|▲ The students with the new Furey beneficiary, her face blacked out to protect her identity. Photo courtesy Mary Summers
Jeju Furey, a local charitable foundation founded in 2009, has added a third family to its beneficiaries. With help from Furey team members, a family in the Hamdeok area was needs assessed and approved for financial support. The low-income working mother struggles with supporting three children alone after the father disappeared four years ago. The money will help the family with debt repayments, education fees and renovation for their dilapidated accommodation.
The decision for Furey to add an additional family was made after an increase in donations from fundraising events over the last year. Furey team member Wanjin Reed contacted Hamdeok town hall - Furey beach volleyball events have been held at Hamdeok Beach since 2012 - for help in identifying new beneficiaries and was put in contact with a local family. A visit was then planned for Feb. 20.
In addition to the Furey team efforts, a group of local high school students participating in a “Student Ambassador” program also became involved after raising 1,000,000 won. The students had sold bracelets with Jeju-specific designs to students, teachers, visitors, and expats since summer 2013, inspired by LiveStrong© and “Uianbu Paljja,” charitable bracelet campaigns for cancer survivors/families and Korean sex slaves (“comfort women”) during Japanese occupation, respectively.
Wanting to help the local community, student Park Jun Yeong (Justin), who had taken part in previous Furey events, contacted the foundation about using the fund for Furey beneficiaries. It was then decided that the students could join the family visit in February to personally hand over their hard-earned efforts, accompanying Yumi Kang and Nina Sakaki, along with Acting President Mary Summers.
The Hamdeok mother was overwhelmed with gratitude and unable to hold back tears of joy and amazement at the generosity that was shown to her on the evening of the visit. Equally moving were the students’ reactions and comments after the experience. Justin told the Furey team that the experience made him really understand the morality of giving to others, while student Ju Yeon Yang repeatedly said how her “heart felt so warm.” It was a moving experience for all involved.
The family is the third to be supported by Jeju Furey, which began as an endeavor to provide college funds for the sons of deceased expat Nathan Furey through participative money-raising events. Once the initial goal of 20,000,000 won was achieved, the foundation wanted to do more. With its mission being “to assist local families in need,” founder Daniel Nabben searched for new beneficiaries.
In July 2010, a family in the Iho area became the first local beneficiaries. A grandmother supporting herself, her disabled son, and her grandson, struggled to provide basic amenities such as heating on her meager 200,000-won-a-month welfare. Since becoming a Furey Family, the grandmother has been able to do some much-needed maintenance on the family home and better provide for her family.
A disabled father in the Nohyeong area, working to provide for his mother and son, became Furey’s second local beneficiary in December 2011. Both father and son have medical issues, the treatment for which is not covered by their 300,000 won monthly welfare and disability subsidy. Jeju Furey’s support enables them to pay rent, eases the financial burden of medical costs, and improves their standard of living considerably.
With three families now to support, the organization is striving even harder to expand its support base, repertoire of events and its reach locally and nationally. As the organization continues to grow, Furey aims to bring the local and expat communities together in a sustainable way to ultimately enable the organization to reach out more and more to those in need on the island.
For more information about Jeju Furey, its beneficiaries, upcoming events, and how to get involved, visit www.jejufurey.weebly.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.