After measures to encourage new recruits, Jeju Special Self-Governing Province reports a rise in the number of haenyeo (women divers) hopefuls in the last 18 months. 16 new recruits joined “eochongye,” or village cooperatives, last year with an additional 9 having joined this year.
The recruits are currently receiving training to be haenyeo and their ages vary from 20s to 50s. Jeju Hansupul Haenyeo School in Hallim-eup is currently the only institution providing training and 10 graduates have gone on to become haenyeo.
The province supports haenyeo with startup fees and provides welfare support to boost their incomes and improve healthcare. Links will also be made with universities and colleges in a bid to boost numbers.
The measures are intended to stop the terminal decline in haenyeo numbers as fewer young women take up the profession. There are currently around 4,500 haenyeo in Jeju and half are over 70 years old.
A provincial official said, “We will open the Haenyeo Academy to cultivate female divers and link this with the CEO cultivating program at Jeju National University. It will also link with the education program of the fishing college operated by Jeju Hallim Fisheries Cooperative.”
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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