Technology of Hope

Technology is ever evolving, like smartphones, tablet PCs and laptops. At any time, we can talk to friends across the world through SNS. Today we can do a lot of things with just one touch on the screen.

Every day, our life is getting more and more convenient.

However, there are some people who are excluded from such conveniences.

This child’s entire family has to work very hard on a farm. 

However, they make only $2 a day.
During the drought, they sometimes have to starve for several days.

They have to walk 10km to get water to drink.

They cannot boil their water because wood is scarce.

At night, they are harassed by mosquitoes.

Many children die of malaria.

This family needs hope.

What would bring them hope?

A smartphone or a laptop?!

There are some unique technologies that can give hope to families like them.

They are very affordable and simple, but they will definitely change their lives for the better.

It changes the lives of people who have limited access to drinking water.

A filter inside the straw purifies the water and makes it safe for drinking.

[Q drum]
Q drum is designed to make it easy to transport water by rolling the drum.

Using Q drum, people can transport water more easily.

[Fuel from the Fields Charcoal]
Fuel from the Fields Charcoal is made from agricultural wastes.

This fuel saves people time searching for wood.

Using this fuel, they can easily boil their water.

PermaNet protects children from malaria.

This net maintains its protection from insects even after 20 washes.
It allows people to have sound sleep without annoying mosquitoes.
These technologies bring hope to people in need.
They are called “appropriate technology.”

[Appropriate Technology]
It refers to technologies that are designed to meet the economic, cultural and functional needs of people and thereby allow for more sustainable production and consumption.

It was originally called “intermediate technology,” the term coined in 1966 by Dr. Ernst Schumacher.

Appropriate technology is for those who are excluded from advanced technology.

Such technologies help those in the greatest need. 

However, was it really 1966 when appropriate technology started?

“A fundamental principle of politics is to love the people, prioritize the public welfare, and enable the people to pursue their own aspirations.”
- King Sejong, the fourth king of Joseon (reign: 1397-1450)

King Sejong deeply cared about the difficulties of the people.

He was always interested in finding solutions to the problems of the common people.

He established a research institute called Jiphyeonjeon in order to study local environments and the lives of the people.

Scholars developed technologies for people who were suffering from poverty and hunger.

They recognized that China’s agricultural techniques were not well suited for Korean farmers.

They researched agricultural techniques that would fit Korean soil and weather.

Nongsa Jikseol (1429)
This agricultural book was made easy to read for average people

King Sejong also developed many instruments that would help people’s daily life.

Angbuilgu (1434)
A sundial that was designed for even the illiterate to know the time
Jagyeongnu (1434)
A water clock that was designed to automatically signal the time even during cloudy days

Accurate predictions for rain were critical for farming.

King Sejong recognized the suffering of people caused by drought and flood.

So, he invented a scientific instrument to manage natural disasters.
The world’s first rain gauge
Cheugugi (1441)

King Sejong also recognized the importance of literacy.

Without the ability to read, people would be limited in learning knowledge and technologies.

So, he invented the Korean alphabet, widely regarded as the most scientific writing system. 
Hunmin Jeongeum (1446)

Hunger and poverty
Natural disasters
Lack of knowledge and technology
These conditions made the life of average people more challenging.

King Sejong wanted to understand their suffering and find solutions to help them.

That was the real beginning of appropriate technology.

Now young Koreans are following his example.

Young Koreans care not only about Koreans, but also about their global neighbors.

So, they are now developing technologies that will bring hope to people.

Korea’s appropriate technology #1

G-Saver was developed to help Korea’s neighbor, Mongolia.

Winter in Mongolia lasts for 7 months a year.
Below zero temperatures continue for a long time.

Fuel is critical to the lives of Mongolians.

Mongolians spend the highest amount of their living expenses on purchasing fuel.

Due to the smoke of burned fuel, the sky of the country has turned grey.

“When we can’t afford to buy fuel for the heater, we live by boiler tubes inside of a manhole.”
“Because of fuel expenses, our kids can’t afford to attend school. We sometimes have to starve.”

Koreans wanted to help Mongolian families who suffer from severe cold.

So, they developed the G-Saver, which is a heat accumulator that has high energy efficiency and produces less exhaust.

“If 100 thousand G-savers come into use, we can save 27 million dollars and 2 billion tons of fuel.”
- Good Neighbors

G-savers have helped Mongolian families to have a meal in a warm house.

G-savers have also helped Mongolian children go back to school.

Someday, they will clear the exhaust and recover the blue sky.

This is not just an advanced technology.

It started with a genuine care for global neighbors.

It was the result of strenuous efforts to overcome challenges together.

So, we call it a technology of hope.

“Business leaders today spend all their time trying to serve the richest 10% of the world’s customers. We need a revolution in business thinking.”
- Out of Poverty (2008) by Paul Polak

Technology is improving at a rapid speed.

However, only 10% of people enjoy the benefits of such technologies.

The other 90% of people remain out of the reach of such technologies.

What they need is not advanced technologies, like cars, computers or the internet.

What they need is something that helps them to overcome poverty, hunger and disease.

This is a technology of hope.

VANK wants to bring hope to the 90% of people.

We are looking for young Koreans who will lead this change. 

Follow the example of King Sejong.

Develop technologies, scholarship, politics and arts that will bring hope to people.

Then, you will become world changers!

Money and power aren’t everything.
Young Koreans pursue becoming sincere friends with people around the world.

Young Koreans will be the hope of the world.

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