SEOUL: 11 January 2011 — 48 young volunteers and Salesian leaders left Seoul on 9 January for Poipet, Cambodia, for the 2011 winter volunteer team activity. The departure followed a Mass celebrated at the Provincial House in Seoul by Fr Stephen Nam, Provincial. The team will receive hospitality at Don Bosco Technical School at Poipet until 23 January.

       Students who have taken part in volunteer meetings throughout the whole of Korea have the chance of applying for the Salesian overseas volunteer initiative. They range in age and status from middle school to high school (ages 14-20), and must offer their usual winter vacation period as well as self-funding their trip, a cost of some $ 2,000.

         The current group is the 19th such team, and is being led by Fr Isidor Hong, the Director of the DB Youth Centre in Seoul and Missions Delegate. He is being assisted by two other Salesians and a Salesian Sister, Fr John Jeon, in charge of youth volunteer activities and Brother Kim Albert, a young Salesian theology student from Seoul. Sr. Laura Yeo is the Salesian Sister. A third Salesian has joined this year’s team, as an expert. He is Bro. Anthony Kim, working elsewhere in the Region, who will offer a particular service of technical guidance for local teachers in Poipet in welding.

       This volunteer team will stay at the DBTS and share their efforts and story with the local students. Meanwhile the school has also asked that they contribute with a large mural in the school grounds.

       Preparation for the venture has been conducted via the regular youth volunteer meetings, where they discuss motivation and skills that can be shared. They engage in group activities aimed at eventual cultural exchange with local youngsters.

        The departure saw a large group of parents ready to send their youngsters off, armed with enough personal items for the two weeks, and the essential mosquito nets – not all that easy to purchase in Korean mid-winter markets where temperatures might be -10 C!

       Fr Nam, in his homily, told the young volunteers that of course volunteering doesn’t mean doing something to help the people where you are going; instead it’s a good chance for you to grow as a Christian person through practical sharing with your global neighbors. You need to feel and be aware that we are brothers and sisters together, despite different language, culture, everything.

       The youth volunteer team activities abroad initiative is directed to the EAO Region in particular, and is considered as one of the new and emerging areas in Youth Ministry in the province. Through close cooperation with Salesians in the Philippines, East Timor, PNG, Thailand, Cambodia, China and Mongolia this project has now seen 19 editions. The Province would like it to be known that If there is any Salesian community or presence which might interested in receiving a volunteer team of the kind, they need but call on KOR for joint planning.

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