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The Seoul International Women's association (SIWA) was created in 1962 as a group of women from different nationalities including Koreans in order to enhance the expatriate life in Korea as well as to support those in need in this country. Very rapidly this initial small group of women grew in popularity and over the years membership rose continuously to a peak of 1 000 women from 80 different countries.
Different activities take place in order to serve the various interests of the members. The regular SIWA meeting is the monthly coffee morning where members get together to share friendship and enjoy presentations on different topics. The Newcomers' meetings allow new people to Korea to meet with long time residents and gain some knowledge about their new life and country. All SIWA activities are listed in the Discovery Magazine which is sent to members only. It includes travel tips, recipes, articles on heath, culture and events in the community.
As a way to enhance the expatriate life in Korea SIWA also feels committed to extend to its members the opportunity to experience new skills and activities and to discover Korea. The Enrichment classes offer a wide range of activities from handicrafts, cooking to cultural sessions about our host country. The SIWA Tours & Events committee also participates in the discovery of Korea by organizing tours to museums, art galleries, markets, festivals and other places of interest in and out of Seoul.
SIWA's dedication to help those in need in Korea is made visible by the SIWA Welfare committee which receives the requests for donations, discusses if they are appropriate and makes sure the money is spent only for the purpose for which it was intended. All of this is possible thanks to the two major SIWA fundraising events: the bazaar and gala evening. The annual SIWA and Diplomatic Community Bazaar have been held by SIWA since 1978. These popular events have become recognized as one of the leading opportunities in Korea for the community to work together to support a wide range of South Korean Charities. The diplomatic and business communities as well as the Korean Government come together with SIWA to raise much needed money for these charities.
Over 50 Embassies, women's clubs, charity groups, and vendors participate in the bazaar, selling goods from around the world. Businesses donate generously either with a cash donation or company products. The gala evening is a wonderful event with entertainment, great food, and silent auction. This event is an extension of the bazaar as it is the generous donations of the diplomatic community and businesses that makes this event possible!
For more than 40 years now, SIWA has been a place where women from all over the world could meet, find friends, share their knowledge, culture and interests while helping the ones in need around them. SIWA is still a purely volunteer-run organization and depends on the support and work of its active members. What took off at a kitchen table when the Korean War ended is now the largest international women's organization in our host country and plays a vital part in the social life of the expat community. SIWA needs volunteers to continue as a vibrant organization and therefore invites you to play an active role in its organization in order to make sure that it will continue its successful history into a bright future.