It was with great apprehension that the 20 mentally and physically disabled elderly living at the Emanuele Home in Kyungju ‘welcomed’ the 30 AkzoNobel volunteers from Functional Chemicals when they wanted to lend them a helping hand. This community is supported by 3 volunteers but as they are not officially registered as an institution, they did not receive any support from the local government. Until recently they could still do some necessary repairs themselves as well as growing their own vegetables in the surrounding garden. The residents became too old and dependent, however, to make their contributions and were lacking basic requirements.
When our colleagues from Functional Chemicals heard about this unfortunate situation they did not hesitate to ask for support from the Community Program and planned a visit to the Emanuele Home. They not only brought necessities of life such as toilet paper, soap, fruit, etc. they also had an electrician in their team. He checked the complete electrical system and made sure that all appliances in the home were safe. Another team prepared and properly stored firewood for the coming winter and in the end our volunteering colleagues prepared tasty food and side dishes which they consumed together with the elderly.
The smiles on the residents’ faces showed our volunteers the effect of their (so far) limited efforts and they have decided to come back to the facility regularly by creating groups of 5 employees who in turns will perform other tasks and make life more comfortable for the elderly. As one of the volunteers said: ‘we will never forget their first expression when we arrived at the Emanuele Home, but when we left they were very optimistic and cheerful. We deeply felt that we had done a worthwhile job’.