Development & Cooperation

 

Introducing Human Asia Children’s School

Human Asia Children’s School is:
1) For the children of refugee families living in Korea
2) Held once a month for two hours
3) Taught by a variety of experts with diverse professional backgrounds
4) Conducted through fun activities and topics:
5) Inclusive of diverse perspectives and;
6) Made to foster healthy relationships between refugee children and society, and improve their sense of self-worth.

The Children’s Schools are held in Gimpo and Incheon. From May 2019 until September 2019, the syllabus will encompass subjects such as human rights, maths, film, art, and technology. The schools will help the students to learn how ordinary matters can look completely different and new when viewed from someone else’s position.

Goals of the Project

The participating children will be able to:
1) Broaden their horizons and perspectives;
2) Cultivate a sense of self-worth and confidence;
3) Widen their own knowledge on several topics and
4) Deepen their own understandings on and relationships with the society that they are living in.

Educational disparity for children in less privileged social groups means more than simply getting lower grades: it also refers to the impact upon their dreams and sense of self-worth. This is why Human Asia Children’s School is offering these children the opportunity to develop more rounded viewpoints: on their own selves and identities, on their positions in Korean society, and further afield in the broader world.

Expected Outcomes

Project weekends schools in European countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium – where the number of refugee children is continually increasing – demonstrated the potential benefits from projects such as the Children’s School. Through the various activities offered by these weekend schools, the projects were deemed successful in that they granted underprivileged children access to diverse career fields, and helped in developing their sense of self-worth. [see: IMC Weekendschool, TADA]

The weekend schools in Europe were deemed to be likely to give the children a bigger picture of the world; to provide them with motivation to work their hardest and with confidence throughout their lives, and to help them become a citizen who actively contributes to the development of the society they live in. Human Asia expects that the 2019 activities will produce similar results, and may accordingly expand the number and scope of the project in the future.

Why is this Project Needed?

The objective of this project is to grant children with refugee backgrounds in Korea a stable sense of identity, and to give them the grounding they will need in order to engage and thrive in Korean society. Even in today’s globalized world, it remains difficult for those with immigrant backgrounds to live in countries such as Korea that do not have a history of multiculturalism. Immigrants who settle in Korea find that they are expected not only to familiarize themselves with Korean culture, but further to follow all given cultural norms, take Korean names, and live and act like Koreans. It therefore may appear that there is no right for immigrants in Korea to preserve their own cultural identities. This in turn means that Korea is hindering the creation of self-identities outside of the basic restrictions of ‘Korean’ and ‘foreigner’.

The parents of children with refugee backgrounds face endless worries: whether the child will forget their parents’ culture; whether the child will face discrimination at school because their families aren’t Korean; whether the child will be able to overcome their own internal struggles on who they are. 

Human Asia too holds similar concerns. As their families still face unfamiliarities within Korean society, and as their parents do not speak Korean as their first language, refugee children commonly face social or academic difficulties in schools that their peers do not. 

Research further suggests that children with immigrant backgrounds often struggle in their schools with a low sense of self-confidence or confusion over their identities due to having different pronunciation, skin color, or cultural differences. Presently, Korean schools are still largely unable to adequately address issues relating to such cultural sensitivities or language barriers. Therefore, in order to tackle ongoing issues for refugee children and reduce educational disparities and identity issues, Human Asia believes that there is a need for greater support for these children through programs such as the Children’s School.  

The Chakma Education Support Project

The Chakma Education Support Project aims to provide quality education to Chakma children in Arunachal Pradesh, India. The right to education is recognised as a fundamental human right in international conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Yet for Chakma children, access to this right has been continually hindered due to political conflict between the Chakmas and the Indian state government. The Chakma diaspora have been present in Arunachal Pradesh since the 1960s, after religious persecution forced them to flee from the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The Indian state, however, has been failed to solve the issue of citizenship for the Chakma people. This in turn has meant that Chakma children have continuously been deprived of their right to education.

Our Work With SNEHA

In order to tackle this problem, in 2017 Human Asia partnered with SNEHA, a local non-profit organisation founded to provide educational opportunities for Chakma children. The main goal of our education support project is for the children to have access to quality education. In addition to providing after-school classes for the children, we also train teachers, helping them become better equipped to create child-friendly schools. We promote quality education by advocating learning through active participation. We also focus on improving the children’s’ learning environment through establishing a Rights-Based Approach (RBA) within the schools.
In order to integrate these processes into the current learning environment, Human Asia and SNEHA first designed a special after-school class, which could be incorporated into regular classes later after being assessed and evaluated. The two main focal points here were language literacy and human rights sensitivity. From 2017 to 2018, we carried out 40 after-school classes for 36 students, where students could practice their English reading and speaking skills. We also conducted teacher empowerment workshops for 30 teachers and staff working in SNEHA schools. Throughout the seven sessions, the teachers gained valuable skills and insight on how to make a child-friendly school. In 2019, we plan to open English and human rights classes for 62 students, along with a child-friendly school workshop for 48 teachers and school staff.

What is a Child-Friendly School?

All children have the right to be educated. A child-friendly school, however, recognises a diverse range of children’s rights, including: the rights to express their views; to play; to participate in decision-making; and to be healthy and protected.

Who are the Chakmas?

The Chakma people are an ethnic group who originally made up half of the population within the Chittagong Hill Tracts, most of which are located in Bangladesh. With the Kaptai Dam Project in the early 1960s, the Chakma people lost their lands to development. They were not entitled to any rehabilitation or compensation. The Chakmas, who are typically Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, or Animist, further faced religious persecution in the Muslim dominated region. In 1964, the Indian government under Jawaharlal Nehru allowed for some of the Chakmas to stay in Arunachal Pradesh (then the North-East Frontier Agency). Today, the Chakma diaspora are distributed throughout Bangladesh; parts of north-eastern India, western Myanmar, and several other countries including South Korea.

As the Chakma people in Arunachal Pradesh have been living in India without citizenship since 1964, in 2015 the Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas filed a petition to the Supreme Court of India, requesting that the Arunachal Pradesh state government grant citizenship to the Chakma people. Although the Supreme Court subsequently ordered that Indian citizenship be granted to Chakmas, the Arunachal Pradesh state government refused to implement these demands. They claimed that this would be an infringement upon the constitutional protection of tribal states, which includes Arunachal Pradesh.

Conflict between indigenous groups and Chakmas has further meant that the Chakma people face discrimination in many aspects of their lives. They are therefore often deprived of their economic, educational, and cultural rights. In 2017, for instance, four Chakma medical students were denied admission by the Mizoram state government, who succumbed to pressure from a student body.

The endless problems facing the Chakma people in 2019 remain equally as severe as in the past. Yet until a resolution granting Chakma people citizenship is undertaken, the Chakma people will continue to suffer from human rights violations and discrimination.

Vision Hill School Support Project in Laos

 

In 2014, Human Asia promised to sponsor the re-opening of Vision Hill School in a small town in Pakse located in Southern Laos, for people with Hansen disease. In order to raise funds for this cause, Human Asia held a photo exhibition, called in 2014 and raised funds through selling photographs that depict the beautiful scenery of Laos. In January 2015, we visited the Vision Hill School in Laos and delivered the funds that were raised from the photo exhibition. With the funds, Human Asia managed to pay off the salaries of three teachers as well as utility bills for the next two years.

Human Asia has supported Vision Hill School for 3 years, from 2014 to 2017.

Nepal Humanitarian Aid

On April 25th 2015, the worst earthquake in 81 years struck Nepal which led to the devastating loss of many lives as well as their homes. After the second strongest earthquake on May 21st, Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs officially reported 8,567 deaths, 16,808 people were injured, and approximately 749,000 houses were destroyed. Badkhel, where Human Asia’s regional office of Nepal was located, was not an exception.A total of 36 homes of children and Nepalese children center staff members have collapsed. The children center as well as the Human Library was shaken by the earthquake, leaving cracks in the wall. The help the lives of the Nepalese people, Human Asia has began launching a number of humanitarian aid projects to help ease the recovery post the earthquake.

Fundraising Campaign and Delivery of Emergency Relief Goods for Nepal

After the earthquake, Human Asia raised emergency relief funds and delivered them to Nepal’s regional office. Human Asia managed to distribute medical supplies, food, daily necessities, beddings, and materials for sheltering to the local community of Badkhel. Along with the delivery of goods, we also supported the reconstruction of roads that were damaged by the earthquake.

Pheri Nepal Bracelets Campaign

The Pheri Nepal Bracelets Campaign was the second project of Human Asia’s ‘Love for Nepal’, following the HUMA doll campaign. Together with the 1st Human Asia’s Nepal volunteer group, we ourselves designed and made bracelets, postcards, and envelops. The Pheri Nepal bracelet campaign raised ten million won and the funds were delivered to Badkhel.

Human House Construction

Human Asia has began the construction project in order to continually support the reconstruction of homes of the Badkhel residents.

Children Center Support

In January 2014, Human Asia sent its 2nd Nepal Volunteer corps who spent time teaching arts, music, computer, and science experiment. We also established the Human Library for the Children Center, where Human Asia’s regional office is located.

‘Jum Library’ for Jumma People

In September 2011, Human Asia and JPNK (The Jumma Peoples Network Korea) celebrated the opening of the library in Gimpo. The library now holds 2000 Korean books and 500 English books. It also serves as a study room for children after school.

Vietnam School Support

Human Asia delivered medicines and medical supplies to 10 primary schools across Vietnam in 2009. Following that year, we delivered books and school uniforms to primary school students.