Moving the world with 1000 backpacks – Happy Move Global Youth Volunteers November 26th, 2008

Kyehwan RohBy Kyehwan Roh
Assistant Manager
Sustainability Management Team

The term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will most likely make you think of a company’s social contribution activities.  Along with economic, legal and ethical obligations, businesses carry out social contribution activities as part of their efforts to fulfill their duty to society.  With CSR under the spotlight these days, companies are contributing to the communities they serve more than ever before.

Social contribution should be grounded on firm principles.  At Kia Motors, the underlying philosophy is “pursuing happiness for mankind through automobiles.”  Kia’s social contribution programs include ‘Easy Move’ to assist in providing mobility for persons with a disability, ‘Safe Move’ to promote traffic safety, ‘Happy Move’ which actively promotes volunteerism and lastly ‘Green Move’ to preserve environment.

As a way of reaching out to those in need, while instilling a global mindset and vision among younger generations, our Automotive Group launched an overseas volunteer group made up of 1,000 university students called the Happy Move Global Youth Volunteers.  The first batch of volunteers, some 500 students, was dispatched to China, India, Turkey, Thailand and Hungary this past summer.

The volunteer services were classified into four categories: improving conditions in schools and villages in India, providing medical care and education on hygiene in India, carrying out activities in Inner Mongolia to prevent desertification, and provide a cooking cultural exchange with Korean food.

For 13 days from the end of July to early August, I had the pleasure of accompanying 18 college students to China as their mentor.  We planted trees in Inner Mongolia to help promote new growth in the area.

We had to be careful about drinking the water there and the local food was unfamiliar.  The language barrier was another challenge we faced.  Although we were unable to convey our thoughts through words, we could still feel a bond with the local residents.  Even though our stay was brief, we helped sow the seeds of hope among the local residents and for the student volunteers which is what this program was meant to accomplish.

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