At DDing Dong and throughout Korea and the rest of the world, as COVID-19 continues to affect all of us as we struggle with the continuing impacts of the pandemic. In-person gatherings remain restricted and for the health and safety of our community, DDing Dong has cancelled all scheduled events. However, we continue to provide counseling and support for our LGBTQIA+ youth as essential services. As we counsel and support our youth, we are learning firsthand how the fallout from COVID-19 is impacting the lives of our youth who dream of living freely and independently. Even after knocking on countless doors, many of them are struggling to find work. Those who do have work have had their hours cut or are forced to take unpaid leave.
As we comfort and share in the feelings of frustration and distress of our youth, we are doing our best to support them. We are also working hard to find food and daily necessities to distribute in our “Rainbow Kits” for youth as we weather this difficult time together.
Here’s a snapshot of what DDing Dong has been doing for the past four months since January 2020:
On February 5, DDing Dong sent letters of love and hope to all of its transgender, genderqueer and youth all across the gender binary. We want all them to know that they are not alone, and that we don’t want anyone to struggle alone. We received many replies, some from youth we haven’t heard from in a long time. We are so glad that we are able to be in contact and support each other during these hard times.
Starting in 2020, we reorganized the counseling topics we cover to better reflect and understand the unique difficulties and challenges of our LGBTQIA+ youth. In particular, we integrated the topics of family neglect and violence into a category of “family abuse” to help our youth more effectively. We are also tracking the ways that various types of violence threaten the lives and bodies of LGBTQIA+ youth, including gender dysphoria, religion, and hate speech.
Our DDing Dong volunteer program: the 5th “DDingga DDingga” volunteer season has finished. Through feedback from the volunteers, the volunteers reported that their time working with the youth was meaningful, with the keywords of comfort, growth, guidance, heart, change, happiness, and dialogue. It was a meaningful 2019 for all of us, staff, volunteers, and youth alike. A sincere thank you to the 5th DDingga DDingga volunteer team.
Each year at our general meeting, DDong Dong reflects on the previous year and shares plans for the coming year. Despite their busy schedules, members and supporters who attended the General Assembly provided valuable feedback and advice on our schedule and plan, as well as encouragement for the upcoming year. We were also excited for an energized start after receiving approval of nine third-term management committee members.
Even in these hard times as we all struggle with COVID-19 together, we are thankful to our regular sponsors and others who donated and helped with fundraising. Because of you have been able to continue preparing and shipping Rainbow Kits to help provide basic support to our youth.
Your precious donations are helping LGBTIA+ youth in Korea survive in this difficult time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support! We couldn’t do it without you.
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