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[World News] Aid Worker Gives Up Money for Love

Posted November. 18, 2005 08:26,   


Oh Eun-joo (30) is tall and pale with clear features, and looks like she’s grown up with no hardship. But she is known as “wonder woman” to international aid organizations, diplomatic corps, and Afghan government officials.

She is known for being tenacious. As the sponsor of the Women’s Education and Culture Center, she went to ministries and diplomatic corps to raise funds for the center, despite their hostility. She is also known as an angel who devotedly takes care of children at schools in poor villages.

Oh studied at Dong Pusan College and then business administration at the University of California in Berkeley in 2000 before joining CIPUSA, a foreign aid organization backed by the U.S. State Department. That was when she started working in Afghanistan.

Oh, who was in charge of the group’s Afghan support programs, was promoted to regional director of the San Francisco CIPUSA in 2002. The year after, she left her $60,000-a-year job and joined Good Neighbors Kabul to gain real field experience and has worked as a volunteer.

“For almost three years, I have used up all my savings during my stay here in Kabul. My old office is still offering to give me my old job back, with a pay raise. But isn’t love for suffering people more important than money?” she says. “I can earn money later, but if I don’t take care of the people suffering, who knows what may happen to them?”

Byung-Hee Ban bbhe424@donga.com