This week, I went to volunteer at POSCO HUMANS. POSCO is a steel manufacturing company with many factories. POSCO HUMANS is set up to support everyday operations of the factories such as washing the uniforms of workers at the steel making plants. POSCO then hired intellectually disabled people (mainly people who have autism) to work at the laundromats. There are also ahjummas working there as their mentors.
The whole time I was helping out at the laundromat, I did not feel like a volunteer at all. In fact, I felt like their colleagues instead. Honestly, they did not need my help at all. They were proficient at what they do, however simple the task, and were even correcting me when I did something wrongly. I think this reflects the misconceptions the general public (myself included) has towards intellectually disabled people. They require opportunities, not sympathies. Yes, they usually require more guidance than many of us but we should stop assuming that all of them are unable to take care of themselves. I feel that trying to give them proper training and job opportunities (according to their abilities) so they can contribute to the society (and support themselves) is the best way to integrate them into it.
Whatever the reason the company is doing this for, they are doing a good job. I hope more companies take up initiatives like this and provide the intellectually disabled with what they really need.
I did not take any photos there as I was there as a volunteer, NOT A TOURIST.
[Image of POSCO HUMANS mentally intellectually disabled employees taken from POSCO HUMANS webpage at https://www.posco.co.kr/homepage/docs/eng5/jsp/family/poscohumans.jsp]