On August 9th 2017, the National YWCA of Korea (hereafter YWCA Korea) sent 2 tons of powdered milk to North Korea for the infants and underage population. This donation will be specially distributed to 165 nurseries in North Korea. The delivery ceremony was held in Dāndōng, China where YWCA Korea signed the contact with the partnering organization for the delivery that should cover the needs for one entire year.
Due to the escalating political and military tensions and conflicts since and before 2010, this delivery was the first shipment succeeded since January 2014. The fund for the aid was supported by the 100,000 YWCA members nationwide who have been raising funds for the last eleven years for the continuation of YWCA Korea’s peace movement.
South Korean government cut off general support after Pyongyang’s military attacks in 2010. According to research reports, the aid fell from about a peak of about $400 million in 2007 to a low of around $13 million in 2012. And the recent threatening rhetoric between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un (August 15, 2017) has put high risks of annihilation of Korea. However, despite of the uncertainty and the tension, women of YWCA are devoted to advocate that the sustainable aid and safety must be ensured for the North Korean women and children.
One of the key concerns for the YWCA of Korea has been the reunification of North and South Korea. Therefore, since 1997 YWCA of Korea has aided North Korean children through various programs. Not only the association promotes a fundraising campaign by national members to send powdered milk and underwear to North Korean children, but it also support North Korean refugees living in South Korea to assist them fully to integrated into South Korean society. YWCA Korea provided them with education and employment, and a mentoring service and internship programs. Also in 1995, an international program was initiated and held by the YWCA of Korea for the youth from Asia and the Pacific regions to share values such as justice, peace and peacekeeping engagement activities in the community. (see below for the details of North Korea humanitarian aids sent by YWCA Korea)
- In 2011, YWCA Korea expanded peacemaking journey to an international level. YWCA Korea and YWCA Japan cordially proposed a co-resolution of “Calling for Peace: Strengthening North Korean Women and Children’s Human Rights” at the 27th World YWCA Council held in Zurich, Switzerland. The two YWCAs have invited the World YWCA and the international member associations to pay more active and sustainable attention to North Korean women and children, and to encourage themselves to make more cooperative and humanitarian efforts to help and to improve the condition of North Korean women and children’s human rights. Also as one of the main steering committee member of Women’s Peace Walk network of Korea, YWCA Korea has been actively networking with WomenCrossDMZ, an international women peace activists. Reaching out to the international networks, YWCA Korea has been advocating to call for an end to the Korean War, reunification of families and women’s leadership in the peace process.
- YWCA Korea officially began the Korean Peace and Reconciliation movement since 1986 and has continued until today. As the year 2017 marks the 72nd anniversary of the division, the threat of another war on the Korean peninsula is now at the peak of its escalation to the point where the tensions on the Korean peninsula have come dangerously close to a military confrontation that could engulf the entire region in a nuclear war.
- With the identity of peacemakers and a caregivers of the world, YWCA Korea will continue to focus efforts for the peaceful reunification of two North and South Korea, so that one day, future generations will witness and live in the world without war and violence.