Recently, I contacted one of this blog readers; Miera who had volunteered at
Molly's Home Holt Ilsan Orphanage in Ilsan, South Korea. I was totally inspired and awed by her patience and willingness to present her love and time for the needy there. The kind hearted Miera has agreed to answer my relentless curiosity about her experience and my gratitude goes to her. Thank you Miera!
Don't forget to check out her blog at http://seoulbliss.blissfuldeen.net/
1.Where did you volunteer in South
Korea? (location and the institution name)
volunteered at HOLT Ilsan,
Goyang, Gyeonggi- do in Korea. It is called HOLT, named after the
founder, late Harry & Bertha Holt. It is an orphanage founded by an
American couple and it has developed into an orphanage for those with special
needs. One of their daughters, dear Ms Molly Holt lives at the
orphanage and is actively involve in the development of Holt orphanage. Do read
on at http://www.holt.or.kr/holt/.
2.How did you find the information about
volunteering in South Korea?
of months before my trip, I’ve tried to write in to few orphanages and
organizations by goggling this information. But unfortunately, to no avail as
most of them may need to liaise in Korean or they may require at long- term
I chance upon a blog by a Korean adoptee, dear Melinda who had blogged on her 4
months experience at Holt, Korea. I’ve contacted Melinda and she kindly helped
to channel me to the main contact.Do check out her inspiring blog at http://holtkorea.blogspot.com/.
3.How long is the volunteer program?
recommended volunteering programme is for more than 2 months. It is essential
for such long period of commitment so as to develop good rapport with the
residents in the orphanages.
4.Did you have to pay for any membership
fee to join the volunteer program?
5.Is the accommodation and food included
in the program? If not how you manage for it?
accommodation and food are included in this program. However, for muslims like
myself who have halal restrictions, we are allowed to cook our own meals at the
dorm kitchen. But those who may consider permissible food, such as seafood and
vegetables, these food are always served during the main meals.
6.Any preparation that need to be done
before you join the volunteer program?
best to try to learn basic Korean or to prepare some crafts or fun activities
that may be of interest to the varied age group in the orphanage.
7.Is it compulsory to speak Korean while
doing the volunteer activities? If not, how do you manage to interact?
main host for this volunteer programme, Ms Molly Holt is an American. Hence,
she speaks English and some of the staff does understand English. However, the
housemothers taking care of the residents and the residents themselves, only
speaks in Korea. It is not compulsory to be able to speak in Korean but to know
basic greetings and conversational language would be a great advantage.
volunteering stint, I was lucky to be paired with an American Korean volunteer,
lovely Youmi. Youmi speaks fluent English and Korean and she was my main interpreter
with the staff and the residents. However, I’ve wrote a reflection below on my
“Although, I am not able to converse with them
but the simple pleasure of “play & massages” were the language we used to
communicate. The magic of touch and play were the simple pleasures to
communicate the expression of joy and laughter.
The young ladies love to be pampered with hand
massages and manicure. The “manicure” moments were indeed a therapeutic moment
when physical bond is developed when we “touch”.
Where else, The young lads love to be engaged
in silly playful games. As humour is the language to utilize when one is lost
in translation. A silly game of who “push out the barrel” brings lots of joy
8.What made you want to do volunteer
program in South Korea?
2006, I have been intrigued by anything and everything about Korea, which I’ve
grown to love while watching their entertainment, variety and culture shows. It
has been my ideal traveling destination since then. However, it has also been
my personal mission to be able to render my volunteering service while
traveling. Hence, to be able to travel and volunteer in South Korea is indeed a
dream come true for me in seek of happiness, in whatever form it may come. As,
is the consequence of personal effort.
You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it,
and sometimes even travel around the world looking
You have to participate relentlessly in
the manifestations of your own blessings…”
by Elizabeth Gilbert
9.What have you gained after doing the
On 19 December 2010, which was actually on my birthday, I was
welcomed warmly to a humble abode. A home filled with abundant love and
humility for the special ones. I would call this home as the paradise hub of
HOLT Ilsan, Korea. I was honored to be able to meet and stay with Molly Holt,
one of the founder’s daughter. Dear Ms Molly, has contributed most of her
lifetime to the orphanage, always lending a helping hand to those that visit
her humble abode. It was humbling to be able to see how Ms Molly embraces
humility as her LIFE, daily and regardlessly. Whenever someone is in need, she
is always in action…”LOVE in action” at their calls”.
Before travelling to Korea, I was in search of “a humble town”.
A town that embraces humility as their daily nutrition to keep them humanely
alive. To be able to find this humble town on my birthday is surreal. I
thanked HIM, the Almighty for “connecting the dots” for me to be able to LIVE
breathing in daily supply of air of humility.
volunteering experience at HOLT is a soulful retreat that bestowed me with my
life mantra to live life humbly, embracing humility with His blessings.
10.Any unforgettable moments (funny,
sad, dissappointment) during the program?
moment is unforgettable, for every new day I was there, the children never
fails to teach me. Every face tells a story and each of these
faces tell a special story, they are orphans with special needs/ disability.
There was never a sad or disappointment moment as they never fail to surprise
me and when being with them, one can only feel joy and blessed.
11. A few words of advice for future
those who are interested to volunteer in Korea, it is best if you do have a
Korean friend that can help you to liaise with the organization. If you do not
have any, don’t be disheartened, as if you do google on volunteering in Korea,
you may chance upon some kind souls who blogs about their experience and try to
contact them. Most volunteering experience may require a commitment of at least
1 month or more, but there are some that would accept you on a short- term
Labels: Things to Do, Volunteer Program