Haja Center (English&Japanese Blog)

Community and Youths, Finding the Answers from Experiences

Community and Youths, Finding the Answers from Experiences  


written by breath (Education Team)

translated by Hayan, Jeon


Around 170 people gathered in Haja Center on September 21st to think together about the answers to the question “what can make youths happily live in town?” In this discussion, examples of communities in Seoul were shared.

∎Presentation 1_

<Main factors for revitalizing youth activities through experiences of youth cultural activities done cooperatively with local communities>

Hangi Shim, the leader of Pum, introduced Pum’s story that it has created a youth local cultural community based on local communities and youth daily lives for 20 years through youth cultural activities such as holding a youth local festival in Gangbuk and nurturing planners of cultural activities and proposed the solution to support youths to be main players who develop villages through culture, not for youths to be just participants of programs. Pum started with activities that youths liked and now it creates activities needed for identifying local issues and resolving the issues. While youths join the team to plan the festival they try to think about their lives and future based on humanities. In addition, after some youths decided not to go to universities but learn in town they support their juniors and play the role of bridge between adults and teenagers in town. Sharing these examples, Mr. Shim proposed to discover and develop integrated project models which can be connected to local communities during daily lives and establish youth centers in local communities.

∎Presentation 2_

<How to support youths in a psychological crisis through examples of youths who left schools and were inactive but could finally return to society >

Yooyoojajeok Salong where Choonghan Lee, co-president, works is a social enterprise in a popular music field and it runs ‘Freely Playing Outside Home’ (Yooyoojajeok project), a program for those who are isolated from major social education services such as school education and job training (NEET) to return to society through education on band music. Mr. Lee explained that NEET – Not in Education, Employment, and Training described in policies means youths who do not attend schools and do any social activities and they are also ‘gravity-free youths’ who just drift in society without having any social networks. The potential group of youths who are isolated and cannot be well adjusted to society account for about 9.4 % of total number of youths and it is known that there is lack of interactive action with emotion and relationship and willingness to take some actions. It is difficult for them to return to society just by consultations but a gradual recovery is very important depending on their status. Mr. Lee introduced how youths had changed through the project and proposed policies as follows. First of all, the support for conducting an accurate survey on the actual condition is necessary and ministries such as the Ministry of Health and Welfare for a physiological part, the Ministry of Employment and Labor for jobs, and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family for social isolation, should be integrated. He also proposed an ‘outreach’ type visiting service to consult with youths, an integrated management program for learning and working, and making ‘a shared space where people can do nothing’ in town.

∎Presentation 3_

< Realistic solution to support youths to be independent through examples of youth business creation>

The necessity of social support for youths aged between 19 and 24 has come to the fore along with severe unemployment issues of youths. Especially, diverse supports for creating businesses are being discussed as alternatives for independence of youths who don’t have so-called ‘spec,’ a newly coined word for explaining academic backgrounds, career, etc. in Korea. In that sense, Jinsook Park who is creating businesses with these youths who need care gave the third presentation. She talked about ‘Cat Going on a Picnic,’ a lunch box store run in Sungmisan town, Mapo. It was created by the youths without such specs who had willingness to pioneer their future for themselves and live together with their neighbors as part of ‘Alchemist Project’ starting in Haja Center in 2010. Ms. Park said that future policies should not just provide budgets and support short-term programs but it was essential to provide support through youth cooperatives in local communities, internship in town companies, co-housing for resolving housing issues, given youths’ sustainable life.

∎Presentation 4_

< Core directions for creating an environment for youths through co-education in town >

Joonyeol Kim, a resident of ‘Beautiful Town Community’ and a member of executive committee for “Gangbuk Town,’ proposed ways for living and education of youths to be done in an integrated way during their daily lives. His talked about his town in the city starting from a cooperative child rearing in Suyu, Gangbuk, in 1991. Education for infants and primary school students is done in town and the secondary education program is run in Hongcheon through the program connecting urban and rural areas. He graphically explained how the network between generations such as ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’ of town cafés, lecture halls, and restaurants, not an individual support from organizations, enabled children to grow in town.

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