“Serving together in common cause breaks down barriers that exist between peoples in conflict, and can be a powerful instrument for cultural exchange, understanding, personal transformation and ultimately peace.”
~ Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, Founder of the Global Peace Foundation
The All-Lights Village Project (AVP) beings with a light, but it is really built upon belief in the potential and interconnectedness of humanity.
Since its inception, AVP has rapidly expanded. According to the Global Peace Foundation 2013 Annual Report, AVP has touched 2929 families in the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya and Malaysia and established 23 All-Lights Villages. Special funding for typhoon Haiyan recovery efforts delivered solar light to 2,000 families in stricken areas.
But the project is much more than a provision of a check or piece of equipment, it is about building relationships between members of the human family.
From planning meetings to light distribution, to agricultural endeavors and economic development, the relationships are clearly long-term family ties that are bridging peoples and nations. These relationships are creating a culture of social responsibility in corporations and individuals and affirming that humanity is one family.
Here are some past reflections of volunteers and donors who have been transformed by their experience with the All-Lights Village Project.
Jessica Kang traveled between Korea and the Philippines 16 times to develop All-Lights Villages. She said, "I am not doing this for myself but for the advancement of Filipinos and the friendship of two countries. After having worked for a year, I realized, "Truth can make the impossible possible. Filipinos speak a different language, have different skin color and culture, and everything else is different, but we approached them with a truthful heart that is when they opened their hearts to us. My heart will always remain sincere and I am fully committed to this work.”
Chehyui Ho volunteered with GPF-Korea in Sinipit, Philippines last summer. The hair salon owner opened shop for all of the village children during . After spending all day in the hot sun cutting the children’s hair, she happily said, "It was a long day, and hard. But it's been a while since I've felt so fulfilled."
Koichi Mito, a freshman at the University of Washington visited Marco Village in the Philippines in November 2013 with Global Peace Youth – USA. They painted the Multi-Purpose hall and taught at the local school. He reflected, “During the construction it was really interesting to see how everyone was working together for a common goal. Even though we couldn't always speak the same language we still were able to understand because we were still working for the same purpose. In the end we were like a family. It was a really good experience. It’s something that everyone should experience.”
Kill Sun-ok, is a Korean volunteer who opened one of the first All-Lights villages. The team crossed through mountains and jungles to arrive at Palayan City to present their “exchange families” with solar lamps. She described her experience. “Through All Light Village I had a chance to meet people in person and I realized that what we are doing is so precious. I hope people in the world who are living in darkness without a light could one day get this benefit.”
Mr. Kum Seok Seo runs a stationary store in Uijeongbu, Korea. Last year he started regularly donating school supplies to the All-Lights Village Project. In an interview he said, “I get so emotional that I can’t sleep when I think about the underserved children in other countries who receive my pencils, erasers, and notebooks. You can’t put into words the value of living for the others.”
Nobu Goto visited the Philippines with his father and mother during winter break in 2013. He explained the significance of his visit this way, “Japan and Philippines are sisters; they are both island countries. My father said they should help each other. The Philippines were first responders to Japan during the earthquake and Tsunami. We should be grateful. And giving these lights are like giving thanks back. We will continue to give lights. It also brought us together as brothers and sisters, as one family under God. We treated each other as relatives, we are grateful for each other. I think that’s how we should all act, as one family, especially to those who don’t have family.”
The All-Lights Village solar lights kindle faith in human goodness, faith in human value, faith in every person’s capacity to provide for their loved ones and contribute to their community’s progress, faith that comes from knowing that humanity is One Family under God.
The service experiences of these volunteers illustrate that a world seen as One Family under God looks different. The question is no longer, “Will you help?” it becomes, “How can I help?” Global Peace Foundation is seeking models that bring this perspective and invest in developing the human spirit and thus secure economic and social stability.