Posted November. 26, 2008 03:45,
A childcare facility in Euiwang, Gyeonggi Province, has had to cut the provision of snacks to children under its care from twice to once per day.
Lim Ji-hye, a teacher at the facility, said, "Sponsorship has significantly declined. The amount of donations has decreased around 60 percent and the volume of donated goods has fallen around 70 percent. Public institutions have not cut their sponsorships, but those from individual supporters and private corporations have decreased."
With a deep sigh, she said, "We have no choice but to give snacks only once per day since the volume of donated bread and milk has fallen."
The deepening economic slowdown has dealt a blow to small-size welfare facilities for orphans or children from poor households.
A center caring for 40 children in Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, has received no requests for one-on-one relations with needy children this year.
"Sponsorship relations have effectively been suspended," a center source said. "Worse, individual sponsors have suspended making donations. I think the economic slowdown is the reason."
Donations to the Yeongcheon facility this year has been a mere four million won (2,662 U.S. dollars), a sum donated by the citys education and tax offices.
A child welfare worker said, "Things would be better if an election was forthcoming. In the run-up to an election, candidates visit childcare facilities to have their photos taken."
Generally, the budgets of most childcare facilities consists of government support (70 percent) and donations from other sources (30 percent). Most centers, however, have to do with just 70 percent of their budgets this year.
ChildFund collected 21.9 billion won (14.5 million U.S. dollars) in donations in the year`s first 10 months, down 13 percent from a year ago.
Lee Seon-yeong, marketing chief for ChildFund, said, Due to the economic slowdown, the amount of individual donations and the number of sponsors have decreased. Were planning to encourage Koreans to donate even a small amount since economic conditions are unlikely to improve next year.
Nevertheless, the number of children sent to childcare facilities has jumped. A center where children stay for few weeks before being sent to childcare facilities cared for 179 children under the age of seven last year, but the figure this year has reached 204.
A teacher working for a childcare facility in Seoul, said, "Usually, parents try to live with their children as long as they can support them. Given that, the number of children sent to this facility will keep growing. I hope the government will appropriate more budget and individual sponsors donate more money. But I dont think my hope will be realized due to economic woes."