Saturday, June 20, 2009

K.O.I.C.A. and Koreans in Rwanda...

In African hairstyle............................. Mr. Lee and Mr. Ryu... ...........Mr. Ryu, Dr. Hwang, Ms. Kim (missionary), Dr. Choi (clockwise)

At a barbecue outing we put together for them...

KOICA stands for Korea International Cooperation Agency. It is a government-run international volunteer organization.

KOICA aims to promote international cooperation by contributing to the economic and social development of developing countries through grants aid and technical cooperation. To achieve this aim, KOICA conducts technical training programs, and dispatches experts and volunteers as well as medical doctors and Taekwondo instructors. It also provides equipment and materials and executes project-type assistance and development studies. KOICA also assists Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) so they can expand their grass-roots development activities overseas.

In view of such perspectives, KOICA's cooperation programs focus on several strategic areas of priority as follows: (1) to promote human resources development(HRD); (2) to eradicate poverty and provide basic human needs(BHN); (3) to promote market economy and free trade ; (4) to build the capacity of policy development and administration of recipients; (5) to contribute to addressing such global issues as environmental degradation, population and women in development(WID).

KOICA has 22 volunteers in Rwanda as of May 2009 and several more are to come. They are here to provide assistance for Rwanda to develop its human resources and infrastructure. Some are teachers at the secondary schools while others teach at colleges and work at the government's department. Among them, some are volunteering overseas in lieu of their mandatory military services in Korea. Normally they serve for two years.

Most of them are young men and women, but there are a couple who are in their 60's. One is a retiree who is teaching at an agriculture college in Musanze. He is Dr. Nam Hee Choi. He has volunteered to serve only for the purpose of returning the generous support that his generation received from other countries after the Korean War. The other is also a retiree in the banking industry. After 10 years of retirement, he has volunteered to find the meaning in his golden life. He is Mr. Don Kyu Ryu, currently teaching International Trade Management at the School of Finance and Banking. Both deserve high regards and respect.

Many of them take adventurous vagabonding trips through the rural areas. They walk on the unwalked paths and cross the rivers. They stay with the rural farmers in their houses. They have to fight the fleas and mosquitos. But, those hurdles do not stop them. Through the experiences, they grow mature and their perspectives are broadened. Kudos to them!
There are other Koreans in Rwanda. A dozen of Korea Telecommunications expatriates take the chunk of them. They are in Rwanda to complete the installation of fiber optics cable systems throughout the country. If all things go right, Rwanda may be the first African country that has the fiber optical cabling throughout the nation. Once this network is connected to the sea cable, then it will have the same internet speed as in the advanced countries and will open a totally new chapter for doing businesses. There are a few missionaries and there are a few expatriates from Korea who have come to help distribute tractors (Myungsung Church) and to provide other forms of assistance. I am encouraged by them because I see Korea transition into a giving country from a receiving country just a few decades ago. What a transition... I am grateful to the Lord for what He has done through Korea. - Jeffrey

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