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Society News #3: Arirang TV launches campaign for foreign migrant workers


clock03-29-2010, 12:42 AM
Yorum: #1
By Shim Sun-ah



SEOUL, May 19 (Yonhap) -- Arirang TV, a domestic English-language cable channel, launched a "Host Family" campaign to arrange friendships between foreign migrant workers and South Koreans, the company said Thursday.



Each South Korean volunteer will come to have one friend based on a list of foreign migrant workers from the Migrant Workers' Center in Korea, a Seoul-based nongovernmental organization working to support them, it said.



The campaign is aimed to better South Korea's image in other countries and promote unity between South Koreans and the workers, Koo Samuel, the president of Arirang, said during a news briefing.



There are an estimated 450,000 foreign migrant workers in South Korea, including illegal immigrants. Most come from Southeast Asian countries where the income level is low, and play an important role in filling what are called "3D jobs" (dirty, difficult and dangerous) in South Korea.



However, numerous reports of mistreatment involving these workers, including fraud and abuse, have tainted the country's image.



"It will result in a 'win-win' situation in which the younger generation of South Koreans learn from the culture of the foreign migrant workers, who in return, will contribute to spreading 'Hallyu' to their hometown," Koo said.



Hallyu ("Korean wave") refers to the recent popularity of South Korean pop culture in neighboring Asian countries, such as the TV soap opera "Winter Sonata," which stars Bae Yong-joon.



"If we render warm care for foreign workers as a 'host family,' they will return home with a good image of this country," he added.



Arirang TV said it has already collected more than 100 Korean volunteers who want to become a friend of a foreign worker through a preparatory in-house campaign.



The number of volunteers will increase, as about 60 big-name politicians, CEOs, TV celebrities and artists pledged to join the campaign, it said.



South Koreans and foreign workers who become friends through the campaign will be encouraged to meet at least two to three times a year, visit each other's workplace and exchange e-mails and phone calls, Koo said.



"One example could be inviting foreigners to a dinner with your family at home during Korea's traditional holidays, because foreigners say they feel more loneliness on holidays," said Doh Young-shim, the ambassador for tourism and sports who also attended the news briefing. "The most important thing is to help foreign workers feel comfort and stability through the relationship."

Lee Young-kyung, president of KT Corp., and S.M. Harun, a 36-year-old Bangladesh national, are the campaign's first friends.



"I still keep in contact with a host family that I met while studying in California in 1969, although the American couple is now close to 90 years old," Lee said. "I think this relationship (with Harun) is greatly meaningful as person-to-person networking."

Harun, who works at a secondhand goods store in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, said he appreciates the campaign organizers for caring about foreign workers.



After almost two years in South Korea, Harun said he misses his parents very much.



"I would like to treat my host family like my parents," he said.



Arirang TV plans to arrange the first gathering of Koreans and migrant workers on Sunday at an indoor stadium in western Seoul.



More than 800 foreign workers will take part in the event and meet their Korean friends, the company said.



[email protected]

(END)
clock07-07-2012, 05:11 PM
Yorum: #2
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