Service brings out the best in young people:
- their ability to see beyond long-standing divisions,
- their innovation,
- their hope
- and most of all, their power to dream.
In 2010, Dr. Moon challenged Korean youth, “What will your generation do with your capacity to dream? Will you dream a small dream or will you dream the greatest dream of all?” Serving abroad is the perfect way to expand one’s capacity to dream.
Meet, Gundong Lee, featured on Chosun.com in 2011. At the time, he was 28. He initially came to Nepal as an international volunteer with Service for Peace Korea. He told Chosun, “The Nepalese staff thought I was too meddling, especially because they thought I would not stay here forever.” Contrary to the Nepalese staff’s assumption, he stayed and become project director of the Children’s Center and Dream Catcher Library in Sarlahi, a district about 12 hours from Kathmandu.
In 2012, Nepal ranked 157 out of 186 nations in the UN Human Development Index. According to Hon. Ram Hari Joshy, former Secretary of Education and Secretary of Tourism of Nepal, the key to development is “Education…Unless people change, this world will not get any better.”
The Service for Peace projects in Sharili focus on education. Behind book covers, and within the warm shelter of the Children’s Center, dreams are taking flight.
The Dream Catcher Library houses 6,000 books and a computer lab that offers computer classes. After school, children and college students gather at the library to study and read. Local volunteers support a mobile library system that circulates the books by bicycle and car to families in remote areas. A women’s literacy program also operates from the Dream Catcher Library. To date, hundreds of women have learned to read and write through the program.
The Children’s Center offers a haven for orphans of the 14 year Nepali civil-war. The brunt of violence passed through the Sharili region leaving many children parentless and homeless. Chosun.com wrote, “The children of the center call Gundong Lee “Appa” or dad in Korean.” He come as a foreign volunteer, but remained to heal and raise his adopted Nepalese children. Today, international volunteers frequently join local program coordinators for months at a time to care for the orphans. They forever remain a part of the Children Center’s growing extended family.
Experiences like Gundong Lee’s, forge deep bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood with communities abroad. Young volunteers are placed on the job and immediately expected to find common goals while working and learning with people who speak different languages and come from different cultures, religions and lives. What manifests is the dream that pulses through every human vein.
The world’s current and future leaders dreams are expanded to “the greatest dream of all”.
This video by Service for Peace Korea highlights the dreams of people who use the Dream Catcher Library and Children’s Center. Your Dreams, my dreams, our dreams.