Korea has more than 10,000 NGOs (non-governmental organizations ) influencing our society. The director of the Seoul Caritas Volunteer Center writes about NGOs in the opinion column of the Catholic Times.
A member of the Korean Non-Profit Institute and busy with her own work at the Seoul Caritas Volunteer Center, the writer was intent on resigning from the Institute but the chairperson, during the last meeting, upset at the poor attendance of the trustees and the non-payment of dues, reduced the number of the trustees and selected her as one of the new trustees. She decided to accept and then reflected on why she has continued as a member of the Institute for the last ten years.
With the advance of democracy in the 20th century, the limitation of market capabilities, the spread of pluralism and the change of the government's role in society, many areas of concern have come to the attention of the non-profit groups. In the West, the role of the non-profits has done much to advance society. England has a history of charitable institutions. France is known for its cooperatives. In South-East Asia, Thailand and the Philippines are far ahead of Japan and Korea in their development of non-profits. Korea has only recently realized their potential in humanizing our society. In Korea, different names are used to identify the non-profits. Besides the NGO, there is the NPO (non-profit organization) and the NVO (private voluntary organization)--perhaps a sign, there is a difficulty in coming to an understanding of the work.