Proclamation of ‘Save the World’ Vision—the first step towards saving the earth with love

On a spring day when the leaves turn green, Seoul World Cup Peace Square was filled with beautiful yellow waves. This was a scenery made by the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation members who gathered together to help global villagers with love.

The 20th New Life Family Walkathon was hosted by the WeLoveU with the support of Seoul Metropolitan City, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Sejong Hospital, and Korea Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect on May 6. The walkathon was arranged to help neighbors in difficulties before the International Family Day on May 15. People from all walks of life attended the walkathon, including Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah and the directors of the WeLoveU, Lee Bae-keun the President of Korea Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Lee Woo-gyun the Chairman of UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Korea Committee, and foreign diplomats and their families from sixteen countries.

Pre-event ceremonies began in the presence of 6,000 members at 10:20 a.m. The square was filled with bright laughter with the brisk and cheerful performance by the New Life Children Choir.

In the opening ceremony, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah emphasized that family is the smallest unit in achieving happiness and the “source of providing happy energy to everyone.” She encouraged the participants to deliver the message of hope and love to the global villagers suffering under the tough environment and situations, in this age when it is a norm to regard all the global villagers as one family.

Afterward, ambassadors to Korea from eight countries—Honduras, Iraq, Côte d’Ivoire, Cambodia, El Salvador, Fiji, and Bolivia, gave congratulatory speeches, starting with H.E. Adel Mohammad ADAILEH from Jordan. H.E. Long Dimanche, Cambodian Ambassador to Korea, expressed his gratitude to the WeLoveU for helping people who are in hardships without accessing to basic human rights due to various disasters. H.E. Peniana Lalabalavu, Fijian Ambassador to Korea, said, “Every day, we hear the news of poverty, crying out, and violence. I am sincerely grateful to the WeLoveU for conveying messages of love to the world.” Upon hearing the speech, all the members replied with a loud “We Love U!”

Ban Ki-moon, a former UN Secretary-General, expected that the WeLoveU, as a global NGO, would stand at the forefront of resolving the environmental issues such as fine dust. He said, “The goals of the WeLoveU correspond to the UN SDGs, and the WeLoveU has made much progress in achieving the goals.” Jeff Brez, Representative of UN DGC, too delivered a congratulatory message for the opening of Family Walkathon through a video.

After VIP guests’ congratulatory messages, donation plates were given. Through this walkathon, the WeLoveU donated 311 million won for war refugees, disaster victims, climate refugees, and socially vulnerable groups in 11 countries such as Jordan, Iraq, Mozambique, Laos, Bangladesh, Fiji, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia, Nigeria, and so on, including Gangwondo forest fire refugees, child abuse victims in four homes, and 135 underprivileged or multicultural households in Korea.

After that, the “Save the World” Vision Proclamation was conducted. The WeLoveU made a proclamation on its goals and implementation plans with slogans—“Saving the Earth,” “Saving Lives,” and “Saving Humanity”—in order to show what activities the WeLoveU would do in the future. Then, a large-size ad balloon, where support signatures from the WeLoveU officials and the ambassadors from each country were written, was released into the sky. The participants deeply agreed with the purpose of saving the earth from crisis, and gave a big round of applause to express their determination to make a bright future for everyone on the healthy earth.

With the Chairwoman’s signal to start, the walkathon started. In the midst of the loud and powerful music from the marching band, the members started walking, sharing friendly conversations. Azalea that bloomed in between green trees arrested the eyes of the participants; the participants came back to the square, following a beautiful trail where a stream was flowing.

After having completed the course, the participants experienced a variety of culture at various booths of seven different countries: Fiji, Jordan, Cambodia, and others. In each booth, there were various joyful and beneficial programs introducing well known local products, handicrafts, traditional food and costumes, starting with traditional Korean games experience. In the center of the plaza, there was a panel display that informed of the seriousness of climate disasters and refugee issues around the world, which attracted people’s attention.

H.E. Virgilio Paredes Trapero, Honduran Ambassador to Korea, who participated in the walkathon with his family, said, “The whole world is becoming an interdependent family. Though we have different cultures and languages, we have a common point that we love our families. We are all like one family. I truly give thanks to the WeLoveU for dedicating itself to helping out global villagers.”

Lee Woong-shik (49, from Yeongdengpo, Seoul) expressed his opinion on the walkathon, saying, “Normally, I would be having rest at home by now. But I feel much better today, spending time with my family. It is the best. All the participants are bright with smiles. I feel afresh thanks to them.” Kim Yoo-rah (30, from Paldal, Suwon), who participated in the culture experience with her six-year old daughter, said, “It is my first time to try various foreign foods. I’m so happy that my daughter has learned many new things today, including helping our neighbors. This walkathon will be a good memory for us.”

At the walkathon venue, there was no trace of paper cups, plastic bottles, or wooden chopsticks. The participants brought their own water bottles from home with care for the environment. Majority of them came to the venue, using public transportation; they made a resolution to take the lead in protecting the environment through various small practices such as reducing the usage of disposables.

The world is suffering from environmental pollution and climate change, and people are suffering from various disasters. This day, the participants took a big step towards the goal of saving the earth and mankind.

Family and Neighborly Love, Strengthened Through Diverse Additional Events

“Our promise to the Green Earth,” “Is it convenient for you to use disposables? But I feel ill at ease!”

These were the expressions on the placards made on the theme of “Save the World” by the WeLoveU members who participated in the 20th New Life Family Walkathon; they expressed their wish to cherish the environment. Through additional events such as culture experience and panel display, they took one more step towards caring for global villagers and the earth.

From early in the morning, children visited the event venue, Peace Square; they got face paintings symbolizing the earth and its clean environment on their cheeks. They waited for the paintings to be done in all seriousness. Then, with pride in the paintings, they came out of the booth and visited photo zone, holding their parents’ hands. The photo zone had blue sky and green grass in the background. Many people waited in a long queue to make beautiful memories by taking family photos.

The participants could look around Fiji, Côte d’Ivoire, Jordan, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Laos, and Iraq, starting with Korea, through the culture experience on the theme of “Walk to the World.” In each booth, there were traditional music instruments and costumes prepared by the embassies, which attracted much attention of the participants. They learned about others’ culture and became close.

Lam Pros, Councilor of Cambodian Embassy in Korea, said with delight, “Through the culture experience booths, we could find others’ life patterns and ways of thinking. Using these insights, we can effectively aid countries that are in need of help. Thank you so much for preparing booths introducing traditional Cambodian culture as well.”

Kim Mi-kyeong (45, from Mokdong, Korea) who participated in the culture experience with her two daughters, said, “It helps my children feel that every one of us in the global village is one family without even actually visiting those foreign countries. Not only children but also parents and grandparents are waiting in lines before each booth.” She expressed her gratitude to the WeLoveU for arranging an event that accommodated people of all generations.

In the center of the square, there was a panel display; it showed the difficulties of global villagers, including Gangwondo forest fire victims and child abuse victims in Korea, and war and climate refugees overseas. It showed reasons why we need to help them, making a touching impression in people’s hearts. Lee Bae-keun, President of Korea Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, said, “Child abuse usually starts at home. Group Homes for child abuse victims solve the victim children’s basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter, and serve as a substitute family providing emotional healing.” He expressed his gratitude to the WeLoveU for supporting the Group Home system. Ambassadors from each country carefully viewed the exhibitions, and agreed to cooperate with the WeLoveU for helping our unfortunate neighbors.