Our society is known for its strong Red Cross Youth (RCY) programmes.
We have more than 200,000 RCY members who are usually students (elementary to college) roughly between the age of 8 and their early twenties. Most of them are part of an RCY club at their respective schools and are mentored by their school teachers who volunteer as RCY advisors. Our RCY activities are tailored towards these members and are focused on volunteerism; basic health awareness; social inclusion and global interaction; and education, including education about the Movement. Some of our specific activities are organizing volunteer work at home and abroad; running a peer-to-peer sex education in which student volunteers teach safe sex practices to their peers; celebrating Teachers¡¯ Day, which was established by the Korean Red Cross and is now nationally observed (in detail below); giving scholarship to students with financial need; sending Boxes of Friendship to Asia-Pacific youth in need of school supplies (in detail below); teaching RCY members about IHL through ICRC-sponsored educational programme Exploring Humanitarian Law.
In 1958, a group of RCY members visited their former school teachers, some of whom retired or fell ill over the years. From that small group came a nationwide movement to create a day of appreciation for the work of Korean teachers. While it is not a national holiday, it is celebrated throughout the country with many schools closing or running a half-day, students presenting carnations (whose meanings include ¡°admiration,¡± ¡°love¡± or ¡°gratitude¡±) to their teachers and graduates visiting their former teachers in school. To mark this day, we also run various promotional events such as organizing a group visit of students to hospitalized teachers, school concerts and letter-writing campaign for students to thank their teachers.
Every year, we send close to 7,000 ¡°Boxes of Friendship¡± mostly to low-income youth in Asia-Pacific countries such as Laos, Vietnam and Philippines. Each box contains school supplies that are worth about 10,000 Korean won. The activity originally started in order to thank and demonstrate our friendship to other RCY and Junior Red Cross (JRC) members who sent humanitarian assistance to our youth during the Korean War. Since then, it became a tradition to send these boxes to other RCY and JRC members in developing countries to continue this ¡°chain of friendship.¡±