By Cho, Hyun-jin
Sustainability Management Team
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This summer was one of the busiest I’ve spent in recent years and full of many events. One of the most memorable was the 3rd Happy Move Global Youth Volunteer Corps.
As a way of giving back to society, Kia Motors carries out focus programs in four areas known as the ‘4 Moves.’ The four areas are ‘Easy Move’, ‘Safe Move’, ‘Green Move’, and ‘Happy Move’. ‘Happy Move’ refers to social contribution through volunteering.
One of the initiatives under ‘Happy Move’ is the ‘Happy Move Global Youth Volunteer Corps’ program. This program sends about 1,000 university student volunteers to different corners of the globe every year.
This summer, the volunteer activities were organized under four themes and took place in China and India. The volunteer group sent to China had the chance to help build the ‘Kia Village.’
Carried out jointly with Habitat for Humanity, the Kia Village project was designed to rebuild a rural village devastated by the earthquake in Sichuan province on May 12 of last year. I took part as a ‘mentor’ to some 60 undergraduates who comprised the first volunteer group.
The 60 students and I went on the volunteer trip from July 16 to August 5. It took an entire day to reach the village, so there were only eight days for actual work. We did our best to make the most out of our short stay.
Being the first volunteer group, we had to lay down the foundation before actual construction could begin. Most of our work involved digging and shoveling. Everyone worked hard with no complaints even though the work went non-stop for seven hours everyday. The heat cooled during our stay with the rain, so there was no need to worry about heat stroke. Of course, everyone inevitably got covered in mud.
In addition to working at the site, we prepared a performance for the local residents. There were three main shows, mini Olympics, balloon art, face painting and a magic show. I was suddenly thrown into the cheerleading squad, so I practiced every night until 2 am or 3 am. Due to rain, the shows were delayed until the day before we left Sichuan province. In the end, the performance was a success, making the long hours of practice worthwhile.
We wrapped up the trip to China with a visit to the local Kia Motors factory and Shanghai. Our bus broke down on a highway, so we had to get off and push the bus, which was a unique experience. In Shanghai, the city was bustling with preparations for next year’s Expo.
I am thankful to all of the volunteers who worked incredibly hard during the two weeks at the construction site and during the two months of preparation. I hope this trip will last as a warm memory for everyone involved.
Our visit was profiled in People’s Daily, which you can review at the following link: