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Meaning of Life Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Mariano, Japan Sep 8, 2004
Child & Youth Rights   Opinions


Getting through the obstacles that life sets in our path is part of the process that shapes our way of appreciating life. Those obstacles are good and bad experiences that inspires any single person to find a meaning in life. Such meaning can be revealed by a particular experience that might touch you deeply, or sometimes a special individual might bring up such meaning, or even suffering might bring enlighten in one’s life. Personally, leaving my family in Argentina 5 years ago was one of the experiences that changed my life, because it made me realize that I was living in a small world of ignorance and selfishness.

Assimilating new cultures, appreciating new values in life, and meeting people from all around the world were experiences that made me realize that no matter what religion, nationality, or race you are, there is always a reason to bring happiness to others. A mixture of nostalgia, loneliness, and love led me to turn my eyes in those people who are ignored by a world that globalizes greediness, fear, and violence. Orphans are one of those people that have been left out by most societies around the world, because sadly they are stereotyped as undesirable individuals for society, no matter what reason takes them to end in an orphanage.

I was in my junior year of sociology in the United States when I got into the study of orphans and the inequalities that those children have to go through during their life to fight for an equal treatment in society. At that time, I got a proposal to come to Korea for 2 years to learn Korean and to explore Korean culture to gain experience in my social studies. I accepted such a proposal almost immediately, because I was really curious about how orphans would be treated in a society where the institution of the family is influenced greatly by Confucius principles, which places a lot of importance on the devotion and respect for parents, family, friends and those in positions of authority. It has been 8 months since I arrived to Daegu, in that time I realized that orphans are considered a taboo and shameful topic in Korean society, there is no too much interested in helping those children, because generally Korean people do not know much about orphans. Korea has been one of the leading countries in sending orphans all around the world for the last 40 years; foreign families have adopted about 200,000 Korean orphans since 1950, and still there is not much concern about Korean orphans in this society where children are forgotten in the face of social traditions and values. Consequently, there are more than 20,000 orphans who look for a chance to achieve their dreams as well as to recover the love and happiness that Korean society has stolen from them.

Encouraging Korean orphans to believe that they are able to have a good future and making that gap of inequality thinner has become my purpose of my life. One of my challenges has been waking up the hearts of those people who never heard of orphans before to change that attitude of ignorance. It has been about 7 months since I got involved in volunteering in Korean orphanages; there are many images that I will never forget in my life after visiting those orphanages. Seeing those kids smiling when I spoke English, laughing at my poor Korean, and holding my hands are images that are going to be recorded in my heart for the rest of my life. Since then, I have committed myself to find other volunteers to give the orphans the chance to learn English and to interact with foreigners, which can be a priceless emotional and educational support for the orphans’ future. Bringing a light of hope, kindness, and, love in the darkness of silence that many orphans live in, it could inspired, guided, and brightened their life. It just depends on choosing the right attitude to fulfill that emptiness in society that blinds our responsibility of taking care of Korean orphans. Inspired people bring ideas, ideas bring awareness, awareness brings changes, and changes would bring a future with more equality for those individuals who live under the shadow of the forgotten. Any single person has a meaning in life to be found, any single person is able to bring changes in society with the right conviction and values to achieve such meaning. The education of Korean orphans is my worthy goal that I look forward to achieve with the support of anybody who believes that those children deserve a better life than choosing the streets as a way of life.



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