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.
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.