The beneficiary donor, Grandma Cha. Korean Red Cross
“Thank you, Thank you, I will never forget such kindness even in Heaven”, A story of Cha’s embodiment of ideal human kindness
A group of young journalists has been connecting with people who have their own personal Red Cross Stories. As people share their stories, we are reminded of ambitions and the motto of Red Cross. Today, we would like to introduce a story of Hong-Ja Cha, which is the last story of Red Cross Story. Her story gives us a lesson that teaches us a true value of love.
Hong-Ja Cha is 94 years old woman. She lives in a half basement room, Shinwol 3 dong, Yangchungu, where a steep slope and a small electric heater clearly show hardships of her life. During her 20s, she lost her husband and raised her young daughter by herself. Such hardship brought Red Cross and Cha together when Red Cross volunteers visited her to comfort and support her. Though it started as a simple kindness, this relationship lasted for a very long time.
Cha is a very independent person, and she knew the kindness she deserves was a privilege. As a result, she always thanked Red Cross Volunteers for an act of kindness. Though it started as a small attention for people who were less fortunate, the relationship between Cha and Red Cross advanced as “Hee-Mang Windmill Program” Senior Social Aid. For the time during the relationship, she often said she would never forget the kindness of volunteers.
One day, she donated 5,000,000 won. She donated such amount via collecting recycled papers, saying she always appreciated the aid and would like to donate to return the kindness, which she received. Despite her poor living condition, she donated saying, “I receive daily expenses from the government, food from the local welfare center and rations from the Red Cross volunteers. I have nowhere to spend money”. Although, Cha donated like it was not a big deal, this donation was not easy thing to do. For the donation, she had to save money and collect recycled paper for 6 years. By end of 6 years, the total amount of continuous donation reached 15,000,000 won. She said, although she was living a comfortable life style with basic living expense aids, she was always thought such kindness as a debt. She firmly believed that the debt must be repaid and by returning such kindness to the society will enables other kindness for the ones who are less fortunate. Such attitude for her donation perhaps shows the ideal spirit of Red Cross.
In last January, Cha called Geum-Ok Lee who is a volunteer who had close relationship with Cha, for the request to go to the hospital. Wishing for the best, Cha was moved to the hospital. However, the reality was harsh, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. It was devastating news. Worse comes worse, she was unable to withstand the surgery due to her age and physical condition. Unable to go through the surgery, she was moved to the Care Center. Even, during her sufferings in the Care Center, she thanked the volunteers and reminded them that she will always be thankful. Unfortunately, she was unable to recover. Soon she passed away at the age of 94.
During the grief for her loss, her 74 years old daughter visited the volunteers and donated 1,500,000 Won. Cha had spent minimal amount for her hospital bills and donated everything that she had left. Though she is not with us today, Cha’s representation of love, sharing, and hope will always be remembered and reminded in our hearts. It is our wish that the story of Cha will give a life-long lesson of a kind heart.
Written by Kim Okhee, staff of Korean Red Cross
A memory of Solferino
When I was a kid and saw the emblem. About 6 years old.
The first trip to Solferino and the 150th anniversery in 2009. Wonderful feeling!
The volunteers and their eager to help people even outside office ours all year around. When you see the joy when they share their stories.
The Red Cross became part of my world
During the war years 1939-44 I was active in the junior Home Guard and often saw the red cross emblem on military medical corps soldiers. Also on films and news reports including the evacaution of wounded soldiers at the front. Since that time the Red Cross as a symbol and a reality has been an essential part of my world view.
As President of the Finnish Red Cross I participated in a reunion of Finnish medical personnel, doctors and nurses, and was deeply impressed by their reports and experiences. The combination of profeesional capability under difficult circumstances and human concern for the patients that could be helped as well as those that were beyond help provided a very deep eimpression and a feeling of respect for the collegues that had been working in the field.
To see what needs to be done and to realize that I at that moment have the time, the ability and the resources to respond to that need.