|Seen are teenagers residing in the Samsung Hope Stepping Stone Center in Wonju, Gangwon Province. / Courtesy of Samsung Electronics|
By Baek Byung-yeul
|Logo for Samsung Electronics|
Since 2013, the tech giant has been operating the Samsung Hope Stepping Stone program, which is designed to develop the self-reliance of these teenagers. Once they reach 18 years of age, they are not allowed to reside in any orphanages or childcare facilities according to law.
Based on donations from its employees, Samsung has supported housing and education programs for the teens in five locations including Busan, Daegu and Wonju.
The company recently announced it will expand the coverage of the program nationwide, spending 25 billion won ($21 million) by 2024. Samsung also chose five additional locations for its Samsung Hope Stepping Stone centers, to be built in Gyeonggi Province, South Gyeongsang Province, South Jeolla Province, North Jeolla Province and South Chungcheong Province.
The center provides a residential space for those aged between 18 and 25 years old for up to two years, one room for each single person, and grants scholarships and living expenses.
To help them achieve self-reliance, the center offers consultations for career development. Also it provides various kinds of education programs such as basic financial knowledge such as how to manage their assets and how to sign a contract to lease an apartment or car, and essential life skills such as cooking, cleaning and organizing their home.
Kim Ga-young, head of a child welfare center in Gangwon, welcomed Samsung's bold move to expand the support program as it will greatly help teens in need to achieve independence.
"When they first visited the center, many of the teenagers were afraid of making their own way in life but I felt so happy because they were soon able to develop self-esteem and start their careers through the programs," Kim said.