The Path of Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah

The story of Koreans who experienced turmoil in their history, fragmentarily portrays the life of Honorary Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah. After the Korean War ended in 1953, the Republic of Korea’s Gross National Product [GNP] was just 67 dollars per capita. It took a brief and rugged period of time of just over half a century, for the country to become stable from its former state of total devastation, through the ‘Miracle on the Han River’ and other assorted economic growths.

At a time when every family had to worry about their next meal with no time to even worry about their neighbor, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah spent time together with her neighbors even sharing a bowl of soybean paste soup with them. Like a mother preparing a meal for her family, her warmth and daily practice even saved her neighbors, an elderly couple, who were in a life-threatening situation due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Just like caring for a family, her devotional love continues even to this day.


Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah: “As If It’s My Own Family’s Work”

  • Free meal service at the Sampoong Department Store collapse in Seoul
  • Support for the underprivileged in 7 countries with medical and living expenses
  • The 1st New life Concert

After Korea overcame its war-stained past, the 1990s spurred an increase in industrial development and an economic revival. In 1995, Korea’s GDP passed the USD $10,000 mark, and Korea’s standard of living started to improve. On the other hand, there was a dark side to this rapid growth. In June of that year, due to its poor construction, the biggest man-made disaster occurred in Korean history, the collapse of the Sampoong Department Store. All of Korea was shocked the fanciest department store in the heart of Gangnam, Seoul, had collapsed. It was a massive disaster with 502 dead and 937 wounded.

At the scene of the pandemonium, Honorary Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah and the members who were ready to carry out her will, rolled up their sleeves to deliver home cooked meals with the love of a mother. The volunteers made sure each and every rescuer who went underground to search for survivors were provided with meals. Rescuers, who were looking for survivors amid the collapsed building debris, often went without eating. After finishing warm meals prepared by Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah and the volunteer members, they were able to continue to do their best to save lives.

For Honorary Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah, who considered her neighbors to be family and embraced their sorrows, the circumstances of people from neighboring countries across the ocean were also her family's work. She provided mother’s love—medical expenses and living expenses to underprivileged neighbors in seven countries, including the Philippines, Pakistan, Gabon, etc. In the year 2000, which marked the beginning of the millennium, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah held an event for harmony and sharing to melt away the cold hard lives of people in the global village through the universal language, music. It was the first performance of the New Life Concert, which would become the representative event of the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation (hereinafter WeLoveU) twenty years later.


Diverse Activities Begin

  • Establishment of the New Life Welfare Foundation
  • The 1st New Life Family Walkathon
  • Free meal services at the Daegu subway arson tragedy
  • Volunteer services at the Daegu Summer Universiade in Korea
  • The 1st Kimchi-Making Event to Share Mother’s Love
  • The Order of Merit [Sports Merit Maengho] from the Korean Government
  • The 1st blood drive

Around this time, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah established the New Life Welfare Foundation and began full scale volunteer activities. Between April and May, every year, the WeLoveU members along with their immediate family members take part in the New Life Family Walkathon in order to convey hope to the less fortunate; the Kimchi-Making Festival with Mother’s Love, which is to make Kimjang Kimchi, a winter food, and share it with multicultural households, senior citizens living alone, and many other underprivileged neighbors in Korea; the Blood Drives to save lives through blood donation. These events marked the first year of large-scale charity events. This was the beginning of global volunteer activities drawing participation from numerous people.

In 2003, a tragic incident in Daegu occurred. An arson attack on the subway caused 340 innocent casualties, including 192 deaths. Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah and volunteer members set up a tent in front of the Daegu Citizens Center which was a temporary shelter for bereaved families, and provided free meals for them; she spent 55 days with those who had lost their loving families, friends, and neighbors and comforted them.

In August of the same year, the Daegu Universiade was held. Honorary Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah and volunteer members from all over the country devoted their energy to supporters’ activities and volunteer services for the successful opening of the international competition. For her efforts, she was honored with the Korean Order of Sport Merit Maengho Award.


Making Streams of Water Flow in Remote Regions of Africa

  • Name Change from the New Life Foundation to the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation
  • Construction of 15 temporary classrooms for earthquake-affected schools in Peru
  • Worldwide Clean WORLD Movement Launching Ceremony
  • 1st and 2nd water pump installation in Breman Kokoso Village, Ghana

Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah changed the name of the New Life Welfare Foundation to the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation, and carried out various activities under the slogan, “Mother’s love to the whole world.” The most notable activity was installing the 1st and the 2nd water pumps in Breman Kokoso, Ghana, in 2009. Since then, Honorary Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah and the WeLoveU members have supported water scarce countries in Africa and Asia, such as DR Congo, Kenya, Benin, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, and India, installing a total of 29 water pumps up until 2019.

The residents of the town of Breman Kokoso were suffering from various diseases such as guinea worms as a result of drinking contaminated water from polluted streams. The WeLoveU Foundation covered all expenses needed for the construction work, developing underground water and the installation of additional water pumps. After searching for the water vein, the drilling operation began two months later, and as the two newly installed water pumps gushed out water, the local residents cheered on and shouted for joy.

Prior to that, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah constructed 15 temporary classrooms through local WeLoveU members for the earthquake-affected Santa Ana School in Chincha, Peru, in 2007. The following year, in order to achieve a healthy planet and a sustainable environment, the “Clean WORLD Movement” was launched in Korea, which is to clean and purify the cities, mountains, rivers, and seas. This catapulted environmental protection activities on a global scale.

We live together in this world.
If we go together, we can go farther.


Binding Up Injuries and Running toward Tomorrow

  • Special lecture on character education for parents
  • International Green Campus scholarships for university students
  • MOU with the Gabonese President to cope with climate change
  • Support for climate refugees in India, Bangladesh, and Tuvalu
  • Reconstruction of two typhoon-affected classroom buildings in the Philippines
  • Free meal services at the Sewol ferry disaster in Korea
  • Earthquake relief and recovery efforts in Nepal

Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah’s Mother’s love was steadily delivered to the families in the global village. In 2012, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah held a Green Campus Environment Seminar, where she signed a joint agreement with the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, to combat climate change. She has made constant efforts to actively combat the environmental problems of Earth, including climate change, and to create a sustainable green society. In Tuvalu, a climate refugee nation that is being submerged in sea water, the people had to rely on rainwater for drinking water but lacked even water storage facilities. Accordingly, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah took the lead in installing 20 water tanks in Tuvalu in 2013; each water tank had the capacity to hold 10,000 liters of water. In addition to Tuvalu, water pumps were also installed for climate refugees in Bangladesh and India, and medical and living expenses were donated as well.

In November of that year, the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Haiyan causing massive casualties and property damage. Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah gathered the members’ will through the 14th New Life Concert and delivered disaster relief fund to help with disaster restoration, through which two schools were reconstructed in Tanauan the largest affected area and desks, chairs, and school supplies were provided. In 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake occurred in Nepal, resulting in 7,500 deaths and over 8.1 million people, more than a quarter of the total population, incurring damage. Honorary Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah actively supported recovery efforts of the damaged areas, environmental cleanups, and setting up temporary shelters for the victims with the help of the local members.

A tragic event occurred in Korea as well. In 2014, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah made plans to provide free meals for the victims' families of the Sewol ferry sinking disaster. The WeLoveU members, for 24 hours a day for 20 days at the Jindo-gun gymnasium, cooked rice, nutritious side dishes, and soups with great care. For the bereaved family member, who found it difficult to even drink a sip of water, nutritious porridge with ten kinds of medicinal herbs which help in the rejuvenation of a person’s health was made. Through the meals made with the heart of a mother, the bereaved families, volunteers, and government officials were able to gain energy to continue the investigation of the accident.

Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah prepared a hopeful future for the global village by supporting future generations while binding up the wounds of neighbors in Korea and around the world. In a special lecture on character education for parents, she explained, “If parents and children participate in volunteer activities, being considerate of those in difficulties and regarding the world as neighbors, family conversations will continue and character education will occur naturally. She also devoted herself into cultivating environmental leaders who will preserve beautiful environment of various places, by presenting environmental scholarships to post-secondary students around the world.


The Era of Global Co-operation and the Work of Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah

  • Establishment of the Intl. WeLoveU Foundation
  • Support for Iraq war victims and Syrian refugees
  • Global Welfare Conference with Ambassadors and Diplomats from 18 countries
  • Free meal service for the dam collapse victims in Laos and operating the WeLoveU School
  • Save the World Global Forum for emergency relief, and MOUs with international aid agencies

Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah stated, “In order to solve international problems such as climate change, conflict, poverty, disease, biodiversity, etc., everybody in the global village, beginning with individuals, regions, nations, and all humankind, must work together.”

In fact, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah was busy preparing a place for international cooperation to help the people in the global village. Through global welfare meetings, which has been established as an annual event, she reviewed the WeLoveU’s activities that have been in progress for the year, and discussed various topics such as the direction of global welfare activities and partnerships to achieve SDG’s, a common goal of the United Nations and the international community. Ambassadors and diplomats from each country expressed their support for Honorary Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah and the WeLoveU Foundation, and promised to continue their support.

In 2018, the Save the World Global Forum 2018 with the subject “Emergency Relief and Global Partnership” was held. It was to raise public awareness of emergency relief and climate change, seek the role of NGOs and civil societies, and establish sustainable partnerships among international organizations and governments. On this day, the WeLoveU signed a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] with the United Iraqi Medical Society [UIMS] and the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization [JHCO] to expand the path of humanitarian relief efforts by providing medical and food products for displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees in Jordan.

In that year, the dam collapse in Laos Sanamxay caused serious damage to six villages, submerging them under water. With the immediate decision of Honorary Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah, 1.700 local WeLoveU members offered free meals in the affected area for a month. WeLoveU offered approximately 41,000 meals while providing various services, including cleaning around temporary refugee shelters, installing and repairing drainage pipes, as well as beauty services. In particular, the establishment of the “WeLoveU School,” which brought back laughter and hope to the children who had lost their families, caused a great sensation in the local area, and also inspired the Lao government and the UN to join together to build three big tents for the children’s education.

Kingsada, Vice President of Lao Front National Development [LFND], attended the New Life Concert and thanked the WeLoveU by saying, “The Lao government and citizens received much help from the volunteer services of the WeLoveU. Everybody needs a mother. I hope you will continue to share your warmheartedness with Laos in the future.” In January of the following year, Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah supported Xepon Ethnic Secondary School in Laos with donations collected through the concert. The WeLoveU also provided a comfortable and beautiful educational environment for the children’s hopeful and bright future by installing water pumps and water tanks and renovating the auditorium and washrooms.

The issue of coexistence, which was limited to individuals, one village and one country, has now become a common task in the global village, going beyond borders. Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah is leading the way with the love and concern of a mother who takes care of her housework, keeping pace with the era of international cooperation.


Forward, Forward

  • Save the World Global Forum for sustainable life-saving efforts
  • The 20th New Life Family Walkathon and global expansion of the “Save the World” Vision Proclamation
  • The 20th New Life Concert
  • Improvement of educational environment by repairing school facilities, building libraries, and providing school supplies

The theme of the Save the World Global Forum 2019 held by Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah was to “Establish a global network for sustainable life-saving relief.” The forum included experts from various fields such as the UN DGC (previously the UN DPI, United Nations Department of Public Information) official, medical practitioners, officials from international organizations, government agencies, and NGOs, foreign diplomats from 20 countries, university students, as well as citizens attended the forum and it increased people’s will to save lives.

The New Life Family Walkathon held by Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah every year has established itself as a venue for communication and unity in the international community. 2019 marked the 23rd time the walkathon was held, with 231,000 people having participated and the total distance walked equals circling the earth 13 times (535,090 km [332,490 miles]). In 2019, starting with the vision declaration of the “Save the World” Movement, the New Life Walkathon expanded to relay walkathons around the world, and was also held in the Philippines, Peru, and the U.S. which added more meaning to the walkathons.

The Save the World Movement is a global well-being project which has been carried out in various ways aiming at creating a healthy planet and a hopeful future for humankind. There are five practices implemented for this vision which are, Saving Lives, Saving the Earth, Saving Humanity, Community Cooperation, and Global Cooperation.

The New Life Concert, which is held every year as part of the Save the World Movement, celebrated its 20th anniversary. At this concert, singers, musical actors, and movie actors donated their talents and people from all walks of life became one to sing for the hope of the global village members. A total of 168,500 people participated in the concert.

Support for children and the youth is something cannot be ignored when it comes to humanitarian work that needs to engage people’s attention and their help. Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah conducts educational support with the belief that caring for the future leaders, children and teenagers, is essential in order to achieve the sustainable happiness of the global village. In 2019, she looked for elementary schools and middle schools in poor educational environments in Asia and Central and South America such as the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Mexico, El Salvador, and Bolivia, to improve their educational environment by repairing school facilities, building libraries, and providing school supplies.

A world where all 7.7 billion people are happy, no one is lonely, and no one is neglected! This is how Honorary Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah envisions the global village. To make this idea a reality, she moves forward. Even at this moment, she communicates with neighbors, communities, and governments, and international organizations around the world in order to encourage others to join her work of love.