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A tutor teaches the Korean language at a multicultural childcare center in Ansan, some 30 kilometers southwest of Seoul. Photo courtesy of Merck

Merck Korea backs multicultural childcare center

Merck announced this week that the Damstadt-based multinational technology giant had picked four charitable projects of its global units, including Merck Korea’s initiative of supporting a multicultural childcare center.

Merck said that its Performance Materials business sector will provide 25,000 euros to each of the four projects, which the outfit picked among 30 candidates nominated by its employees across the world.

The other three winners are about Merck’s supports of good-will activities in China, Africa, and the United States. The program is a part of Merck’s Bright Future transformation program, which started in 2018.

The Korean project, dubbed “Loving Neighbors,” is aimed at backing a multicultural childcare center located in Ansan, about 30 kilometers southwest of Seoul.

The center was built to provide a stable environment for disadvantaged and multicultural students so that they will be able to savor a digital life through multimedia-based computer education.

A total of 26 employees from Merck Korea’s Performance Materials segment have already volunteered to offer their hands every quarter.

The 25,000-euro fund would be used for a Korean language tutor, a computer room, and a multimedia facility, according to Merck.

We really appreciate Performance Materials’ kind interest toward Loving Neighbors. This donation from Merck employees will give our underprivileged and multicultural children in the region a new challenge and a great deal of courage,” Loving Neighbors Director Kim Young-ji said.

With this fund, we are now able to continue providing Korean lessons to support a better integration into Korean society, set up a multimedia facility, and provide a stable and healthy environment for them.

The number of multicultural families has shot up in Korean society over the past several years as international marriage immigrants increased. This led to the rise of students from multicultural families.

According to the country’s Education Ministry, the number of multicultural students was less than 10,000 in 2006. But the figure rocketed thereafter to more than 80,000 in 2015 and neared 140,000 last year.

As some students from bi-racial parents struggle with stereotypes and discrimination of the country, which has been historically very homogeneous, the government has tried to come up with various measures.

In particular, Ansan city and its vicinity, an hour’s drive southwest of Seoul, have much multicultural population.

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