Full of dream, full of love, and full of happiness

“Wow, new shoes! I want to go out and play soccer. I want to be a soccer player when I grow up.”
“I want to paint a lot with these pastel crayons and become an artist like Picaso.”

The classroom was soon filled with children’s excited voices and bright laughter. The IWF members delivered 280 sneakers and 250 pastel crayons to the students of four schools located in a remote mountain village in Gangwon Province together with love that was like the spring sunshine.

On March 31, 2008, the IWF members drove winding mountain roads, pushing through the freezing rain, to get to Hwajeon and Midong Elementary Schools in Taeback city, and Gurae and Okdong Elementary Schools in Yeongwol county. The eyes of the children twinkled over the gifts piled up in the classroom. As the IWF members put the sneakers on the children, they said shyly, “Thank you.” They were very excited with the new shoes; some compared their shoes with each other and boasted of their own at the back of the classroom, even holding their new pastel crayons; some smiled brightly as if they were ready to draw any picture on the sketchbook.

Gibeom (11) who is in the 4th grade of Hwajeon Elementary School solidly said to the IWF members who encouraged him, “I will study hard and become a good judge.” Teacher Eom Yeong-gyeong appreciated the members, saying, “You are the first ones who visited us and delivered gifts to the children directly. I’m happy to see the children delighted.”

In Yeongwol county, there were many children who were brought up by their grandparents and needed parental concern and love; especially the children of the Okdong Elementary School, which is located in the closed mining village, more suffered from financial difficulties than the children in other regions. The members wholeheartedly put the sneakers on the children, and had a happy time with them. The members hoped the children living in clear nature would never forget their dream despite their poor surroundings and grow healthy mentally and physically.

Minji (9), who is in the 2nd grade of Gurae Elementary School, ran to the members with joy, receiving the gift, and said, “My feet were in pain with my old shoes, but now they’re ok. I like these shoes so much. From now on, I’ll run comfortably with this on. Thank you.” The members were all happy with her remarks. Principal of Gurae Elementary School showed his appreciation by saying, “Not only the children but also their parents and grandparents will be happy at home for the gifts. This region is in the remote countryside, so most of the children are in financially difficult situation. I will educate them to grow up right and repay the love they received.”

The faces of the children, who returned home with the sneakers and pastel crayons, bloomed with smiles. Even though the snow had not melted yet in the mountain village in Gangwon Province, spring had come to the hearts of the IWF members and the children.