Haja Center (English&Japanese Blog)

Youth NANGAM (Korean words meaning “Challenge”) Group, Seeking for “Intermediate (Transition) Environment.”


Youth NANGAM (Korean words meaning “Challenge”) Group, Seeking for “Intermediate (Transition) Environment.”

Written by Hyo-Gwan, Jeon (Director of Haja Center) 

Translated by Yeonju, Choi


HajaCenterhosted 4 times of Youth NANAGAM meetings from 2nd week of March to 1st week of April.  I think the meetings were held because many small groups of youth have come into being but few gatherings have been there to understand each other’s activities and share challenges and difficulties.  The hope to tide over challenges by sharing difficulties was why we hosted the meetings.

Let me quote Johan, a so-called midwife of Haha Center, at the first meeting, “this is a place where we share NANGAM (challenges) over tea and to bring people who don’t rush for conclusion together to acknowledge one another’s positive spirit and move anew.”  So it was not a place where older generation to teach younger generation nor where the youth keep lamenting on their tough situations.  It was a round-table meeting.  Those invited were the young who are involved in the youth activist groups, and the young who look at oneself for answers and grown-ups who were prepared to give the meaning and value to such such attempts.

Recently, Professor Jangjib Choi wrote a column, saying that he saw hope of our society in the Youth Union.  This old politics scholar found new hopes in new union movement as it is based on their own difficulties and lives and as it is based on we-spirit among the young.  Four rounds of meetings covered diverse issues such as Youth Union who agenda-zize youth labor issues, Youth Concert which was planned to sympathize with the lives of the youth, Unoccupied House Project to address housing issues by sharing home, publishing youth magazines, and Socially Responsible Corporate.

What we discuss at the meeting is whether we can live a sustanable life, with constant awareness on our society’s issues. To that end, we discussed what we should learn in this era and what could be new way of leading life. Each individuals think and act differently, and it is the same case for the young as well, we reached small but valuable conclusion that the young shall not be simple receiving end.  Instead, they should take the initiative in problem solving. We reached consensus that the young people can be the driver to build a new society.

I personally, cannot stop thinking of “intermediate (or transition) environment issue of the young.  That is, it is apparent that not a few young people want to move away from existing extreme competition and new liberal reasonable reasoning and that momentum for such is also building up.  However, the idea kept bothering me was that they don’t have such intermediate or transition environment or support from someone they can rely on. (I though) as they know they hit the bottom, they chose not to join the society but to idle.  So I was able to find hope because once they are given this transition environment where they are allowed to make attempt and fail, their time can be converted into energy for creativity.  Once network is set up so exchanges can be made between generations, I am more than convinced that they will take visible roles in solving problems of this era.

So the Center plans to address new questions under three key words – self-assisting,  mutual-assisting and assisting for the public.  The first meeting named as Self, Mutual and Public will be held under the theme of The young meets the community.  Though this small meeting, I expect we can find the young who loves oneself, works with others, and builds new villages solve problems oneself.  This will result in bonds with one another required to live in this challenging world.



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