Trigger Warning: This article will mention topics such as domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, sex trade, and migrant women's issues.
Welcome back! If you've read Part 1 you learned about the delightful Korea International Volunteers group led by the fantastic James! The Korea International Volunteers group works primarily with the homeless and orphanages. If you haven't yet read about this pleasant experience and how to be a part of it you can do so HERE.
This week we are talking about another organization you can volunteer with called Korea Women's Hot-line (KWHL). The Korea Women's Hot-line is an organization that is working towards a peaceful society free from violence and discrimination. Their goal is to promote gender equality.
What is the KWHL & what do they do?
The KWHL was founded in 1983 and has helped protect women’s rights in the cases of domestic abuse, sexual violence, and human trafficking, and supporting migrant women in Korea.
The KWHL provides counseling services for women who have experienced domestic or sexual abuse. They also have a shelter to help support victims build and/or rebuild their confidence and independence by assisting them with medical care, legal matters, and counseling.
The KWHL moves for social change, by creating awareness around social issues that are caused by violence against women. KWHL’s advocacy has led to the establishment of three laws preventing sexual violence, domestic violence, and sex trade.
2023 Volunteer Work
In 2023, I had the opportunity to volunteer with KWHL. When I arrived in Seoul I quickly realized I wanted to find a place to be able to give back and be actively part of this new community and journey that I had embarked on. I found KWHL on Google, so it's a little different from finding the first volunteer group on Meet-Up. The work I did this year was related to the KWHL's film festival, the Film Festival for Women's Rights also known as FIWOM.
The specific volunteer work I did for FIWOM this year was researching and assessing previous global film festivals to find films that potentially fit this year's theme. Basically, we watched a lot of trailers and recorded any relevant information (and corrected any incorrect information) in the FIWOM database. This work was carried out remotely and had a reasonable timeframe to complete it in.
The festival hasn't yet happened so you still have a chance to check it out! It starts on the 20th of September and goes on until the 24th, of September 2023. This year they will host the 16th FIWOM!
For more information on this festival click HERE.
Festival Kick: A Kick to the Patriarchy
Festival Kick is another event hosted by the KWHL. Those who volunteered for this year's film festival were invited to Festival Kick and as the title says yes, it is a kick to the patriarchy and is indeed a feminist festival. A friend of mine and I went to check out the festival. It was great! Great energy, with feminist and women's rights-related activities, panel discussions, live music, and more! Here is a little glimpse of our time at the festival (photo slideshow):
Things we did at Festival Kick!
How can I get involved with KWHL?
I was informed by the KWHL team that there are currently no volunteering opportunities available but they do come up! If you are interested and would like to volunteer please send your CV/resume briefly outlining your work experience and background to this email address email@example.com. The organization will contact you when any volunteering work is available! The type of work you would do with KWHL can vary from film festival research as mentioned above to translation work or general research and many other tasks. It's a wonderful way to be involved especially if you can't physically travel to or be at locations to help.
Why did I Choose to Volunteer with KWHL?
To the women in my life.
"I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own." Audre Lorde
Women's issues are personal to me. Not only as a woman myself but for the trials of the women closest to me.
Every woman should feel empowered enough in her own being to stand up for herself and for the right to her safety. Regardless of gender, we should all just be safe. Women should be respected and cherished as precious beings that bring life, femininity, strength, and, gentleness into this world. We should be able to walk down the street without having to constantly check if we're being followed or if we are in an unsafe situation, daily situations should simply be daily situations, safely going for a run, being promoted, and wearing what we like as an expression of ourselves. We should be able to freely live and exist in loving, non-violent relationships and we should be able to be celebrated just as any man is for our many accomplishments and feats in life. We all deserve the freedom to live as equals, not anymore, not any lesser but valued as humans.
As women, we should empower women, and live with the utmost respect for one another. We are all our own beings, and there is no need to compare or compete since we all share the same struggles.
Accept and love yourself the way you are. Beautiful and bold, intelligent and kind, stylish or relaxed, gentle or fierce, be as you are, peaceful and as you are.
Thank you for keeping up with our series about Volunteering around Seoul! Don't forget to sign up on our website or follow us on social media (Dojeon Media) to see where you can volunteer next! Stay tuned for part 3! If you have any questions about volunteering or anything at all please feel free to comment below! We would love to answer your questions!
Until next time! Gabriella x