants including the VIPs shouted out “We love you” together, conveying the message of love and hope toward their neighbors.

After the ribbon cutting and the announcement, “start,” by Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah, the walkathon began in earnest as a second part of the event. The walking course was 1.68 km in total, which starts from the Peace Square and comes back to the starting point through the Nanji Pond and the Peace Park walkway. The members began to take a light step, listening to the lively performances of the marching band and walked the way full of spring flowers such as cherry blossoms, azaleas, and lilacs with their family. The members’ laughter was in full bloom throughout the park.

Kim Ae-ji (from Seo-gu in Incheon), an office worker who participated in the walkathon a second time with her family said, “Walking along the course, I looked around here and there. Then I saw the participants were all smiles. I like it very much.” Kim Mun-seok (from Bucheon) who came with his two sons in junior high and elementary schools said, “While walking, I could feel how precious life and nature are, and I was truly happy to come with my family. In the harsh world where individualism prevails, I could let my children experience how joyful it is to help our neighbors in need and to live all together.”

The members who finally returned to the starting point took celebratory photos with colorful balloons in their hands. The members shouted the slogan in unison, “Let’s deliver love to seven billion people with a smile and a loving heart and the walkathon finished with great success.

Afterwards, the members moved to face painting booths and family photo zone, making their precious memories. They also heard explanations from college student volunteers at the panel exhibition on the WeLoveU activities and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs].

The UN’s SDGs are the agenda adopted by 193 countries at the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, which are the largest common goals of the world and the UN to solve universal problems of humanity, global environmental problems, and economic and social problems. The SDGs include 17 main goals such as no poverty, good health, and well-being, and partnerships, and 169 detailed targets. The WeLoveU’s activities to practice Mother’s Love for happiness of all seven billion people have something in common with the UN’s SDGs. Through this event, the WeLoveU supported educational activities and goods for 20 overseas countries, which is connected with the UN SDGs’ fourth goal of “quality education.” A housewife Ham Hyang-hoon (from Gangdong-gu in Seoul) said, “Korea has a good educational environment, but there are many countries which have not. As aparent, I am very proud to help improve their educational conditions through today’s event.”

Diplomatic groups in Korea, who participated in the event, also showed their great interest in the panel exhibition. Bolivian Ambassador Luis Pablo Ossio Bustillos showed his desire to work with the WeLoveU for educational support in Bolivia, saying, “The most important thing for a developing country with poor resource is the development of human resources through education.”

The guests and participants expressed their support by signing on the proposal or attaching stickers on the world map which symbolizes UN’s SDGs. It is expected that the WeLoveU’s various activities for seven billion people will bring great synergistic effects, meeting the global efforts.

The members gathered here and there around the park and spent happy time with their family. On a spring sunny day, they all had a meaningful time to confirm that a small devotion to bring hope to seven billion people will bring about a big change in the global village.