SEOUL, April 19 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean university students are helping to foster the dreams and hopes of youth in Kiribati, an island republic in the Pacific that lies at risk of being submerged due to rising sea levels.
Global outreach NGO IYF (International Youth Fellowship) said yesterday that it had opened on alternative school in Kiribati’s capital Tarawa on April 9 (Kiribati local time) named “Caterpillar to Butterfly”.
According to IYF, the 110,000-strong Kiribati people that live among the country’s 33 islands fear the possibility of flooding when seas rise, and due to this ever-present anxiety, youngsters dropping out of school are increasing in number by 1,500 every year.
Once out of school, falling into crime is a problem for some youth through circumstances such as unwanted pregnancies as well as drug and alcohol addiction.
To reach out to such troubled youth, IYF first established its local chapter in March of 2016 and has been running an educational program for young people together with the country’s youth and educational authorities.
In addition, IYF dispatched its international volunteer group the Good News Corp to Kiribati earlier this year; the volunteers along with the Kiribati IYF chapter established Caterpillar to Butterfly as an educational institution for youth bereft of educational opportunities.
Students at the alternative school receive lessons on English, music and “building character” and partake in physical activities such as taekwondo and dance. School is from Monday through Friday with classes starting at nine-thirty in the morning to slightly past noon.
Yoon Tae-hyun, head of the local IYF Chapter, said Kiribati government officials had recently come by and expressed gratitude to the school staff after sitting through some of the lessons as observers.
Interest in the alternative school is strong amongst Kiribati government officials, to the point where the minister of commerce sent five adolescents as students and his wife, an educator with 20-years of experience, to volunteer as an English teacher.
A 19-year old student at Caterpillar to Butterfly said, “I was resentful of my parents before when I had to give up my studies because of being unable to pay tuition, but after taking the school’s lessons I was able to understand what they were thinking. Having music lessons for the first time in my life made me dream of becoming a music teacher one day.”
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)