The Unwanted Ones

29 Jun

I’m not normally a booster for stuff that’s already been written or printed, but I will make an exception this time.  If you haven’t read this piece in the Los Angeles Times, it is definitely worth your time:

The drop box is attached to the side of a home in a ragged working-class neighborhood. It is lined with a soft pink and blue blanket, and has a bell that rings when the little door is opened.

Because this depository isn’t for books, it’s for babies — and not just any infants; these children are the unwanted ones, a burden many parents find too terrible to bear.

One is deaf, blind and paralyzed; another has a tiny misshapen head. There’s a baby with Down syndrome, another with cerebral palsy, still another who is quadriplegic, with permanent brain damage.

But to Pastor Lee Jong-rak, they are all perfect. And they have found a home here at the ad hoc orphanage he runs with his wife and small staff. It is the only private center for disabled children in South Korea.

“This is a facility for the protection of life,” reads a hand-scrawled sign outside the drop box. “If you can’t take care of your disabled babies, don’t throw them away or leave them on the street. Bring them here.”

I’ve run across some heartbreaking sights in Korea, but I’ve seen none more cruel than public attitudes toward the disabled.  Many times I’ve come across a group of disabled people, from young ages all the way up into adulthood, in public on an outing.  They do not comprehend the stares they receive from passersby, but I do, and I can tell you they are awful stares.  These are not unaware children gawking at a strange-acting or -looking person.  These are grown adults, looking at the disabled with what can only be described as looks of horror.  There is a legitimate, palpable sense of simultaneous fear and disgust in the onlookers’ eyes, as though these helpless creatures were some sort of plague visited upon their neat, trendy, beautiful world.  Mind you, that is not the attitude of all Koreans; I have seen older mothers and fathers dutifully caring for a middle-aged child who cannot take care of himself.  But the overall attitude of the society is not one of acceptance, of empathy, or even pity — it is of disgust.

There’s charity and then there’s charity.  We all have the duty to do what we can for those who suffer, but that doesn’t mean that all spending toward benevolent ends is equal.  But in this case, I think it’s clear to anyone who reads the whole article that every single won given to Lee Jong-rak will be used for good.

If you’re interested in making a donation to help out his efforts, below is contact and donation information for his church.

Give Out Love Church (JuSaRang Gongdongche Church)
646-151 Nangok-dong, Gwanak-gu, Seoul
Republic of Korea
Phone: 82-2-854-4505

 Name of the Bank

 KOOKMIN BANK

 Address of the Bank HQ

 9th FL. Sewoo Bldg. 10, Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu,
Seoul, Korea
 KOOKMIN  BANK
 SWIFT CODE (B.I.C.)
 CZNBKRSE

 Bank Account Number

 715301-01-258639

Name of the Account Holder

 Give Out Love Church

 Phone number

 82-2-854-4505
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3 Responses to “The Unwanted Ones”

  1. Alix Stayton Hernandez 9 January 2014 at 6:38 am #

    I’d like to post this donation info on my FB page, having just seen the trailer for The Dropbox. I’m wondering how you found the info, and whether you think it’s still accurate. Thanks in advance for your help.

    • autarkes 9 January 2014 at 10:07 am #

      I originally found the info from a Korean link to an LA Times article written by John Glionna. A correspondent from the Times’ Seoul bureau gave me the contact and donation information. As far as I know, the information is still accurate. I have seen a recent article in one of the major Korean papers (can’t remember if it was Chosun Ilbo or the Hankyoreh, possibly the latter) that highlighted the church’s efforts. Their website seems to be very current: http://cafe.daum.net/giveoutlove

      Many thanks for passing the info on. They are doing a world of good.

    • autarkes 17 January 2014 at 9:38 pm #

      I just found a recent article on the baby box in the Hankyoreh, if you’re interested:

      http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/613412.html

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