Originally posted on ywcascotland.org:
Earlier this month I had the exciting opportunity to visit another YWCA… over 5,000 miles away in South Korea.
Together, YWCA Korea and YWCA Scotland form part of a dynamic network of women leading social and economic change in over 120 countries. Each YWCA is unique in the work that it does and the lives it impacts, but we all strive to do one thing; empower young women to achieve their potential.
Here are three highlights from my first World YWCA experience:
1. The food
Oh, the food! Korean cooking is some of the best I have tasted. Signature dishes include barbecued meat, Bibimbap (mixed rice) and ice cold buckwheat noodles. No meal is complete without a medley of small side dishes such as kimchi, lightly fried vegetables and pickled eggs. [Photo: the lunch I tucked into at one of YWCA Korea’s favourite local restaurants.]
2. Learning more about the history of Korea
Having lived in China after high school and more recently in India, I have a keen interest in all things Asian. Korea has a fascinating but distressing history. Even today the country remains divided by war.
YWCA Korea is calling for 100 million signatures for the resolution of Japanese military sexual slavery.
Between 1930 to 1945, Japanese soldiers fighting the Pacific War forced thousands of women and girls into sexual slavery. Survivors were either killed or abandoned far from home. Japan refuses to accept responsibility for this widescale violence against women. Sign the petition to support YWCA Korea and the international community in its mission to restore the victims’ human rights and send a powerful message to those abusing women in armed conflicts today.
3. Meeting other YWCA Women
[Left to right: YWCA Korea Intl. Affairs Manager Ji Hea, YWCA Scotland volunteer Kara, YWCA Seoul Secretay General Jeon Hyun Sook, YWCA India General Secretary Leila Passah & YWCA Korea Corporate Partnership Director Hyunjung Hong]
My first taster of what it feels like to be part of a global women’s movement left a lasting impression. I was warmly welcomed to Seoul by YWCA Korea & YWCA Seoul staff and met the National General Secretary of YWCA India too! As a member of YWCA, you can expect to find yourself adopted into a family of inspiring women who share the same passion for justice and human rights.
YWCA Korea oversees 52 local YWCAs and over 80,000 members. Their current priorities range from anti-nuclear and peaceful unification campaigns to promoting youth leadership and alternatives to the current, intensive Korean education system.
Next door to YWCA Korea HQ is YWCA Seoul – the biggest of all the Korean YWCAs. [Photo: a conference room that accommodates approx. 300 people. There’s also a canteen, swimming pool, exercise studios and mini theatre inside.]