By Robin Carney, President Emerita

Dear SIWA Supporter

Looking back on the SIWA year that was 2018-19, I feel both proud and nostalgic. I write this letter from my new home in Singapore and think back upon my time in Seoul, and how much SIWA meant to me. SIWA more than lived up to its mission of “enhancing lives through friendship, enrichment and charity” throughout my four year stay in Korea. It was a great personal honor to serve as President during my final year in Seoul.

I had the privilege of overseeing SIWA’s continued philanthropic support, for the second consecutive year, of All Love School, dedicated to the education of multicultural students in Korea. During 2018-19 our Welfare Committee embarked on a second Philanthropy Project, selecting the issue of unwed mothers in Korea and their need for equality in employment opportunities, social recognition and dignity. Our committee was proud to conduct a rigorous selection process for a deserving organization working to provide vocational training and education for this underserved population. We presented the first annual donation of 20 million KRW to Korean Unwed Mothers’ Families Association (KUMFA) at our Spring Gala.

Raising funds for these and other worthy charities would not have been possible without the support of our members and sponsors, and for this, we thank you. Together we were able to donate over 67.5 million KRW to 10 Korean organizations serving disadvantaged people in our host nation.

Along the way, we managed to make lasting friendships and have a lot of fun together. One of my fondest memories of 2018-19 was an unsuccessful fundraising attempt: SIWA’s participation on stage in the Itaewon Global Festival. Although we did not bring home the cash prize, our team’s willingness to learn a dance routine in only 2 rehearsals, don sparkly headbands and bellbottoms and sing ABBA in front of a large crowd made me incredibly proud of the lengths our volunteers will go to for SIWA!

We celebrated International Women’s Day with our second annual student essay contest, this time opening up a category for students whose first language is not English. I was fortunate to be asked to be one of the judges of this year’s contest and the essays, not just the winners, brought tears to my eyes as I realized that the next generation really aims to achieve gender balance. The fact that two of our winners happened to be young men speaks a lot for today’s youth. We have included the winning essays in this publication and hope they will inspire you.

I would like to end by extending my heartfelt thanks to the entire SIWA team who poured their time, energy and love into making this organization a home for me and hundreds of other women in Seoul. It has meant so much to me to be a part of SIWA and all that it stands for. I wish Veronica Koon, the 2019-20 President, and her team all the best as they continue to make SIWA a special place for expats and Koreans alike.

I hope you will enjoy our third publication of Year in Review 2018-19.