Posted September. 10, 2013 06:49,
Hwang Hwa-ik, 76, has won the top welfare award of the Seoul metropolitan government for helping her neighbors in need with her money that she earned by selling empty bottles and paper for more than 30 years. The government held an award ceremony for the 2013 Seoul Social Welfare Event at the city hall and presented awards to six volunteers and sponsors including Hwang and four groups for helping those in a dire situation.
As a housewife, she joined the Saemaeul womens association in her community and started helping her neighbors from 1982 after watching the elderly who skip meals or suffer from physical disabilities. She collected empty bottles and cans and paper around her neighborhood every morning to give rice to her neighbors. She made only 7,700 won (7.10 U.S dollars) at first and some people found it weird that a housewife rummaged through waste bins early in the morning. For about 30 years, Hwang has donated 5,000 won (4.61 dollars) to 300,000 won (276.6 dollars) each time.
The top volunteer award was given to the Seoul Fathers Choir which was established to give hope and courage to fathers in despair due to the 1998 Asian financial crisis and has given free concerts and participated in free meal service. The second-highest award went to Jeongjinhoe, a volunteer group of the Jogye Order of the Korean Buddhism which has helped and washed patients and provided meals at Seoul Childrens Hospital and nursing facilities for physically-challenged children since 1997, and Jang Sook-ja, 69, who has washed clothes and assisted meal service at welfare facilities for the elderly and handicapped children since 1995.