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Pacific Stars and Stripes, Oct. 29, 1952

Korean Orphans Get U.S. Aid

WITH UNCACK, Oct. 29- The little boy looked about three years old as he squatted shivering outside the overseas telephone exchange in downtown Pusan. He has only a pair of drawers and one rubber shoe with a blackened foot inside.

An American sergeant, about to call home, took his field jacket and put it snuggly around the small child while an American officer rubbed the child to warm him.

"SEEMS EVERYBODY has troubles," said the sergeant. "I was raised an orphan myself. Wonder what we should do about him?"

Almost with his words a Korean official appeared. He squatted to talk with the little child in Korean. "He has no mother and father," he told the two Americans. "I will take him to the Happy Mountain orphanage."

The Happy Mountain orphanage is only one of many orphanages in Korea today which are making use of supplies given by such voluntary organizations as American Relief for Korea (ARK) to help with the staggering problem of abandoned and parentless children throughout Korea.

SUPPLIES BROUGHT in through the Civil Relief in Korea program are distributed by the United Nations Civil Assistance Command Korea, (UNCACK) to Republic of Korea welfare agencies on jointly agreed allocations.

Seriousness of the problem, obvious to anyone who walks Korea's streets, together with measures being taken to meet it was outlined recently by Aage M. Peterson, public welfare officer of UNCACK.

"The problem of abandoned children has existed in Korea ever since the Communists invaded South Korea in June, 1950," says Peterson.

HE POINTED OUT that when U.N. forces met such children, especially boys, they took care of them for a long while.

"They soon discovered that this was quite a pleasant life," Peterson continued. "Other boys who had their parents became aware of the fact and left their homes in the south and followed the forces north. In their eyes it sometimes even became profitable in both financial terms and freedom from discipline to become an 'orphan' ."

Many such have since been removed from troops for security reasons as well as the safety of the children.

"THE FACT THAT many of them have been so attracted to their new adventurous life (and often escape) has posed a problem for the hard-pressed authorities, who are sometimes forced to round up the beggar boys again.

In order to overcome this problem, new children's homes have been established with U.N. help throughout South Korea. One such was the recent home at Sokok, five miles south of Wonju. It began operating recently when 113 such boys were collected from Wonju streets. Many of them were in miserable condition, suffering from malnutrition and lack of sufficient clothing.

TWO DAYS AFTER its opening, 60 bales of used clothing arrived in Wonju, part of an ARK donation. Two bales immediately went to the new home, where the clothing was distributed to those who needed it most.

In September, allocations of ARK clothing included 423 bales of clothing and 82 bags of shoes and clothing-gifts from hundreds of American homes-while in October allocations totaled 591 bales of ARK clothing and 75 bags and boxes of shoes and clothing.

SO THE BATTLE goes on to care for war's greatest victims-the orphans. It is a gigantic operation that requires heavy commitments not only from governments but private organizations like ARK, whose pointed slogan is:

"Him that hath two coats let him give to him that hath none."




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