Open Arms Korea, Summer 2021 Newsletter
Hello Open Arms Friends,
Can you believe the summer is here already! It's that time of year for us here in Korea where the mosquitos are buzzing, the rain is pouring and the humidity is making our hair frizzy! But the air is warm and we love the sun when it comes out! The good news is that a few of us have been fortunate enough to visit some of the children at CWWC and Dream Tree Village. We are still not back to running as normal but grateful for any opportunity to be able to see the children. We have also had a very productive couple of months behind the scenes. Our thanks goes to the management team who have been working so hard on our child protection policies, volunteer enrolment forms, our corporate look (new style guide and guidelines), website and print materials (brochures etc), and brainstorming networking opportunities. All of which we hope to share with you soon. Please keep reading to find out more! 
Education Director
Open Door for
Open Arms
Last month a few of us were very lucky to visit CWWC again. We were invited back in on Tuesday evenings to work with some of the children from our Tuesday evening Early years group. They allowed two volunteers to visit each week to meet with two children at a time for three 30 minute time slots. It was wonderful to see the children again and we really hope that there will be more opportunities for more of us to visit from August. We are also really keen to begin our toddler program again as soon as conditions allow. If you are already a volunteer with us and would like to join us again on the Tuesday sessions then please let us know and we will schedule you in. If you are interested in becoming a new volunteer with us then please see the link below to find out more.
Please note: As the COVID situation is rapidly changing, our in person classes have been cancelled until the end of July to protect the children who live in a high risk environment
OA Membership
Although we are a volunteer organization, we also need income to exist. Your membership fees are vital in sustaining our operational costs (i.e. website, newsletter, virtual office address and educational supplies for the children). Importantly, in order to register as a Non-Profit Organization (NPO), we will need a certain level of fixed donation revenue. We have put a lot of thought and discussion into this matter, and have decided on a minimum of 10,000KW per month (or lump annual payment of 120,000KW) to become a Member. You are also able to donate larger amounts above this. Volunteers who do not wish to contribute financially, are members of OA with payment of a 30,000KW registration fee to cover overheads, but do not count as a financially contributing member when we apply for NPO status. You can support us by becoming a Member of Open Arms Korea even if you are unable to volunteer so please help spread the news! Thank you Sally for creating the membership form and Alicia, for your continued guidance.
The children remember and missed us during the Pandemic
Sarah Koh, a dear friend of OA (who introduced us to CWWC at the very beginning), also teaches the older children. She wrote to us on May 3, "I just got home from CWWC and wanted to share a conversation I had with some of your little boys. I went into one of the rooms tonight, and several little ones came running up to see the "foreign grandmother." 😊 They all said they wanted to learn English, and that a lot of nice ladies used to come to see them all the time, and they wondered why they didn't come any more. I said that because of covid, they couldn't come, but when things get better they would come again. But they kept saying, "then why are you here? You're a foreigner. If you can come, why can't they come?" You and your group are not forgotten!" Thank you Sarah for the beautiful message.
SFS British School Students
Community Service Project
Written by Vanessa Kim
SFBS teacher & OA Volunteer
During the difficult time of COVID-19, it was a huge pleasure to be working with Open Arms to help Dream Tree Village. We prepared learning packs and activities that we sent to the orphanage. Although we weren’t able to meet the children in person, through photos and videos the orphanage teachers sent us, we could feel the excitement and joy that they had while working on the learning packs and craft activities we sent.

One of our most popular and remarkable projects was filming a couple of music videos that would help the children improve their English. At first it was very awkward standing in front of the camera singing and dancing, but as the time passed by we started to get the hang of it and enjoyed it. We bet the kids did too. We also made a video to teach them how to introduce themselves in English by saying “Hello, my name is…. What is your name?” We thought this would be easy, but we ended up recording multiple times because we had to say the sentences really slowly for the children to understand and repeat what we say.

Through this service project, we had a lot of fun having weekly after school meetings and working through the project with our group members. We also learned that whatever the situation is, learning never stops. We hope to continue the project next year and be able to provide English education. 
“I think the most valuable thing about our project was that we were able to make a change to the kids. We measured the impact by seeing the kids do the things that we sent them successfully.”
They made the paper bears that we sent them for the letter ‘B’ and they did the dances we sent them too! Although covid was the main challenge seeing as we couldn't physically help/see them, it was really valuable getting to help the girls and it was extremely fun making the videos and crafts! Our little projects made an impact seeing as they went from not knowing English to knowing part of the alphabet and learning to introduce themselves.” 
“It’s great that we had time to laugh and collaborate with others to prepare and create the packs for the orphans. I think the most valuable thing about our project was that we had the chance to teach little orphans remotely, and to see the videos that they sent us of them learning and improving in their English. ”
Meet the Management Team
Although the pandemic limited our time in the classrooms, we took the opportunity to focus on getting our organisation in order, thanks to the leadership of Sanjini. The management team has been meeting regularly via Zoom or Google Meet. Sub groups (including Communication, Strategy, Finance, Administration and Education teams) have also been meeting in between management meetings. Our goal is to register as an NPO and there is a lot of work that needs to be done. We value and need your expertise. Please consider offering your time!
Dee Dee
Joo Hee
Partnership with Change Makers
A group of Aged Out Dream Tree Village young adults called the 'Change Makers' and mentor Sunghwa Han, met at Seoul Foreign British School (SFBS) with Katy, Sanjini and MiYong to introduce OA and discuss how we can work together. The Change Makers are definitely going to be an asset to OA and our little friends at the welfare homes. We are particularly excited that they will not only add to our pool of volunteers at the welfare homes but could also be potential OA working group members and help us better focus on our work whilst gaining professional skills that will support their careers.

Feedback from the Change Makers was also very positive. They were impressed with OA, SFBS and our caring group of volunteers. They also enjoyed the opportunity to practice speaking English and look forward to helping us make a difference in the lives of children, just like them.

"It is an honor to volunteer together." - Change maker

The students helped prepare packs for the Dream Tree kids in our Early Years Program.
Alignment of OA Education Programs and OA Strategy
As part of our organisational strategy we have talked about the various areas that we would like to make clearer in our work and how we operate. While our English education programs will focus on English, we want to use themes such as Empowerment, Equity, Inclusivity, Global citizenship, Environment/Sustainability, Service/Community as cross cutting themes. Also clarify
  • How we introduce ourselves
  • Expectations
  • Benefits (for children and volunteers)
Open Arms @ GGGI
On July 5, Sanjini along with Jess visited the Global Green Growth Institute for an awareness talk about orphans and how Open Arms is helping. There were a number of the interns and also regular GGGI staff. We had an hour slot during their lunch time. There were quite a few questions about the situation of the children, the homes, and of course how we do things. It was definitely a reminder of how important this type of exposure is for us and we must do more of it both face to face and virtually. We have at least 3 GGGI interns interested in helping us and also the Comms person is going to introduce us to a couple of her friends who are Korean adoptees. Thank you Sanjini & Jess!
Upcoming Volunteer Catch Up Meeting
Saturday 21 August
Time & Venue TBD
We are hosting a volunteer catch up meeting on Saturday August 21 (time and venue/online TBD). It is open to past volunteers and also new volunteers, to learn what we are about and what we've been doing over the summer, and how you can volunteer. It's a great opportunity to finally re-group and learn what's new and plan for the future. Please RSVP to get updates for this event or future ones. We hope to see you there!
Can you attend? We hope you can!

08/21/21 - 08/21/21

Meet other volunteers, learn about our work and what we've been doing during the pandemic; find out how you can help! See you soon!
I'm interested!
Maybe next time! Keep me informed!
Gentle Reminder!
Switch to Signal for Encrypted Messaging
OA group messaging chats will no longer be on KakaoTalk. Please download Signal App to be a part of our OA community chats.
Last but not least...
Sanjini, our kind, hard working and inspiring leader is moving to Sri Lanka. She has taught us how to listen to each other and work together as a team. She took a dream and made Open Arms into a reality. We will miss her beautiful presence in Seoul but she remains dedicated to Open Arms and will continue developing our organisation from abroad. Lucky for us, she hopes to visit Seoul periodically. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for giving your time and love to Open Arms and the precious children we serve. We love you Sanjini!
"I will never forget the conversation we had in Sue's car on our way back from Shinmangwon. You turned to me and said, 'Should we put our ideas on paper? I can help.' That was the beginning of Open Arms as an organisation. There are truly no words for the love and gratitude I feel for our friendship."

"Thank you Sanjini for bringing such a dedicated, and passionate outlook to how we can develop Open Arms in this ever changing world. Every time I work alongside you, you inspire me to think differently and make our world a better place."
"A big thank you and goodbye to Sanjini, who has been with us from the early days of our organisation. It is her energy and drive that has allowed Open Arms to grow and flourish into what it is today. Thank you Sanjini for pushing and challenging us when we needed it; nurturing a collaborative team climate and most of all for being a tireless advocate for orphans in Korea. We know Sanjini well enough to say that her passion and work in this field will not stop here, and we hope to hear more from her in the future. We send Sanjini and her family all our love and wish her good health and happiness."
"The last 18 months have been hard for any organisation. For a voluntary one, even more so. Sanjini took on the mantle of team leadership after Barbara's return to Toronto and with patience and determination during the pandemic inspired and regrouped the team online. This was no small feat. She is leaving us in a strong position to move forward and although we will miss her in Seoul, we know she will still be with us behind a screen not just in spirit but very much an active presence. Sanjini, I wish you safe travels and happy landings! Thank you for all your encouragement, patience and wisdom. You rock!"
"Thank you, Sanjini, for being an inspiring leader, woman, and mum at Open Arms. You make us see the world with a new perspective and give us hope to make it a better place. Over the years, you have embraced OA with wide-open arms. You’ve made it possible for us to push through the difficult time of the pandemic. This is not a goodbye, and I wish you all the best of luck.'"
"Sanjini has inspired me with her dedication to her work with Open Arms, with making a difference in the lives of others and with her passion for the environment. She is a dearest friend and I wish her and the family the best of luck with this new exciting chapter."
"Thank you Sanjini for helping us establish Open Arms to a new level. Your energy and love for the kids have kept our drive going through this past year when Barbara moved away. I am so grateful for the great hands in our group who will be able to lead while you're away. Thank you and Tracy and Barbara for still connecting with us from other countries. You will be greatly missed when we are with the kids, but we hope to see you when you visit. See you in the wintertime!"
03-289, 47, Sejong-daero 23-gil, Jongno-gu,
Seoul, Republic of Korea
ph. +82 10 5914 3214 (krn)
ph. +82 10 2716 5644 (eng)