One of the hardest decisions we’ve ever had to make about a video was whether or not we were going to talk about the Korean Ferry Boat accident which occurred on April 16th, 2014.
Some background first to what our own experience has been like here in Korea. The day before the accident, my father came to visit me. His trip was planned for two weeks. He had a wonderful time, and our time together in Korea was special. I’ve been living here over 5 years, and this was his first visit.
During his entire stay in Korea however, something none of us ever expected happened. We do not have a TV in our home, but whenever we’d go out to eat, TV’s usually hang on walls of restaurants. Normally they play Korean dramas or music videos, or the news.. but not while dad was here. Nearly every time we’d eat, a broadcast or news report of the Sewol accident off of island of Jindo would be on TV. How could it not be? We were reminded of it daily, because the entire country was reeling from it.
About half way through his visit, we had planned to travel Korea for a few days. In order to do so, we had arranged for someone to watch Maki for the four or so days we’d be gone. All plans for the young lady who was to babysit Maki had been arranged weeks before my dad’s arrival, but when time came to drop Maki off, we were heading right for Ansan, ground zero for those who have suffered the most from this tragedy. Her apartment was located 1 subway stop over from Ansan, which in Korean terms is very close by.
When we arrived at her apartment that day, it was she and her boyfriend who greeted us. After some chit chat about Maki and her well being, Richard asked her about her recent experience from living in the area. She herself was a high school teacher in the Ansan area, at a school quite close to Danwon high school. Basically, all the teachers she worked with knew the teachers who worked there and went on the field trip. They had gone through some professional training courses together. Also, in Korea, public teachers sometimes switch schools after several years to work at another school close by, and therefore some of her colleagues had actually worked with some of the teachers from that school.
We spoke with her twice about her experiences in that community, once when we dropped Maki off and again when we picked her up. The sentiment in her school had gotten worse as time went by. Student activities were brought to a halt. Music that used to be played over the loud speaker during lunch had been turned off. Student weren’t permitted to go outside during recess anymore. When asked simple questions like ‘How are you doing today?’ all the students would answer ‘I am sad’ or ‘I am bad.’ She felt as though they were simply answering this way out of obligation. Essentially anything that made school fun and worth going to had been removed.
When the accident first happened, we were both against making a video about this topic. After some time went by, we talked about it more, but I was still against it. I didn’t see the point in just talking about our observations and experience if we weren’t going to do anything to help. That just seemed so insensitive to me. Richard then asked me if I wanted to try and help some of the victims by donating money, and that seemed more realistic. So, after some heavy consideration, we came up with the scholarship fund campaign idea.
Many of the families affected by the accident have a surviving brother or sister. What we are doing is creating a university scholarship fund for 1 or more of the surviving victims.
There are TWO WAYS to financially support this scholarship fund effort:
1. Purchase an item from the Hallyu Back online store. 100% of the profits from the sales will be donated to recipients. This amounts to about $12 per shirt and $10 per Ecobag after taxes, fees and base cost to make the product.
2. Donate money by contributing to this Indiegogo campaign. 100% of funds collected from this campaign will be awarded 1 or more students who lost a sister or brother in the ferry boat accident.
All funds collected are to be used directly for university tuition fees and expenses. Those who will be selected to receive the money will be determined at a later date and will depend on financial need and personal situation. A video announcement made after the campaign is complete will include information about how much money was raised, and other information about the success of the campaign.
Ever since I began uploading videos to YouTube, I’ve wanted to be able to use YouTube as a platform to give back if that were at all possible. This is our first real attempt at any sort of fund raising / crowd sourcing campaign. If you live outside South Korea and have been wondering how you can help, this is a real cause that we hope will help make a positive impact on some of the lives that have been affected by this terrible accident.
Please consider supporting our scholarship fund campaign.