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The Korea Herald
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THE INVESTOR
July 22, 2024

Industrials

Posco charity foundation tackles disability challenges

  • PUBLISHED :April 22, 2024 - 17:22
  • UPDATED :April 22, 2024 - 17:22
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The Posco 1% Foundation delivers specialized devices to people with disabilities as part of its Wings of Hope project, at a welfare center in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, October 2023. (Posco Group)

The Posco 1% Foundation, founded in 2013, is funded by the donations of employees at South Korean steel giant Posco Group.

Among the foundation's diverse charity projects is one aimed at supporting people with disabilities, particularly in career-seeking activities.

According to a 2023 survey by the Korea Employment Agency for Persons with Disabilities, about 5 percent of the nation’s population is registered as disabled. The economic participation rate and employment rate of people with disabilities stood at 37.4 percent and 36.1 percent, respectively, almost half of the average.

This disparity underscores the persistent obstacles that disabled individuals face in securing employment and actively engaging in the economy, despite various initiatives and increased focus from society and government.

Wings of Hope is one of the Posco foundation’s projects, under which a total of 937 people, including war heroes, wounded soldiers, firefighters and other individuals with disabilities, have received specialized devices such as prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, and eye-controlled computer mice across eight regions, including Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province, and Gwangyang, South Jeolla Province, Posco’s key business bases.

Notably, in collaboration with the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs since 2020, the foundation has also started offering advanced robotic prosthetics to those who need them.

The Space of Hope project, also active in the Pohang and Gwangyang areas, has upgraded 86 facilities and homes for children with disabilities, enhancing living conditions and accessibility for 2,400 people. Last year alone, the project improved the homes of 25 low-income families and 11 child welfare facilities, ensuring safer environments.

Moreover, the foundation operates the Digital Academy for Persons with Disabilities in partnership with the Guro Digital Training Center of the KEAD in Seoul.

This program equips young and middle-aged people with disabilities with the digital skills needed in the current job market through a 28-week curriculum -- including corporate-specific courses, advanced coding courses, and employment linkage courses. Since its inception, the academy has seen 41 students graduate, and 36 successfully find employment.

"Through the program, I was able to secure a job right after graduation at Posco Humans. I am grateful for the valuable education and its inclusivity, like (the use of) real-time stenography,” a participant in the program was quoted as saying by the company.

Additionally, the foundation is expanding its impact beyond education and welfare by supporting disabled artists through the cultural project, Meetings Become Art. This initiative fosters collaboration between lesser-known disabled artists and mainstream artists to promote their work via videos, thus enhancing their visibility and integrating their work into mainstream culture. Since its launch in 2020, the project has produced 74 videos featuring 34 artists.

This year, the Posco 1% Foundation plans to implement a total of nine projects, aimed at supporting the independence of vulnerable individuals, nurturing future generations and more.

By Park Se-ra (serap1005@heraldcorp.com)
The Korea Herald

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