[SBS Hope TV x Good Neighbors USA]
Actress Lee So-yeon’s Volunteer Journey at Africa
In the Korean dramas, actress Lee So-Yeon is familiar to the audience as a villain character. She went on a volunteering journey with Good Neighbors to Chad, Africa in the past September. During her trip, everyone saw that her villain acting was just an act because we got see her warm heart with a kind smile.
“There is no reason not to go. We all know how needy Africa is.
I know this, so how could I not go.”
-Actress Lee So-Yeon
Africa’s dead heart, Chad.
Chad is locating in Africa’s region of Sahel. Over the past 30 years, it has undergone a long civil war and is considered one of the world's poorest countries due to its desert climate. Particularly in September when the actor Lee So-Yeon visited, it was the period of Hunger Gap. The Hunger Gap in Africa is known to be period of the rainy season, famine, and malaria.
Hospitals are too distanced for sick and hungry children to go. Children take it as a last resolution when they are at their worst conditions. One of the only accessible hospital from the town of Oji is a hospital called Mani Hospital. It takes children 4 hours of walk to get to Mani hospital. And, Actress Lee So-Yeon and Good Neighbors visited this place.
The sick children don’t even have room to lie down due to poor hospital conditions.
In Chad, it is difficult even to earn a dollar a day, so treating malaria is nearly impossible for most of the hospital’s patients. The sick children can’t access to proper treatment even after they bring in money due to inadequate medical facilities and lack of medical staffs.
Actress Lee So-Yeon received training from a professional nursing school before visiting Chad. This trip was her third time visiting African children, and she knew they needed practical help.
“Many people need to treatment, but there are only two doctors in this hospital."
However, what makes the staff more painful is that they do not have enough medicine to cure these patients. They told me it is heartbreaking to ignore patients due to lack of medicines, and staffs.
-Actress Lee So-Yeon.
“If I came earlier…”
Every day many children were coming to the hospital with severe malaria. Mahatha (age 4) was a child who was no different from many other children. Her grandmother took her granddaughter, Mahata to see her doctor when she had symptoms of high fever. Mahata urgently had a blood transfusion, and other medications injected to restore her health from malaria.
However, when So-Yeon visited again, Mahata had already left the world.
“We could have saved Mahata if we came little earlier. After hearing this news, it broke my heart.”
There is hope, though.
We trailed children, who walked 4 hours to get to the hospital. At there we found a village called Ambargol. Most of the villagers have never been to the hospital, and they were highly exposed to malaria. To help, Good Neighbors and actress Lee So-Yeon distributed malaria prevention medicines and mosquito nets to villagers.
Despite one of worst poverty and living conditions in Chad, we saw a hope by a simple resolution through malaria immunization pills and injections.
Chad is known to be a dead heart of Africa. There is still hope.
Your support will restore the joy and hope in numerous African children who are suffering from extreme poverty and malaria in Chad.
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