Housewife Finds Fulfillment in Translating Kids' Letters for Charity

      November 30, 2019 08:18

      Chung Yeo-jin (47), a Korean housewife, has translated 4,660 letters from English to Korean over the last seven years as a volunteer for Christian charity Compassion Korea.

      The letters were sent to sponsors in Korea from beneficiaries around the world.

      After graduation, Chung at first worked for a large conglomerate, but she quit her job 22 years ago when she married a soldier because her husband's profession required her to move every one to two years. To give her something to do while her two children were at school she started volunteering to translate letters.

      Chung Yeo-jin poses with a girl in the Philippines in June 2015. /Courtesy of Compassion Korea

      "It wasn't easy to find a job again because of the long period of time I had been out of work. But I wanted to do something to help others even if I didn't make any money."

      She searched the Internet and discovered the translation opportunity for Compassion Korea. "I'd long been interested in foreign languages and was immediately drawn to the wanted ad," she recalls.

      It was not easy at first for her to translate the letters due to her long hiatus, but after translating thousands of letters, she says she has gotten good enough to read letters from beneficiaries in Spanish and Swahili as well.

      "It warms my heart when I read the children's letters," she said.

      In 2015, Chung was named an outstanding volunteer and given an opportunity to visit the Philippines to meet children the charity sponsors. She also became a sponsor after meeting a 15-year-old boy there and now tries to encourage others to sponsor a child.

      Each time she moves to a new part of Korea because of her husband's assignments, she suggests other army wives volunteer as translators. Her own children, who are now in university, also volunteer as translators.

      "It is truly beautiful to see somebody's life being changed," Chung said. "I feel a lot of pride in delivering happiness to someone."

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