2018 International Women Cross DMZ: No Women, No Peace!

Around forty international women peacemakers from around the world walked with thousands of Korean people to urge for the successful NK-USA summit, call for the signing of the peace treaty between North and South Korea, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and women’s leadership in the peace process. As one of the main core organization of the planning and executing this event since 2015, the National YWCA of Korea played an essential role in spreading the significance of the peace in Korean Peninsula and to gather as many participants as possible to join the event.  Every year the event is held on the fourth week of May to celebrate the International Women’s Day for Peace and Disarmament. During the week, 2018 Seoul International Women’s Peace Symposium was held at the National Assembly building which was hosted by the Women Peace Walk, WomenCrossDMZ, Nobel Women’s Initiative and sponsored by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family of Korea.

Members of all ages from National YWCA of Korea has been part of this Peace movement since 2015 and have walked the DMZ yearning for the peace and restoration of the Korean Peninsula.

            

Young Women of Korea YWCA connects with the YWCA sisters around the World!

For the empowerment and well-being of mind and body of their staffs/activists, the National YWCA of Korea (Korea YWCA) sponsored the global employee training program for all of their staff every 4 years under their employee welfare policy.  This year, 27 staffs from Korea YWCA voluntarily sent to the Asia (Taiwan, Japan, Mongolia) region and the Europe region (Switzerland, Poland- Georgia-Armenia) in 5 groups.  Korea YWCA does a special fundraising every year to support the global employee training program for it is considered as one of the top priorities of employee welfare.

YWCA of Poland

On June 15th , young women staffs from the National YWCA of Korea(Korea YWCA) visited the YWCA of Poland(Polska YWCA) in Warsaw Poland to strengthen the global network in sisterhood, to learn about the Polska YWCA movements.

Alina Kozińska, the Senior Vice President of Poslka YWCA, explained the history and the current issue of the democratic movement in Poland as well as the history of Polska YWCA.  Helena Tala, the General Secretary, has also introduced the Polska YWCA’s global partnership project for the youth movement and shared her vision she has for the Polska YWCA.

Also inviting Marcin Harembski, an activist from the Civil Nuclear Monitor ‘Wspólna Ziemia’ of Poland, Korea YWCA and Polska YWCA also held a small round table discussion on the issue of anti-nuclear energy movement and the seriousness and dangers of the development of the nuclear power plants in both countries. The Program Officer in charge of the anti-nuclear energy movement of Korea YWCA has shared the achievement, challenges and the weekly anti-nuke street campaign where Korea YWCA invites citizens’ participation since 2014.

 

YWCA of Armenia

Moving on from Poland, the young women from YWCA Korea made a visit to the National YWCA of Armenia on June 21st. Armenia YWCA is located in the town called Noyemberyan near the border between Georgia and Armenia.

Aida Zurabyan, the President of Armenia YWCA and Zhenni Matshkaly , Board member warmly welcomed and greeted the team from YWCA Korea. The President Adia Zurabyan briefed the history and the establishment of Armenia YWCA.

Armenia YWCA originally began as a women’s organization and child education center in 2002 when there were no existing facilities in Noyemberyan region after the terrible earthquake occurred in the late 1990’s in Noyemberyan.  Since then, Armenia YWCA has been working to fulfill the needs of the women in the region and began their main work in field of children’s education and empowerment of the youths. Armenia YWCA currently runs one of the biggest children’s school and daycare program according to the needs of their members in the community. Also they provide health care facilities for women and offer vocational training courses, such as hand craft classes, as part of women’s economic empowerment movement.

     

During the luncheon, more than 20 board members and members of Armenia YWCA from all over the region joined Korea YWCA.  During the luncheon meeting, they have discussed the importance and the possibilities of cooperation between the two YWCAs and continued the discussion on the movements of Korea YWCA, especially on the work relating to the peace and reunification issue between South and North Korea.

As young women staffs from the Asia region, our first visit to YWCAs in the European regions was such a fascinating moments where we could envision and confirm our dreams together under the vision of the World YWCA.  Also by meeting the YWCA sisters in person, receiving such a warm welcoming wherever we go and listening to their stories, I believe that it has definitely strengthened our solidarity of our sisterhood and our global YWCA movements.