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Love thy neighbours: Korean corporate volunteers show the way
19 July 2006
by Yoon Ja-young

Korea Life Insurance vice-president Shin Eun-chul, centre, plays with children at Seoul SOS Children’s Village, while volunteering at the social facility for children.  (The Korea Times)Korea Life Insurance vice-president Shin Eun-chul, centre, plays with children at Seoul SOS Children’s Village, while volunteering at the social facility for children. (The Korea Times)
Seoul, Rep. of Korea: Korea Life Insurance has set a corporate role model in social service, adopting various measures to continuously contribute to society. The company thinks that making contribution to poor communities  is an essential part of corporate management, as the insurance business wouldn’t exist without customer’s trust.

The company launched last May "Sarang Moa Volunteering Group", composed of 4,500 executives and staff more than 26,000 employees. The volunteering group is divided into 170 teams around the country and dedicate over one per cent of their total working hours in helping the elderly, disabled people and children in need.

Each team has established partnerships with welfare facilities such as nursing homes, rehabilitation centres or orphanages, where they volunteer two days every month. Korea Life Insurance volunteers also support after-school support and scholarships to some 400 children from poor backgrounds.

"We are just returning the love that we have received from customers back to society. Volunteering is the first step of `loving thy neighbor'", said Shin Eun-chul, vice president of Korea Life Insurance. Shin himself is engaged in various volunteering activities.

Shin said donation simply wouldn’t establish a culture of volunteering. The company aims to have a systematic volunteering scheme to maximize the benefits of volunteer work.

It has also set up a web site containing reports of volunteering activities and plans and evaluation forms. The firm also uses various statistics programs to manage volunteering. To share information and experience, its volunteering leaders regularly hold seminars.

For funding, they have set up the "Sarang Moa Fund, where employees voluntarily contribute a part of their monthly salaries and the company matches the amount. As of March this year, 1 billion won has been collected.

Korea Life Insurance wants future generations to inherit the volunteering spirit. The firm launched "Happy Friends Volunteering Group,’’ where 350 teenagers selected from around the country act as role models for their peers. Under the guidance of World Vision, an international relief organization, students engage in a variety of volunteering work once a month -- from helping residents in rural areas to delivering coals to poor families in winter.