SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — A cooperative organized by a group of university students is contributing to addressing a social conundrum – the creation of jobs for visually impaired persons.
According to the Korea Employment Agency for Persons With Disabilities, the employment rate of the nation’s visually impaired persons stood at 42.6 percent last year.
The employment rate for severely sight impaired persons remains very low at 19.1 percent, with most serving as massage therapists. In other words, they have a limited choice in jobs.
Against this backdrop, the ‘Bom Geuneul (meaning ‘spring shade’) Cooperative’ organized by a group of Seoul National University (SNU) students, created a new job for the visually impaired in 2018.
The newly created job is ‘Blind Mental Care’, which is a psychological consultation service offered in the dark by visually impaired persons who are accustomed to the darkness and have sensitive hearing.
The Blind Mental Care service can provide new jobs to sight impaired people, while offering mental care to those who are exposed to extreme stress.
This psychological consultation service is conducted between the customer and the sight impaired mental caregiver in a room that is blocked from all light. To guarantee anonymity, only nicknames are used in the room.
Despite a short history of less than two years, the service has attracted significant attention, with the number of customers estimated to have exceeded 250.
“Psychological consultation with professionals under bright light can make patients feel like they have become the subject of experiments.” said Cho Eun-ki, head of the Bom Geuneul Cooperative and a student at SNU.
“In contrast, the mental care service enables them to tell their stories in a more comfortable environment.“
Nonetheless, the mental care service still has a long way to go. Since this service is run by students, the consultation is available only after their classes are over at 7 p.m. during weekdays.
At present, a total of 10 sight impaired persons are working for Bom Geuneul, nine of whom are severely sight impaired persons.
J. S. Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)