Anna’s House is an NGO that is recognized by the local government and is committed to work for street people: street children, homeless people, and the elderly people who have been left behind by their families.
Our work started in 1992 and we specifically reached out to the lonely and abandoned elderly people. We offered them daily lunch and all other forms of moral support (House of the peace). Then as days went by , we gradually expanded (1998) our work to the street children and the homeless.
Our experience has a holistic approach to reality: while it is committed to solving the physiological needs such as food, clothes, medicine, we also helped them with their various problems that are at the root and the cause of these realities by providing legal, psychological counseling work and a safe home.
Our Center / corporation carries out its activities in two distinct but coordinated areas.
The 'Anna’s House' Center. This mostly deals with adults with serious problems: homeless, young adults with various problems and the abandoned elderly. Every day, from Monday to Saturday, we manage feeding program (from 4.30 pm to 7 pm) where about 450/500 people come a day (of our guests, about 70% have a meal a day). Then we also offer services that helped them with their personal hygiene such as service, showers, and clothes distribution. These are all primarily facilitated in the second floor. Additionally, we have other services such as legal advice, medical clinic, education against addiction (alcohol and gambling), advice in finding a job, and a training school in weekly deadline.
On the third and fourth floors of the building. there is a shelter where 30 homeless people live. In our hopes to allow them to be more self-sufficient in the future, we also manage a small factory that not only gives them a monthly salary but also set themselves up to start a new life (about 1,500-2,000 US $ per month). This is when the saying goes “Education saves lives.” This is our way of helping them to re-integrate into society and gives them a sense of worth and dignity. Then for this group we also have music therapy (a beautiful choir was born that also performs in public events), art therapy, sports therapy.
Then we have a network of six centers to welcome and help young children and young adults who ran away from home due to some kind of abuse by their families.
a. For small children who have been abandoned or have suffered abuse or violence by their parents, we manage a ‘Group Home’, 7 children, where these children live until they reach adulthood or by the time when they reach 24 years old. They all attend public school. And we oversee their formative itinerary both pedagogical and psychological.
b. For the teenagers who come from the street, they are first accommodated at the reception center: 'Purumy'. Here the boys can stay for about a year and during this period, the highly qualified social worker will closely monitor and help in understanding the causes of their discomfort and help them through these training programs, psychological counseling and group therapy. The goal of this center is to help children solve the problems that led them to leave their families and return to their parents.
c. When this program comes to an end and the children, for various reasons, cannot return to their families of origin, they are welcomed in the 'Ghung janghy' shelter. Here children find a familiar environment where they can finish their studies or access various university degrees according to their aptitudes. Graduates or with a professional certificate, upon reaching the age of 24, they leave this center and enter the workforce in the real world.
d. When these young people, now adults, enter the workforce out there, we have two different support and follow-up programs; the first is 'Charipkuan'. The operators of this center on a regular basis, twice a month, go to meet the young people who have left our facilities and entered society, in their homes with a program that intends to support young people in this new journey through psychological interviews and financial support (US $ 200-300 per month) if and when they need it. So, the boys/girls are followed and helped even after leaving our residential facilities.
e. For some, when they leave our centers and enter the real world out there, they may have a had time finding a place to live in. To address this need, we have 3 apartments that are used as 'Sharing house' program. Here children can have a home free of charge until they are able to get their own house. Also, in this phase there is a continuous follow up of the subjects.
f. In Korea there is talk of about 100,000 homeless and about 390,000 teenagers who run away from home. Based on these official government statistics, the problem of adolescents is much more serious than that of adults on the street. To respond to this problem, we have created 'AZIT': the bus that runs at night (from 4 pm to 11 pm) through the streets of the city in search of adolescents who run away from home. ‘The boys/girl don't come to us ... we go to the them where they live’ this is our motto. We feel that we need to be proactive in finding them so that the won’t have to stay on the streets. At AZIT, we have a bus and two tents. We welcome the kids we meet on the street with food, legal counseling, medical care and psychological, training and games. It is our way of reaching out to them, like a bridge launched towards those adrift in the dark and dangerous streets of the city.
g. We also have a follow up program of ‘delivery food’ for all those who completed our program and now they have entered in the real world out there and are living in their homes. Once a month, for those who request it and they are in need, about 65 young people, we bring them ‘food packages’ at home. This is a way to meet them and encourage them to keep moving as the world out there is not easy, and there are challenges out there that they can overcome as long as they are persistent and hardworking.
h. Finally we have a nice and meaningful initiative. In Korea there are two major festivals, 'Sol nal and Chu seok'. These are the two holidays where the whole family gathers to rejoice, eat and celebrate together. But they are also the saddest days and full of loneliness for those who do not have a family or who have been rejected or abandoned by their families. On these holidays, Father Vincenzo, along with Kim Ha Jong, the director of all these programs, invites and gathers all the young people who have successfully finished our program for lunch during the three days of celebration, divided by age and interest, who have finished the various programs and now they find themselves living in society. This gesture is an outstretched hand to the children and a message to tell them: "You have finished these training in our centers and are ready to start your new journey but you are always part of the 'family of Anna's House'. Whenever you need it, you will always find an open door”…a home here in Anna’s House.