Haulim Choir: Integrating refugee children
Submitted by: Byung Cheol Lee, Union Representative, Aulim Iklim Social Union
Email: [email protected]
Introduction to the project
South Korea, Incheon, Bupyung-Gu
3 years (2017 – 2019)
Haulim Choir is made up of resettled refugee children of school age. Due to the fact that they were living in refugee camps prior to arriving in Korea, they experienced some difficulties while adjusting to their new life in Korea. They were also socially isolated and had difficulties making friends at local schools. By participating in the choir, the children learned to heal emotional wounds, absorb social norms and became a part of the local society. The Haulim Choir won an award at the 2019 nationwide celebration of foreign residents hosted by the Ministry of Interior and Safety.
Main activities of the Good Practice
The children meet regularly to practice singing. They also perform in public and participated in competitions.
- Municipal Government
- NGO Plan International
- Local volunteers
- Former and incumbent teacher(s)
Challenges and how they were overcome
There were some challenges in responding to the various needs of the children, in addition to choir related activities. The children and their families were used to being beneficiaries of humanitarian aid and they continued to be dependent on outside support after resettlement. Empowering refugees to become more independent and encouraging self-reliance continues to be a challenge. For small NGOs with limited staffing, case management is a significant challenge.
Results of the Good Practice
Self-esteem increase: Initially, the children spoke limited Korean and had difficulty understanding the meaning of the songs that they learned. They were also poor at reading sheet music. However, over time they became more and more proficient.
Peer engagement increase: Even though verbal communication was limited due to the fact that they had limited grasp of Korean language, the children started engaging with their peers more and got more involved in various programmes.
Social awareness increase: In the beginning they lacked awareness of social norms, but through group activities and being part of a chorus, they learned social norms directly and indirectly. In particular, the refugees are becoming more aware of the value of the activity as a social contribution as they realize that the purpose of the choir is to deliver hope and peace.