A Survey Made for the Commander-in-Chief,
United Nations Forces, Far East, and for the Chief of Chaplains of the
United States Army.
By William F. Asbury, Christian Children's
Fund, Inc., Richmond, Va. 1954
Since World War 1, the American military man overseas
has opened his heart and his purse to boys and girls without homes who
wandered the streets or were crammed into children's homes in the turbulent
wake of bombs and shells. In World War II, and in the Korean War, on
which this study seeks to give some enlightenment, the tremendous military
efforts and resultant destruction on world wide fronts in turn meant
hundreds of thousands - perhaps millions - of children left homeless
temporarily or permanently.
The American G. I., as he tramped into one battered
city after another, whether it was Munich or Singapore, Naples or Tokyo
or Seoul, always had a chocolate bar or a stick of chewing gum for the
ragged children who numbly watched they knew not what. Then when occupations
began, or truces were signed the chocolate bars were replaced by dollars
and buildings, and everything from vitamin capsules to bicycles.
Korea, especially, was terrible and overwhelmingly
pitiful because of the gross suffering of little children. Almost overnight,
Korea added a page of violence to her 5000-year-old history, unknown
even to violent Asia, and only paralleled by the meticulous destruction
in Europe during World War II. Back and forth along the north-south
peninsula rumbled the super-tanks and super-guns and super-efficient
bombs and napalm of modern war. As one village after another crumbled
- as Korea's million civilians perished - as the blood of men from nearly
a score of nations was spilled, crying children peeked from the wreckage-and
cried more when they saw a cold and foreign, a destroyed world without
Korea had her Hiroshimas and Nagasakis, even without
the big bombs. Kim Chun, city of' 50,000 two hours drive north of Taegu,
was systematically demolished by the pattern-work bombing of B-29s in
an effort to dislodge the dug-in Communists during the critical days
of the Pusan perimeter. Chun Chon, on the 38th Parallel; Taejon, city
of more than 100,000 where General Deane was lost; these cities and
those like Chorwon of the Iron Triangle probably knew a more complete
destruction than any cities since the sack of Carthage. After the bombs
and shells came the mop-up demolition of street fighting where grenades
and small arms finished the destruction with the same thoroughness that
a Korean farmer chops down each and every straw in his barley field.
By the time the fighting stopped in the late summer
of 1953, 100,000 children were without homes or unaccompanied. The story
this survey seeks to tell is the one that began in 1950 when the UN
troops saw the misery of these children and then started to do something
Military Giving. This is the first time
anywhere that the Army Corps of Chaplains has expressed its desire for
the help of a private and specialized civilian agency in learning facts
about military giving to children. Soldiers, airmen and sailors gave
generously. The following pages will seek to show that their big heartedness,
admittedly not properly measured in dollars and cents, is likewise big
business even when measured only this way.
A good deal of attention is given in the following
paragraphs to the extensive work for Korean orphans by various official
and voluntary agencies. This is provided with the hope that the Chaplains
in Korea (and the Far East) may benefit from seeing the larger scene
of children's work to which he and his men have given so much.
Inaccuracies. There will doubtless be certain
inaccuracies in this report both in statistics and in certain reported
"facts". The large scope of the survey makes these inevitable.
It is to be hoped, however, that the reader will give special attention
to the general conclusions and recommendations. These are believed to
be important in spite of possible statistical errors or occasional misinformation
because they attempt to look at "the big picture." These conclusions
and recommendations are believed to have a modicum of validity
Briefing and thanks. The writer had a complete briefing
by Chaplain James E. Wilson, Chief of Chaplain, Army Forces Far East,
and his staff, on the activities of Chaplains in Korea prior to leaving
Tokyo for Seoul. It was gratifying and enlightening to learn the broader
aspects of a Chaplain's job in the field, and to know that his concern
for the needs of a destitute people, and especially children, is accepted
as a primary challenge and serious responsibility even though completely
separate from his assigned tasks.
To Chaplain Wilson, and his counterparts in the Navy
(Chaplain Whitman) and Air Force (Chaplain Hamel), sincerest thanks
are extended for their full cooperation. Of course warm gratitude goes
out to General John Hull, Commander in Chief, United Nations Command,
Far East, and to Chaplain (Maj. Gen. ret.) Ivan L. Bennett, former Chief
of Chaplains, U. S. Army and Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Patrick Ryan, present
Chief of Chaplains, who expressed their desire that this study be made
by Christian Children's Fund, Inc. Chaplain Bennett instituted the basic
plan. Special thanks, too, for the generous help of Mr. Thomas Metskar,
Civilian Welfare Director of the Korean Civil Assistance Command, who
is probably the best-informed expert on child-welfare problems in Korea.
The Korean Minister of Social Welfare, Dr. Solemn Park and his associate
ministers, KCAC Provincial Team commanders and officers, the American-Korea
Foundation, Chaplains in the Field, Deputy and Area Commanders of the
8th Army and Fifth Air Force, and Military Unit Commanders in both the
front lines and rear areas were consulted, and they helped to the fullest
to provide information and all other assistance.
In brief, the purpose of this survey is to learn
what military personnel have done to help orphanages in Korea.
In the first place to learn statistically, and in the second place to
learn how the giving has been handled and the results it has brought.
The survey looks to the day when military units will
be leaving Korea. Press reports for some time have stated that a phase-out
program, will be well underway by 1955, and recent news releases from
the Pentagon report that several Divisions and the 5th Air Force have
been assigned new destinations already. This study, then, looks toward
these days when military men, who, without doubt have saved the lives
of many Korean children, leave the Peninsula. It looks especially to
the great void that will be left in support to Korean orphanages and
other work for children when the financial and material help of individual
military men is not available.
According to available statistics almost two-thirds
of the voluntary contributions of soldiers in the 8th Army who gave
to public welfare activities in Korea went to the orphanages. Thus it
is deemed important to know more about soldier giving.
It should be added that though the needs of children
in Japan and Okinawa are not now as critical as those in Korea many
of the observations, conclusions and recommendations here will be pertinent
to these other areas.
Critical Problem. The problem of what happens when
military personnel leave Korea is of great concern to the government
of the Republic of Korea, to the Korea Civil Assistance Command (KCAC),
and to the voluntary agencies working in Korea. Again and again, in
explaining the survey to those who had information, this concern was
The Provincial Team Welfare Officer for KCAC in Kyung
Gi Province said bluntly, "When the military units leave Korea,
children will be on the streets again."
Pitfalls. Another purpose of this paper is to point
out certain pitfalls which are always present in any altruism, but which
are especially prevalent when charity is available to people who have
become as desperate and destitute and suffered as the Koreans.
Deceits are sometimes well worked out. One of the
welfare officers in
KCAC headquarters in Seoul reported a case where
several mixed-blood children, particularly those with outstanding Western
features such as blue eyes, blond or red hair, or of negro paternity,
were brought to a chaplain's office on a certain U.S. Army base. With
weeping and wringing of hands, the orphanage superintendent told of
her general suffering and then this new problem which, she implied,
was clearly his. "Therefore support my orphanage," was the
One of the KOAC Team workers heard the story from
the chaplain. But from a different chaplain at another distant base,
he had heard the same story, and a check-up revealed that the identical
part-negro, blue-eyed, blond and redheaded children were paraded before
several military commanders and chaplains. These "special children"
were available, probably for a price, to orphanage superintendents who
sought money from military personnel. Probably this operation was eminently
successful though no facts were available to bear out the success.
Intervention. Sometimes military personnel have made
errors by intervening in the administration of the orphanages a little
too far. An institution called Angela Orphanage had good quarters in
a rented house in Suwon, Kyung Gi Province, south of Seoul. An Air Force
Chaplain and the Provost Marshall of a base near Suwon took considerable
interest in the Angela Orphanage when it was in Suwon. Then both were
transferred several miles further south to another base at Osan. They
promised the superintendent of the Angela Orphanage, that since they
still had an interest in the orphanage, it would be wiser if she moved
it, with its 22 children to Osan. They promised to buy land, to provide
materials from the base, and to interest men at the new base in her
work. A building program was also promised. The superintendent and the
children moved into very ramshackle, "temporary" quarters
just outside the air base. A few weeks later the Provost Marshall was
transferred and within days after that, the Chaplain was transferred.
Angela Orphanage now has more than 40 children. Newcomers
to K-55, the air base, didn't have the same interest as their predecessors.
The temporary shacks and borrowed land have necessarily become permanent.
Children live in very bad surroundings and under bad conditions among
the Korean camp followers who set up business all around the base. This
happened in 1953, and new Chaplains at the base are doing their best
to remedy the situation.
Thus, the purpose of this work is to shed light on
bad situations and try to foresee for Chaplains in Korea how they happen.
The "plus" side of the ledger of military help to orphanages
is far greater than the occasional errors. U.S. Ambassador Ellis 0.
Briggs reported in July of this year that he was greatly impressed by
the voluntary help given by soldiers and that it was one of the many
brighter aspects of his work. He said that almost every day he received
a letter from a returned Korean veteran who wanted legally to adopt
a Korean child, or had a soldier still in Korea visit the Embassy who
wanted to leave money for a child, or another who had, returned who
wanted to send money back to a child. Ambassador Briggs described
this "Second Mile" kind of act on the part of the soldier
for Korean children as being like "a child who breaks open his
piggy bank so he can put in another 20 cents." Another purpose
of this study is to analyze this generous giving.
The need for the survey was recognized by Chaplain
(Maj. Gen. ret.) Ivan L. Bennett and implemented by his successor, Chaplain
(Maj. Gen.) Patrick Ryan. Concurrence that the study be made and fullest
cooperation given came from General John Hull, Commander in Chief, United
Nations Command, Tokyo. Thus this is a study for the benefit of ail
United States as well as United Nations Military Forces who have been
active in helping Korean orphans.
Christian Children's Fund made this survey at its
own expense. No financial assistance or logistical support in Korea
was accepted. Christian Children's Fund has committed itself to complete
or substantial partial support of 8000 Korean children who have lost
their homes during the recent war. According to Dr. J. Calvitt Clarke,
the Director of Christian Children's Fund, CCF feels a deep responsibility
in the continued care of Korean children who suffered from the war.
It has always been the desire of CCF to work in cooperation with the
Chaplains who are often stationed near the orphanages helped by CCF
around the world. Christian Children's Fund seeks to work hand in hand
with them and to coordinate its activities with their own. This survey
is an enlargement of that policy. CCF has many military contributors
who have seen needs overseas and then returned to America to help meet
the needs through the organization.
a. Introduction and Explanation
It is impossible to measure statistically the affection
poured out by men in Korea towards the wonderful Korean children. At
every orphanage, a little Kim Sung Hi or Lee Myung Hung knew a 'Mac"
or a "Mike" or a Chaplain Somebody whom they ran to greet
as their friends, lifelong friends. These men usually came loaded down
with good things from the PX, or boxes of clothing and food from home.
But even holding a child in his arms - a child who may never have known
his parents, was a two-way street of sharing that undoubtedly has greater
significance than numbers can show.
It's also impossible to measure the international
good will that is generated by men who love children and who go out
of their way to help them. Foreign relations between nation and nation
might very well be influenced by such soldier - child relationships.
b. Numbers of Orphans and Orphanages
Before 1950. It is not commonly known, but even before
June 1950 there were several thousand orphaned children in Korea. Korea's
men were part of the Japanese Imperial Forces. They died in battle,
were held as PW's in the distant posts of a captured Empire; they fled
as refugees just as Japanese soldiers and their families did. They often
were simply reported "missing" and left their families without
support. Then when Japan lost Korea, half a million Koreans remained
in Japan. They are still there. Continuing political differences have
kept fathers and mothers, and children, separated by the Sea of Japan.
Children entered orphanages in increasing numbers up until the day of
Communist aggression in 1950.
True Statistics? There are many difficulties
in getting true statistics about the number of children in orphanages.
The orphanages in Korea have often "padded" their figures
on the number of their children. In this way they might get more assistance
from KCAC or from military donors. Or, orphanages have placed on their
rolls the names of children living in the same-or a near-by town. When
checks were made, the children could be said to be "in school'
and then soon brought in for the counting of noses.
"Orphans". It should be made clear that
the term "orphan" when applied to children not only in Korea
but in most countries is a misnomer. Though, on a per capita reckoning
there are probably more institutionalized war orphans in Korea than
in any other country today, it is still true that many of the children
in orphanages have at least one parent. That mother or father however
may have lost everything in the war - home, land, livelihood, husband
or wife. He or she may live in a refugee camp and be completely unable
to take care of the child. Such destitution may have led to abandoning
the child. Or the upheaval of the Korean War may have separated parent
and child, as it did in thousands of cases.
Thus, though the word "orphan" is used
for convenience sake, "homeless children" or "unaccompanied
children" may be more accurate in many instances.
There are agencies in Korea that will soon begin
work on trying to reunite parents and children. Christian Children's
Fund, with case histories on 8,000 children, has made it known that
its files in Korea are available to those who seek to accomplish such
June and July, 1954, Numbers. As of 1 June
1954 there were 429 approved orphanages, and 50,936 children in the
approved orphanages in Korea. July statistics for 1954, issued jointly
by the ROK Welfare Ministry and KCAC, showed that there were increases
in the number of children in orphanages that averaged about 1000 children
KCAC estimated that there were at least 150 unapproved
orphanages in Korea. These do not receive KCAC relief supplies. In Kyungi
Province, which surrounds Metropolitan Seoul, an accurate accounting
of unapproved orphanages showed there were 15 without Government and
KCAC approval. There are 53 approved orphanages in the Province.
The largest number of orphanages in any one city
is in Seoul with 34 approved institutions. Pusan is second with 31.
These are June, 1954 figures from the Government.
Increases. The following table shows the increases
in numbers 'of children in orphanages from 1945 through 1954. KCAC figurers
released in June 1954:
|June, 1950 (War)
The increase from 1945 to 1950 shows, in addition to difficulties because
Korean fathers didn't come home from battles, the refugee movement from
North Korea when Communist tyrannies began there, refugees had to leave
all they owned to run the boycott of the 38th parallel. They arrived
poor and often broken.
Also, one KCAC official speculated that the presence of American military
units in Korea had something to do with the sharp rise in the number
of children in orphanages during these years. To the orphanage superintendents,
the presence of American soldiers meant dollars. Dollars meant an ability
to care for more children, to expand facilities.
c. What Was Given - in Dollars
Conflicting Reports. There have been many conflicting statistics given
on what military personnel have done in terms of dollars and cents for
help to the Koreans. (This is the first attempt, however, to give a
breakdown on just what was given to orphans).
Dr. Howard Rusk, of the America-Korea Foundation (AKF), for example,
was quoted in a wire dispatch dated June 8, 1954, as saying that $13
million had been given by soldiers in Korea to "sick and injured
Koreans, and to Korea's 10 million homeless refugees and 100,000 orphans."
The VFW Magazine, in its May 24, 1954 issue, reported: American troops
stationed in Korea have voluntarily contributed more than 25 million
dollars from their own pay for relief and construction work in Korea....".
The VFW Magazine gave no supporting statistics nor authority for this
figure which was the largest reported and which is inconsistent with
records of the 8th Army, 5th Air Force and Commandant, Naval Forces,
Far East. Perhaps the article was including the $15 million granted
by the U. S. Army in Washington, D.C. for the Armed Forces Aid to Korea
Program, and also the money which military personnel gave to various
funds that were neither for the direct nor indirect benefit of Koreans.
These qualifications make the figure no less impressive nor less important.
The following figures, based on an attempt by the 8th Army in Korea
to evaluate giving by soldiers since 1950, seem to have more validity.
They were prepared for briefing Mr. Harold Stasson, Director of the
Mutual Security Agency during his recent trip to Korea. Eighth Army
statistics showed that "Troop Aid (Voluntary), from I July 1950
through 31 October 1953 was estimated to be $1,156,194.63."
The word "estimated" was inserted because during most of
1950 and 1951, very few military units in Korea bothered with comprehensive
records of Troop Aid. The 8th Army figure for Mr. Stassen was
based on records available. However it is believed to be on the conservative
Best Available Statistics. The Deputy Chief of Staff of the 8th Army,
who is also the executive director of Armed Forces Aid to Korea, released
the following memorandum to be used in this report. These figures are
based on actual reports from military commanders all over Korea. Though
they are only for the 8th Army, and do not include the 5th Air Force
and the Navy, their accuracy seems most plausible; they are also up-to-date.
"In addition to his duties of aiding the people of Korea in a
post-armistice program of preparedness and reconstruction, the American
soldier has made an enormous extracurricular contribution to the people
at home and in Korea.
"Matching his prowess in the field with his generous pocket, the
Eighth Army soldier has this year aided seven worthy causes with contributions
totaling nearly one and a half million dollars. Added to reported contributions
and materials donated since June 1950 to aid Korea, this figure climbs
to over 3 million dollars.
"It is a proud record in that it was achieved through the individual
and collective and wholly voluntary effort of the officers and men of
the U.S. 8th Army.
Following is a list of organizations which benefited by the generosity
of the 8th Army soldiers:
|March of Dimes
|American Red Cross
|Aid to Korea Fund
|Aremy Emergency Relief
|Crusade for Freedom
"Over and above the previously mentioned donations totaling $1,261,643.00
and such relief items as clothing, food and materials having a value
of $550,110.97 given by the men of the 8th Army from the time of the
outbreak of the war in 1950 until the establishment of AFAK in November
"Voluntary troop contributions since November 1953 used separately
or jointly with appropriated AFAK funds totaled $24,063.00.
"The total of all voluntary contributions (cash and materials)
by men of the 8th Army since June 1950 exclusive of special drives prior
to 1954 amount to $1,835,822.97.
"The overall contributions including cash and materials to all
the above mentioned causes amount to $3,178,184.91."
AFAK Records. Since the Armed Forces Aid to Korea program began in
1954 (November) each military commander in the 8th Army has had to submit
a report on the voluntary contributions of their men each month. These
contributions are called by AFAK recorders "Category B, non-construction
assistance." The total of such contributions from November
1953 to May 1954 was listed at $856,401.00. For these seven months,
the voluntary troop aid, of only the 8th Army, averaged more than 100
thousand dollars per month.
From the records submitted by the military commanders, headquarters
recorders for AFAK break the giving down into four sections: Public
Welfare, Education, Public Health and Religion. Public Welfare represents
during these seven months 64 per cent of the total, or, if we use a
rough average of 100 thousand dollars per month, this would mean that
$64,000 per month went to Public Welfare. Carefully going over projects
listed under "Public Welfare" revealed that almost 100 per
cent of them were orphanages.
To verify this, and to get statistics on the Air Force and Navy as
well, a spot check of all records of contributions to Korean orphanages
was made on reports for May and June, 1954. This revealed-that $55,406.99
actually went to orphanages, on an average, during each of these two
Estimate Since 1950. On the basis of the above spot check, it is safe
to assume that $55,000 per month has been a continuing amount to Korean
orphanages. Assuming, for convenience, that it has only been $50,000,
it is safe to say that this has been the monthly amount given since
June of 1952 when the war more or less stabilized along its present
lines. For the 24 months from June, 1952, to June, 1954, this would
mean that a total of $1,200,000 went to orphanages.
Even if only half of $50,000 - or $25,000 per month was given during
1951, an additional $300,000 would bring the total to $l,500,000. Allowing
that even during 1950 logistical troops were helping some orphanages
back of the line, and that much of the giving over the 4 years has never
been recorded, it is safe to estimate that a total of $2 million has
actually gone to Korean orphanages in cash and material in the form
of voluntary troop contributions!
Chaplains. In giving consideration to just what has been done for orphans
in Korea, chaplains should consider the above figures. Many- perhaps
most - of these "voluntary- contributions" have been channeled
through them, or were controlled by them, or directed on their advice.
In arriving at the above figures and estimates, only Public Welfare
records were studied. It is probable that some help to orphanages was
included under the Public Health, Education and Religion sections.
Increasing Giving? Gifts to orphanages have doubtless increased since
1950 and are probably still increasing. In 1950 there was too much for
the soldier to do to be concerned with his charity money, and accounting
for it. But since AFAK was begun in 1953, publicity about the program
has probably stimulated interest in giving. The official nature of AFAK
perhaps has made military personnel aware of Korea's welfare problems
and the importance of helping with them. Most interesting of these,
for the men, are the orphanages.
Christmas Parties. As in interesting footnote to this substantial
help to orphanages was an 8th Army report on Christmas parties given
by soldiers in 1953. The Army personnel (again, 6th Air Force and the
Navy are not included) gave a total of 481 -Parties. Korean attendance
(mostly orphan and school children) amounted to 181,296. Gifts amounted
to $496,117.23 or almost $1000 per party.
IV "ARMED FORCES AID TO KOREA"
Official. It would be wrong not to include a few brief statements on
the Armed Forces Aid to Korea (AFAK) program because soldiers have given
of their time and effort so unstintingly in 1953 and 1954. Though AFAK
is official it is a plan that has been right in line with voluntary
contributions, and, in fact, has doubtless spurred such contributions.
AFAK is the only military program in Korea so far which has sought to
learn where and how much military personnel have given to help Koreans.
This has been of great help in preparing the previous statistics and
In short, Armed Forces Aid to Korea is a reconstruction program involving
$15 million worth of available military materials in Korea. Engineering
units put these materials, their construction equipment, and themselves
to work to do various projects of reconstruction or new construction.
General Maxwell B. Taylor is the AFAK director for all services in Korea.
His office must investigate and approve the hundreds of Korean applicants
who present their plans and desired projects through local military
base commanders near their orphanages, schools etc.
Military Operation. Col. John Bowen, Deputy Commander of the 8th Army,
and executive director of AFAK, said that troop aid and AFAK were considered
to be military operations.
He said the specific considerations which prompted AFAK were that 1.
a great Army in the field was no longer fighting a war, 2. materials
were available, 3. great ideological and political implications were
connected with reconstruction of South Korea and compassion for the
losses of Koreans.
It might be added that AFAK was usually where the troops were, and
the troops in Korea are still where destruction was worst. Whole villages,
and even towns, have been restored along the razed 38th parallel, because
Operations involving $15 Million. Of the original $15 million allotted
by the Department of Defense to AFAK, Engineering detachments of the
various divisions and services were given the lion's share of $13,819,647.12
by virtue of the fact they would be called upon to put the funds to
use. The specific allotment of materials was as follows:
|5th Air Force
|Army Service Area
A total of 1828 projects - repair or building of schools, hospitals,
orphanages, houses, roads, bridges, resettlement of families - was approved.
An additional 526 projects were applied for as of May 1, 1954.
AFAK Orphanages. Under AFAK 50 orphanage projects were either completed
or almost completed between November of 1953 and May of 1954; 65 more
were underway. These were not always the building of complete facilities
but often they were.
The Buk Han San orphanage north of Seoul, on the Uijongbu road, is
an excellent example of what AFAK has been doing. The 314th Ordnance
Group had given a great deal of money and material contributions to
the 123 children in the orphanage. When AFAK was announced, Col. A.
C. Wells, Commanding Officer of the 314th Group, arranged for an AFAK
project. Materials for buildings were allotted. Korean farmers near
the children's home (then housed in tents), took an interest in their
own children, went to work to cut local stone for the new buildings.
The men in the 314 contributed more than $10,000 to pay for additional
labor required - for carpenters, ondol" (radiant heated floors)
workers, and other construction workers. A women's club in Philadelphia
learned of the 314th's work, took an interest and provided funds through
the America-Korea Foundation. Secretary of Defense Wilson broke the
ground for this orphanage recently and Mrs. Wilson contributed a sizeable
gift toward the building costs.
Colonel Wells estimated that the completed three buildings (one for
a school, one for dormitory rooms, another for dining facilities and
meeting hall) would have cost well over $100,000, or about 10 times
the AFAK investment.
Negotiations were underway as this survey was being completed to have
Christian Children's Fund take over the supervision of any funds left
when the 314th Group might leave Korea. It might be added that Christian
Children's Fund in America approved giving its regular continuing support
to the Buk Han San orphanage as assurance that the fine buildings would
be able to be maintained, and the children to have security whether
the 314th Ordnance Group remained in Korea or was reassigned.
Unparalleled. AFAK was indeed a fine plan, a stroke of genius and unparalleled
in military history. It is a perfect example of "turning swords
into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.". It
is perhaps, the best antidote to Communist propaganda that still filters
into South Korea. It was especially important, because it coupled itself,
in the building of orphanages, to the voluntary giving of the soldiers
- to the man-to-child relationship that cannot be over emphasized.
V. HOW MILITARY PERSONNEL HAVE GIVEN.
Results. It is important to remember that though the basic motivation
of all giving is usually good, the results of such giving may not be
equally as good.
An example could be found in Pusan, in 1952, when about a million and
a half desperately needed refugees milled about, living in shacks and
indescribably poor conditions in this southern Korean city. At
that time literally piles of high-heeled shoes, sent in relief parcels,
lined the so-called "free market." Some of the shoes
were obviously expensive, and little worn. Doubtless many of them
had been given generously. They were on sale for a few cents a
pair - even fancy alligator pumps with much wear left - but there were
few buyers because even though desperately in need of foot-gear, Korea's
mud and rocks and snow made it impossible for women to walk in high-heeled
shoes, and perhaps more important, because Korean women don't wear high-heeled
Diapers or Milk. Similar things have happened in giving to the
orphanages. In one case, a Mrs. Kang Jung Ae, who is superintendent
of the Taegu City Foundling Home, was given 500 diapers by a Chaplain
stationed in Taegu. This was in 1952. There were almost
150 infants in the Foundling Home at the time. The Chaplain thought
500 diapers (an expensive contribution) would help Mrs. Kang to improved
the health of the babies, most of whom were very ill because of earlier
exposure and malnutrition.
But one day the Chaplain learned that most or al the diapers had reached
the black market. He was understandably concerned. Mrs.
Kang was called to a missionary residence where she could speak in her
own language to a local missionary and account for her actions to the
"Yes, I sold the diapers," she admitted tearfully.
"I bought milk with the money. I needed diapers, it's true.
But without milk my babies would die."
Early Help. In 1950, it wasn't a question of what to give, but
to give something. G.I.s gave candy and canned food to the forsaken
children they encountered on their marches. It is a fact that
for a time this was practically all the outside support the children
As the months passed, however, many of the military units did admirably
in their giving, adjusting from the haphazard giving of those early
days to planned giving and looking toward the future, when, indeed,
the future was still difficult to see, or to know if there was one.
The 2nd Division set up a large trust fund for the Friendship Orphanage
which as near their rear area. This fund reached almost $80,000.
The 5th Regimental Combat Team supported Boys Town, on Ranji Island
near Seoul. Their giving was continuing and dependable and averaged
as much as $1,000 per month which funds were turned over to the YMCA.
The Wolfhound regiment of the 25th Infantry Division has given about
$175,000 to an orphanage in Osaka. The 25th has been in Korea
and Japan a long time, and every pay day while there were there, the
men lined up and gave to the orphanage as soon as they were paid.
They have a sense of responsibility toward their Osaka children.
(This giving is still going on, by he way.)
Likewise, the 1st.Cavalry Division, when it came to Korea, continued
to support several orphanages in Japan, and to keep in touch with them
when the men were on leave in Japan.
Misdirection. There are however, examples of really substantial but
unfortunately misdirected efforts involving thousands upon thousands
of dollars afforded on behalf of orphanages in Korea. One of the most
notable is that of the Happy Mountain Orphanage in Pusan.
The Commanding Officer of the 2nd Logistical Command in Pusan, not
long after the war began, started complete support to this orphanage
which for all practical purposes he founded. It had as of Sept.
1, 1952, more than 350 children.
Then the Korean Base Section, another logistical organization, took
over when this first interested commander loft Korea. Then the
Pusan Military Post gave some support, but both of the succeeding
units gave far less than the original sponsoring officer, and nothing
like "complete support."
When the first Commanding Officer (a man who had such paternal pride
in the orphanage as "his baby" learned that it wasn't the
largest orphanage in Korea, in spite of cautioning about the really
serious overcrowding that then existed, immediately wanted to round
up additional children) left Korea, the Happy Mountain Orphanage was
thrust upon the Welfare Ministry of the Republic of Korea. The government
has been plagued with a terrific headache since. Its welfare coffers
have been empty since the earliest days of the war; an orphanage of
350 children - consistent with the military commanders desires, one
of the largest orphanages in Korea - was a terrible financial drain
on the government, especially because in his desire for the biggest
orphanage he also had a desire commendable enough, for the best.
And while in Korea he secured ample money and goods. He hired workers
profligately, to a far greater extent than the necessary government
policies of meeting minimum needs everywhere. Thus when the government
was forced to take over, the orphanage was greatly overstaffed, and
since many of the staffers were hangers-on, there was great difficulty
in forcing them from their quarters and rations. On June 7 of this year,
what was left of the Happy Mountain Orphanage - a mere handful of children,
moved to Seoul. It was at one time, probably the best-known orphanage
in Korea, visited by all dignitaries.
Munske Orphanage. A similar thing happened at the Munske Orphanage
in Seoul. When Seoul was liberated first, the homeless children there
- (a thousand were collected on the streets of the desolate, ruined
city) - were sent to the Orphans Home of Korea on Cheju Island in a
dramatic airlift operation.
When the second liberation took place, again hundreds of orphaned children
were found. A Colonel Munske, Commanding Officer of the first KCAC team
in Seoul, started an orphanage for these children. It was another very
large project that by Sept. 1, 1952, reached 575 in number. The story
was repeated, however; Munske was reassigned. With him went the keen
interest that had kept the money flowing in for the children. Very unfortunately
the orphanage had to be disbanded. Many of the children could
be transferred to other orphanages; many others were back on the streets
as beggars and vagrants.
Chun Chon Orphanage. A Masonic organization at Chun Chon, just below
the 38th parallel, wanted to help an orphanage with funds they had available.
There was no good orphanage nearby, though children without homes in
Chun Chon were many. The Square and Compass Club at a nearby base discussed
the orphanage with Chun Chon City officials and were given land on which
to build a new children's home. The club gave more than $7,000 and the
orphanage was built; 60 children were admitted. Then the Club, and other
interested men on the base, wrote to their homes in America and asked
that families and friends send clothing, toys and food for the orphanage.
These began to arrive almost by the carload. Soon, however, many
of the things began to appear on the black market. The Masonic Club
was very disappointed, interest in the orphanage waned, and all support
The city of Chun Chon, without any funds for orphanages, nor any welfare
work except keeping its people alive, was forced to take over the orphanage
and run it. Standards immediately dropped very low. This orphanage,
like any, has tremendous continuing expenses, and the people of Chun
Chon are without means to meet them.
The problem here was that once the children were in the home, it was
next to impossible - morally or physically - to say, "Get
out. Go to the home you haven't got".
Whether it would have been better not to start the project in the first
place, is very difficult to say. These were needy children in Chun Chon.
The Masons saw the need but because of their inability to operate the
orphanage themselves, they were soon turned away from supporting it
because the materials they had given reached the black market. In one
drive for support from America, a very large number of toys arrived
- enough for several for each child in the orphanage. In Korea, to have
toys at all is practically an unknown luxury. To have more than one
for each child is unheard of. The superintendent evidently felt justified
in selling all or most of them to get money for food, as the toys were
soon reported on the black market.
"Top Three Orphanages"
In another case, an NCO club at a military base not far from Seoul
gave more than $8000 in cash, to an orphanage of about 120 children
near their base. The superintendent, upon investigation, was found to
have used the money for everything except the children. Church leaders
in the town reported that she operated a house of prostitution and that
some of the money had gone into modernization of these facilities. She
drank heavily and often appeared on the streets drunk. She seldom stayed
at the orphanage where the children lived not much better than little
animals, in rags in spite of the fact that the NCO club had also taken
many boxes of relief clothes to the orphanage. There were only two matrons
for the 120 children.
Since this was a large base, the several Chaplains investigated the
difficulties and recommended that the NCO Club stop giving to the orphanage
which had posted a sign saying that its name was now "The Top Three
Orphanage," for the top three graders who supported it. The decision
to stop helping was not easy because the children were still there,
and even if only a small portion of the money given went for their benefit,
it was so desperately needed that the Sergeants hesitated stopping even
when confronted with the superintendent's aberrations.
New Project. The base was supporting two other orphanages in the area.
The Chaplains organized a committee of the NCO representatives and officers
on the base interested in the various orphanages being helped. Members
of Christian Children's Fund's Korea staff were called in to act in
an advisory capacity.
The CCF representatives contacted both KCAC and the Kyung Gi government
welfare office to learn that two of the orphanages being supported by
the base were definitely earmarked for enforced closure by the government.
A plan was worked out by CCF, KCAC and the government and recommended
to the Chaplains' orphanage committee. This plan suggested that 1.
a separate and new orphanage be built with money available on the base,
2. children from the three homes would be sent to the new project, 3.
help from the base and from the government to the three errant orphanages
be stopped. (This would include both the military giving and the rice,
which the government gives from KCAC supplies. Unless the
military giving were stopped these very bad institutions can continue
to function, and if only government aid were stopped, superintendents
had an oven stronger plea.), 4. the government would recommend a proper
superintendent for the new orphanage.
The government also pledged to 1. try to find rice land to help support
the orphanage, 2. to establish a committee for the superintendent, 3.
help set up a juridical person to give the orphanage legal status.
The Chaplains and their committee seemed pleased at the cooperation
of the specialized agencies and the government and pledged to provide
funds for the new buildings (securing an AFAK project if possible),
to provide substantial continuing support while they were in Korea,
and to leave money in trust after they left Korea.
Trust Funds - the 45th Division. There are many examples of how military
units did the right thing by orphanages in which they were interested
from the very beginning. The 46th Division, with units on Che ju Do,
Korea's, large island to the south, left a trust fund for the Orphans
Home of Korea, an orphanage of nearly 700 children (1000 at one time),
the largest in Korea. The amount was substantial - $41,000. Lt. Col.
Edgar Poole, former adjutant of the Division, reported that the money
was placed in an interest-bearing trust fund by the 45th Division Association
now in Oklahoma. Interest is being channeled through the 8th Army, and,
if the 8th Army leaves, will be channeled through the American consulate.
To be more accurate, the 8th Army and the Consulate agreed to act in
an advisory capacity and to check on the use of the funds by the Orphanage.
Only the interest is to be used until such time as a worthy project
of augmentation of the orphanage's facilities or construction of new
buildings is presented to the Division Association. Capital may be advanced
if the Association desires to do so upon being convinced that the immediate
use of the capital will benefit the orphanage more than the continued
investment and interest thus earned.
VI. THE KOREA CIVIL ASSISTANCE COMMAND (KCAC)
The Most for Orphanages. It should be mentioned at the outset that
the Korea Civil Assistance Command reports that it takes care of about
65 per cent of the needs of children in orphanages. (The difference,
if it is made up, is done so by soldier contributions and by the voluntary
KCAC has done the most for orphanages in Korea. Their mission has been
to prevent disease, starvation and unrest. Failure to help homeless
children would have meant failures in all these categories. The official
organization works in close integration with the ROK Welfare and Health
What KCAC Gives. To the approved orphanages KCAC distributes these
|Grain (Rice or Barley)
|One pound (3 Korean "hop") per child per
|40g per child per day
|adequate for basic needs (except school uniforms)
|adequate for basic needs
|for winter proofing, repairs and alterations
|Distribution of CARE packages
|Occasional other help from UN member nations - especially canned
KCAC Policy. KCAC policy regarding orphanages is very important for
Chaplains in Korea to know now. Good orphanages are being selected for
continued help. Second class, or subpar orphanages, will be given a
minimum of support in the future. (The Korean Ministry of Welfare, who
actually give out the KCAC materials, went further and said they would
implement KCAC policy by actually forcing bad orphanages to close and
transfer their children to good orphanages.
Major Command. The Korea Civil Assistance Command became a major command,
responsible to the Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Forces, in 1953.
Thus it is primarily a U. S. Army, soldier-staffed, organization now
under the guidance of General F. L. Hayden. There are both Department
of Army Civilian specialists and United Nations health, welfare, transportation
and supply officers working with KCAC. Their cooperative efforts with
the Army have been commendable and the net results excellent.
It is interesting to see a Paratrooper Lt. Colonel, or an Artillery
Colonel suddenly placed as Commander of a Provincial KCAC Team, confronting
serious welfare and health problems completely outside their experience.
Some of these commanders have acquitted themselves admirably as have
their Army subordinates. When and if KCAC leaves Korea - with no successor
organization to discharge its specific and direct tasks of staving off
disease, unrest and starvation - the orphanages In Korea will have great
difficulty in carrying on.
VII. OTHER PROGRAMS
a. Voluntary Agencies
KAVA. There is now in Korea an organization of voluntary agencies called
the Korea Association of Voluntary Agencies (KAVA). The bulletin of
the First Annual Meeting of KAVA listed 31 member voluntary agencies.
It was announced at the meeting that since the Korean War started $35
million worth of cash and materials have been given to various relief
activities. During the first three months of 1954 it was announced that
$3 million worth of material and cash was given to Korean relief by
its many secular and religious member agencies.
For the purpose of this report it is necessary to point out that not
all of this went to Korean orphanages. Most of the agencies have very
broad programs of relief, though many include orphanage work. Among
the three large Protestant Missionary groups working in Korea - namely
the Presbyterian, Methodist and Holiness Missions - none supply complete
support to orphanages affiliated with their local Korean churches, nor
are there more than one or two instances where their workers are assigned
to full-time orphanage work. All of these, and the other denominations
working in Korea, however, have taken much interest in helping orphanages
which, since 1950 have sprung up and understandably called themselves
"Presbyterian", "Methodist" or "Holiness"
because a Presbyterian Minister, or a Methodist Deacon or a Holiness
Elder may have helped start them or may have become their superintendents.
Among the Catholic groups working in Korea, the Columban Fathers, and
Maryknoll Fathers conduct orphanages within the very broad framework
and large programs of the National Catholic Welfare Council. The Council,
as in the cases of the Protestant missions, announced that it gives
"partial support" and relief supplies to 45 orphanages.
Chaplains' Help. Chaplains and other military personnel have been very
helpful to the Voluntary Agencies. Especially during the earlier days
of the war, it would have been impossible for the various missions to
carry out their various important tasks without the Chaplains' help.
Also, military personnel have contributed a great deal of money, materials
and time in aiding the voluntary agencies. CARE, among secular agencies,
has a good program whereby military personnel can purchase food and
other designated relief packages through PXs in Korea. Many of those
have been directed to orphanages.
Used Clothing. Used clothing has been only one of the relief programs
of the voluntary agencies, and has been very important. It might be
easy to overrate the importance of giving used clothing from now on,
Some voluntary agency representatives in Korea, seeing the piles of
used clothing arrive each week, have vocally wondered whether a saturation
point has been reached. Probably it has for the "clean-out-your-closet"
type of package. In many cases, only rags are sent out and in such cases,
the value, especially to children, is possibly less than if the amount
spent on postage to get the box to Korea were turned into a cash donation.
So often adult clothing far outnumbers the children's clothing, more
in need. Then, too, the Koreans - a proud people even in their despair
- don't wear what Americans wear. Even if there were the aftermath of
atomic warfare in New York City, very few New York women would be seen
on 5th Avenue's rubble strewn sidewalks in worn out Korean "chogoris"
(women's dresses) or Japanese Kimonos sent as relief items by sympathetic
Korean and Japanese women in Seoul and Tokyo through the Buddhist League.
Thus, new materials, food, equipment or cash donations to Korea are
probably now far more effective than used clothing.
Especially for the orphanages, giving material suitable for making
school uniforms is about the finest gift possible. Schools in Korea
have stuck stubbornly, and probably wrongly, to the tradition of having
children wear uniforms. These represent a very heavy financial burden
for the orphanages. But without a uniform, a child is not accepted in
school nor by his classmates as being normal. For the boys, either blue
or grey trousers with white shirts and caps are worn. The girls usually
wear dark blue woolen skirts with white blouses. Different schools have
Values. The money and goods given by the voluntary agencies amounts
to a sizeable sum - $35 million since 1950. As compared with the big
official relief programs, which must be listed in the hundreds of millions,
it isn't as momentous. But the help of the voluntary agencies takes
on greater meaning because like the giving of the military men, it is
direct. Always there have been representatives of a Mission or relief
agency on the scene, in many cases living through some of the same trying
privations as the Koreans themselves trying to do a job for them. Also,
these devoted people speak the language of the Koreans, and could hear
their problems, learn directly the proportions of their sufferings.
Just having these people there, and caring was of inestimable value
to the morale of the people. In most cases the older Missionaries were
old friends, not just to the million Christians in Korea, but also to
non-Christians in all walks of life.
More than once since 1950, when a Missionary had to return to the United
States on furlough, or sometimes for retirement, literally hundreds
of Korean friends would come to see them off, with many a sincere tear
shed at the departure.
But aside from the morale factor, the voluntary agencies have been
effective in Korea because they had people who knew the country - often
knew it from decades back because they were born there - knew the language,
and knew the problems. They could sift the "sob stories" from
the genuine pleas for needed help.
b. UNKRA and FOA.
Future? No one knows the future of welfare, reconstruction and relief
in Korea, especially as it relates to the bigger programs of official
status. KCAC, an Army agency supposed to be only emergency relief, has
overstayed itself in Korea by more than six months. And, as mentioned,
has done an exceptionally fine job. Original plans were that the United
Nations Korean reconstruction Agency (UNKRA) would take over all activities
of KCAC 180 days after hostilities ceased, which would have been about
January of this year. Emergency needs continued and so did KCAC. But
the future of KCAC is uncertain because it is military, and was designed
for a military operation of preventing unrest as a necessary function
of war. It did that, and has done much more.
Other big official programs on the scene in Korea include UNKRA and
the Foreign Operations Administration (FOA) under the direction of Mr.
C. Tyler Wood, American economist and representative of President Eisenhower.
Mr. Wood's job in Korea is that not only of handling FOA but also of
being economic coordinator of the several big official agencies at work
on relief and reconstruction.
The big question mark looms over whether the emergency situation will
be sufficiently under control by the time KCAC and the Army leave Korea,
and if not, will UNKRA or FOA set up departments to accomplish relief
work similar to that which KCAC is performing? In simplest terms for
this study, who gives rice and medicine and clothing to Korea's 50,000
homeless children in orphanages? And who makes plans for the other estimated
50,000 homeless children for whom there is no room in the orphanages,
and who are beggars, or delinquents or street children because of this
lack of care?
Both UNKRA and FOA have reported that the goals of their programs are
long-range reconstruction and economic betterment for Korea, and that
they are not designed to perform specific welfare jobs.
VIII. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA
On the Scene. The Korean Ministry of Social Welfare, under Dr. Solemn
Park, is very much on the scene in everything having to do with Korean
orphanages which are primarily its responsibilities. The size and complexity
of the Ministry's problems are, however almost beyond description.
Of first importance is the fact that the Korean government has no history
of child welfare, no adequate legislation and an insufficient understanding
of social responsibility.
Just a Handful. One of the welfare officers in KCAC, with praise for
the sincerity of many of the workers in the Ministry of Social Welfare,
said that "the ROK Welfare Organization was just about adequate
to handle a county welfare set up in America. A pitiful handful of mostly
untrained people are trying to run a national organization."
This, added to the fact that 75 per cent of the Korean national budget
goes toward maintaining their huge army - one of the largest in the
world - must make their tasks seem overwhelming.
Only 25 per cent of the budget goes for all other functions of government:
Welfare, Health, Reconstruction, Agriculture, Forestry, and the myriad
other government responsibilities.
More important is the fact that even without a military program, Korea
would not support the branches of her own government. Completely caring
for her orphans alone would take a very sizeable part of her total income.
Appreciation and Coordination. The government welfare officials are
very appreciative of soldier contributions and the help of all the agencies
in Korea. However, Mr. Kim Hak Moo, Chief of the Bureau of Child Welfare
of the Korean Government said outright in an interview that much more
coordination was needed among the voluntary agencies, military units
and the government (on a provincial level).
Originally, according to Mr. Kim, all help was so desperately needed
there was little possibility of doing too much in any one place. Using
a Korean adage, he said "We had to open and offer all four gates
of Seoul, so all would give, any way they could, to whomever they could.
People were dying."
Now he recommends that the giving be controlled. Soldiers have given
generously to people along the front lines. But when the war was still
going on, particularly toward the last, gifts might not have been properly
used because there was practically no way to check on its end use.
Mr. Kim said the government was going to start using much more caution
in approving orphanages, and thus try to set standards for them. Four
basic principles will be involved:
1. Not to increase the number of children in institutions if possible.
2. Register the institutions legal, juridical persons.
3. Make sure the children get proper education.
4. Encourage orphanages to be smaller. (Many orphanages in Korea have
400, 500 or even 600 or more children. In these orphanages children
got very little personal care. Very few orphanages are cottage or family
plan. Very few have enough workers. Practically none have trained workers.)
Lack of Training. This lack of trained people is perhaps at the moment
the biggest problem of the orphanages and the Welfare Ministry of the
Korean government. Not only they, but also all phases of Korean relief
and reconstruction face this difficulty. Almost every important task
in Korea prior to 1945 was performed by Japanese. Whether it was foreman
of a road repair crew, or engineer on a locomotive, or superintendent
of an orphanage, the Japanese did these jobs. Sixty-five percent of
the teachers in Korea were Japanese. This has left a great void of leaders.
Long range suffering in Korea has stemmed far more from this curse than
from the day to day tyrannies of the Japanese occupation.
The orphanages must live with this terrible lack of preparedness for
their difficult tasks.
IX. CONTINUING NEEDS
No More "Page One." It wouldn't be an exaggeration
to say that Korea is the being-forgotten country. When the war was on,
Korea was "page one" in every newspaper in the world. And
Korea's orphaned children were pictured regularly.
Now, Indo-China has come and gone and perhaps the next pictures of
hungry children will be from Formosa, or Malaya or Burma.
But in these tropical countries, where the weather is warm all year
and where food is plentiful, there aren't the heart-rending problems
of icy Korea. This isn't the time to forget -Korea - her existence,
nor her lessons nor her needs. Soldiers in the field, looking across
the Chorwon valley, aren't forgetting any of these things. And so it
is -all along the front and even in the rear areas of Korea today.
Korea, like a man with typhoid fever, has become prey to many other
ills. Other maladies pile themselves on, one after another. There are
too many refugees, overcrowding, so there is too little water.
Too little water means fires got out of control quickly. But fire trucks,
or any trucks, and sufficient men to man them have gone to the army,
so fires practically must burn themselves out.
There are too few houses, so people move into shacks - jammed one next
to another. Disease spreads. Cleanliness is impossible, A fire
soon means thousands of people are without shelter.
Seoul Fire. While in Seoul preparing material for this report, the
worst Seoul fire since the war took place. On the streets again were
children newly made homeless crying for someone from whom they were
separated. One little boy stood and watched the flames, and cried, and
clung to a pitiful little parcel. He didn't know where his mother and
father were. The parcel was all he had saved from his house.
One man rolled in the street, hysterical. He had just come from Pusan
where he lost all his belongings and his business in the big fire there.
He set up a small shop in Seoul, had it operating, and had a few possessions
and a place to sleep. Now these were gone. The man had to be led away.
Help of military men in situations like these takes on great significance.
Proffered blankets, food and a home for children mean ever so much more
when the need for these things is as great as it still is in Korea.
Prolific. As the Statistics will bear out, as of the summer of
1954 there were at least 51,000 children in orphanages. Even with plans
to try to locate parents, most of these children must remain, in many
cases for several more years. Korea, like all Oriental countries,
is prolific with her offspring, just as she is prolific in suffering.
There are over 300,000 war-widows in Korea; many of these women have
put their children in orphanages. Many will never be able to take them
out, because in the Korean custom, widows don't remarry. Once a family
unit is broken by death, it isn't reestablished.
And if the Welfare Ministry is correct, there are still 50,000 children
who need help of some kind very badly. These children may not all be
orphans, but they are all needy. The tough, beggar and "hustling"
children are neediest of all, and hardest to care for.
Pusan. KCAC in Pusan still picks up at least 300 children per month.
Many of these are professional beggars, who have been picked up before.
But many are not. The problem of beggars has to be taken seriously.
It isn't the fault of military personnel, but it is true that the beggars
live mostly off them. Koreans have little to offer beggar children.
Around the Army Railway Transportation offices, scores of children,
of whom most should be in orphanages, live off the soldiers' handouts.
These boys - and sometimes little girls - are hard as nails. They're
fully equipped to provide a soldier with everything from a shoeshine
to a black market deal for his cigarettes, to women, often as not their
Doing something for these "Kuji" boys is one of the big problems
facing South Korea's Welfare and Justice Ministries.
1. Soldier Support. After KCAC, soldier support
has been the largest single source of help to homeless children in Korea.
It has, in addition, been doubly important because it was personal and
direct. Their giving didn't wait for the dust to settle, or for a better
When this help goes? This is the big question
in Korea. There are orphanages started by and named after military units.
Drive along any military supply road in Korea today and you'll see signs
directing you to the "10th Brigade Orphanage," or to the "Top
Three Orphanage" and almost everywhere, even when the orphanages
use Korean names, underneath will be a sign saying that "This orphanage
is supported by the X Engineers of the Y Division."
2. The lnterest of Individuals. The military support
to orphanages in Korea, and elsewhere, if it is sustained over any long
period of time, depends upon the interest of one or a very few individuals
in nearby military establishments. This highly personalized interest
often ceases when the individual or individuals are transferred. The
highly mobile nature of military personnel render support to children's
homes as anything but dependable.
The military is far wiser not to start their own
orphanages that are completely dependent upon them. Sometimes a commanding
officer will start an ambitious project - as in the case of the Happy
Mountain and Munske orphanages - and then, when transferred, say to
the government, "Here is your children's home."
KCAC Welfare Experts say that in nearly all countries
the governments have a hands-off policy towards orphanages. Government
orphanages are usually demonstration projects only. Thus for the military
to start ordinary orphanages and turn them over to the government of
South Korea is both unwise and impractical. The too-generous
support of the military is impossible to maintain. But it is not easy
to drop a child from two bowls of rice per meal to two per day.
3. Future Support by ROK. It is a simple but incontestable
fact that the Republic of Korea government cannot support the large
number of orphanages it will be left with if the American and Allied
military establishments leave Korea.
4. Three Stages. There have been three stages regarding
the orphanage situation in Korea that will be good for the Chaplains
to know. First, there was the Starvation Stage. In 1950, '51 and '52,
"all four gates to Seoul" had to be offered when it came to
helping children. The slightest help might and did save children's lives.
Second, and more recently, there has come the Investigation
stage that perhaps exists today, according to the announced plans of
both KCAC and the Welfare Minister. Needs are still great, but the immediate
desperation was ameliorated to the extent that it's time to get rid
of orphanage racketeers, the camp-following type of orphanage superintendent,
and those who use hungry children for their own gains.
The third stage, the Instructional stage, will be
upon us soon. This will be the long-range training, organizing, advising
of the nearly 500 orphanages
In Korea the Korean orphanage workers need to learn
everything - from such basic things as separating sick children from
the well ones, feeding enough protein, teaching cleanliness, using modern
techniques of disciplining children instead of the old Japanese militant
institutional system that still prevails.
5. Deceitful Koreans. Contrary to what many
people, especially military personnel who have been stationed in Korea
think about the people, because they may have been deceived by a few
of the worst Koreans, the people have many admirable qualities.
One of these is their "family system" which refutes statements
often propounded that "the Koreans don't care about themselves,
so why should we care about them." It is true that there
is not the broad sense of social responsibility that there is in most
Christian countries, but the families do their best to take care of
their own. Mr. James Metsker, of KCAC, said, "the family
system is Korea's single greatest resource." The large giving
of military personnel proves, very clearly, that they have faith in
the people of Korea.
Even the commanding general of one of the major branches
of service in Korea gave substantial money help to an orphanage.
He gave his own funds and encouraged his men to give. Then, almost
overnight, loaded down with the good things they had received, the children
and the superintendent disbursed - probably to their own homes.
It's this kind of thing that must be carefully watched in Korea, and
the military units, by themselves, are not in the best position to do
so. All in all, however, there are probably no more misdemeanors
of this kind in Korea than would exist in America if America were facing
the same desperate problems.
1. Better Distribution.
Military units along the front lines, or in other
congested UN military areas, would do well to contact voluntary agencies
to find out needs in other areas. It has been unfortunate that
giving has been so often concentrated to only immediate vicinities of
military bases. With regard to orphanages, scores of needy ones
in isolated areas have been without support
AFAK has been doing its best to remedy this situation
by sending "Task Forces" of Korean soldiers into rear areas
to recommend projects.
An example of how this bad distribution of military
giving has happened is found in the city of Kim Chun, a city of 50,000
people. This city is the one that was wiped off the map early in the
war. There is only one orphanage in the Kim Chun area. But
look at a city like Suwon, not much larger than Kim Chun. Suwon
didn't realize half the destruction and yet there are 11 orphanages
in the city that accommodate more than 1,000 children. While Kim Chun's
single orphanage, the Imanuel Bo Yook Wen, is crowded with only 100
children. In the city of Suwon, within a 20-mile radius, are another
Suwon is the center of a great deal of both Army
and Air Force activity. There isn't a base of any size within two hours
drive of Kim Chun. The superintendent of the Immanual orphanage said,
however, that there were at least 100 more real orphans in Kim Chun
who desperately needed to be in a children's home.
The Provinces of Cholla Nam Do and Cholla Buk Do
in Southwestern Korea are also practically without military help, and
yet their cities were badly destroyed and military help is still very
much needed. Missionary organizations have representatives in or near
all these isolated sections of Korea. They can outline needs, and direct
funds for the military personnel further north.
2. Exchanging Money, More Help to Children.
Chaplains would do well to learn about the problem
of exchanging money in Korea. The legal rate of exchange for military
personnel is considerably lower than the legal rate of exchange for
voluntary agencies. Thus money channeled through an approved international
charity working in Korea, presumably because of the need for its
services, is handled at a more realistic rate of exchange according
to what the "Hwan" can really buy. It is similar to the attempts
of many countries to seek dollar income and desired business. Finland,
for example, has a legal rate of exchange for residents of the country
of 240 Finnish Markas for one dollar. To encourage dollar-spending tourists
to come to Finland, the government has established a "tourist rate"
of 360 Markas to the dollar. Britain, Japan and other countries give
special no tax concessions to dollar-spending, visitors. And so in Korea,
voluntary agencies are given special exchange considerations.
In Korea, the exchange picture is constantly changing.
As compared with the military rate of exchange, however, the "religious
dollar" his usually been twice and sometimes three times as high
as the "official dollar." Money thus turned over to these
agencies will do three times as much good for children in orphanages.
3. Don't Underestimate Needs.
Chaplains should ponder the very large continuing
expenses of taking care of a family of 100 children or more. There has
been a slight tendency on the part of some in Korea to feel that when,
over a period of a year, they have given many boxes of used clothing
and some left-over food from the base, and a few dollars here and there,
the needs of the orphanage were adequately met. Except for the few notable
examples of too much already cited, such hasn't been the case. In the
orphanages which Christian Children's Fund owns and operates in Korea,
minimum money needs over and above the fine KCAC support are estimated
to run anywhere from $5.00 to $10.00 per child per month. This is based
on the more favorable rate of exchange. It does not include any major
repairs to buildings. An orphanage of 100 children would thus need from
$500to $1,000 per month. In Korea this is a large sum to have to come
by 12 months year.
Most orphanage workers receive no salary, or only
nominal salaries. Salaries are badly needed and these should be fairly
adequate to attract as many educated and higher type workers as possible.
As has perhaps already been suggested adequately,
Chaplains who have been discouraged by the bad use some of the orphanage
workers have put their gifts to would do well to remember the tremendous
temptations of great despair. One orphanage superintendent said that
if anyone wanted to write a thesis for his PhD "he should analyze
the Korean teardrop, and. what it has been shed for." His statement
deserves some thought.
For every fake - who misuses what was given for the
orphans - there are a score of fine, devoted Koreans who are doing the
very best they can with almost nothing.
4. Consider Korean Realities, Don't Aim Too
It is definitely wrong for military units, through
their Chaplains or otherwise, to start anything they can't finish. Sometimes,
as in the case of the Happy Mountain and Munske orphanages, aims and
standards have been too high, more-according to Western ideas. Many
units have looked to the future and left trust funds. Others
have been careful not to spoil superintendents and thus take away initiative.
Others have looked toward an orphanage achieving self-support and self-sufficiency
by recommending that their funds go toward buying rice and farm land,
setting up vocational training for the children or cottage-type industries.
These things are highly desirable.
5. Look to the Voluntary Agencies.
There are many voluntary organizations that are not
just of the emergency relief type in Korea. They will work in Korea
for many years to come. (A list of all the voluntary agencies is included
at the end of this report.) They are happy to help military units keep
in touch with either individual children or with orphanages. The various
child-welfare and Missionary organizations are notable among these.
There are going to be critical days ahead for orphanages
when their Army and Air Force and Navy friends are sent home or transferred
to other parts of the Far East. As some units
have kept in touch with orphanages in Japan, there is an even greater
need for the men to try to keep in touch with orphanages in Korea for
which they have done so much up until now. Through agencies that will
remain in Korea, help-can still be sent.
6. Improve the Standards.
At the moment raising the standards in the orphanages
is one of the big problems. Each military unit will have doctors, or
former teachers and perhaps child welfare workers. These people can
start now to recommend improvements in the orphanages they are helping
financially. In many cases the military units have a more direct contact
with an individual orphanage than any other organization. They can specify
improvements for which their money should go.
7. Investigate Future Needs.
In every case, Chaplains would do well to investigate
the setting up of trust funds, large or small, or leaving a fund of
money behind to be apportioned out over a period of time. A long-range
plan of help can be established with such funds. Orphanages may have
to close without this or similar help, especially those that have depended
heavily upon the military in the past. Army Divisions, Air Wings, or
Fleet Units have a fine opportunity to work here as an organization.
8. Determine the Needy from the Thieves.
Most military personnel stationed in Korea have been
accosted by "beggar" boys that wait around the RTOs and PXs
and main gates of bases for a handout. It is only worth casual mention
and caution that such children, sometimes gangs of them, have been organized
by Fagins, and taught to cheat, steal and procure women along with their
begging. The incidence of real orphans or needy children among them
is rather small now. The ROK Welfare Ministry and UNKRA are seeking
some answers to this delinquency problem. No matter how woebegone such
children make themselves appear, the military men who are constantly
sought out by these children would do the country a favor by not patronizing
9. Investigate the Orphanage.
Before giving to an orphanage any substantial help,
Chaplains would do well to follow these few steps:
a. Find out if the orphanage is directly or indirectly
associated with any international voluntary agency. Contact the agency's
representative in Korea.
b. Find out if the orphanage gets KCAC supplies regularly.
If not, it has not been approved by the ROK Ministry of Welfare. Chances
are there are good reasons why it has not. There are KCAC teams in each
Provincial Capital. They can answer many of the Chaplain's questions.
(If the orphanage does receive regular supplies it means the two representatives
of the Provincial Welfare Bureau have investigated the finances and
operations of the home and given their approval. Also the home has become
established as a juridical person or has applied for this status or
has definite plans towards so becoming. It means the orphanage has had
to show good faith by owning $5000 worth of immovable property and have
$1,250 in cash or negotiable securities on hand. The property cannot
be sold without the consent of the board of trustees and thus no superintendent
can simply dispose of holdings for his own benefit.)
c. Ask if the orphanage keeps financial records.
These should be available for this inspection.
d. Try to determine from these contacts what kind
of help the orphanage needs most and adjust giving accordingly.
e. Find out, if possible, whether the orphanage superintendent
has had his position for a long time.