Go to contents

“Now I Know There is Something I Can.”

Posted August. 28, 2002 22:03,   


“I was not sure of what I can do and often felt worried and scared, but now I know there is something I can do,” Lee Jin-ju, a 19-year-old disabled girl, said after she attended a one-day food and accommodation service training organized by JW Marriot Hotel in Secheo-gu, Seoul on August 28.

Lee, who was born with cerebral palsy and has lived a life of a handicapped person for the last 19 years, will graduate from a regular high school where her mother sent her in February next year. And she has decided to have a job instead of going to college.

The hotel service training was a part of a vocational program for the disabled introduced by “Aeduck House,” a non-profit organization helping mentally handicapped people. And the participants had a chance to learn hotel services such as carrying food and greeting guests.

“I tossed and turned last night, thinking about taking part in the training. I have had few chance to go to a hotel.” Lee went on to say trying to pronounce as correctly as she can. “It was so hard for me to learn some 18 greeting expressions such as “How are you?” and “Welcome.” I practiced a lot even when walking on the streets, but it was not easy to have first-hand experience. The most tricky part is learning how to vow properly.”

She is what she is today thanks to the love and support from her family, especially her mother. “Since I went to a regular high school, I was often mocked by other students. But I didn’t want to make her sad so most times I kept it to myself.”

She started taking piano lessons at 6, which helped stimulate her peripheral nerves. And now she plays for her church choir. “It was valuable experience for a disabled person like me who is having hard times finding his or her place in our society. It will help me a lot through the rest of my life.”

Lee was smiling happily saying she wanted to work for those people who are more seriously disabled.

Min-Hyuk Park mhpark@donga.com