Interview: Joy Mworia ‘Chairperson Kenya Community in Korea
- Kindly introduce yourself.
“My name is Joy Clara Mworia, and I’m the current Chairperson of the Kenya Community in Korea. I have been in Korea for three years, two and a half as a graduate student at Pukyong National University and currently an English tutor. I am an outgoing person who enjoys meeting new people of different cultures and finding ways to help my fellow Kenyans in Korea feel at home far away from home.
- You replaced Dr. Benson Kamary as the new Kenya Community in Korea Chairperson. Tell us about that and what it meant to you (the fact that Kenyans in Korea had trust in you to pick you as their new leader).
I must confess that Kamary left some big shoes to fill. I was privileged to have known Kamary personally and worked with him in several occasions even before joining KCK as active members. We both went to Daystar University and happened to have resided in the same city, Busan, in Korea.
- What inspired you to vie for this position and what do you hope to achieve.
As an active member of Busan KCK chapter and later a member of the regional executive, I was able to find inspiration and also a calling to be part of KCK leadership. I must say that it is the togetherness of Kenyans in Korea that was a motivating factor. Kamary’s team transformed KCK with structures that enables leadership function even more smoothly.
- Please tell us a little about KCK .
Kenyan Community in Korea was founded in March 2007. Since then the community gradually transformed itself towards an organized association with leadership structure and a comprehensive constitution. It was until 2011 when new leadership transformed KCK into a professionally organized community by institutionalizing its various leadership and communication functions.
KCK is organized exclusively to provide a source for networking, promote success of members and advance the Kenyan values in Korea. The organization may undertake to publicize events and activities organized by its membership.
- Highlight some of the milestone achievements that KCK has so far achieved ever since it was started.
The list is endless, but just to mention;
- Published “The Big Book”; a collection of academic papers by KCK members.
- Strengthened the Regional Branches by recognizing leaders and their committees.
- Created KCK brochures (downloadable from KCK website) to be sent to Korean Embassy in Nairobi etc.
- Amended constitution to introduce Governing Council (KCK Exec, Regional Leaders; and Students Body and Professionals/Business as Ex-Officios)
- Strengthened KCK-Embassy collaborations & Coordination (e.g. exhibitions, scholarships information, etc.)
- Created a healthy financial status for KCK from an inherited debt to over 1 Million Won through out the leadership term.
- Expanded registration by almost 100 new members
- Facebook membership grew from 640 to over 1000
- Record breaking numbers in all major KCK events (over 70 in Tujuane Fest in Cheonan, 200 in Busan Retreat, etc.)
- For the first time branded KCK events with KCK T shirts (this will go on with customized regional color-codes e.g. Busan-Red, Daegu-Green, Seoul Blue etc)
- Initiated establishment of Diaspora Alliance (Asia Chapter) with KIJA (Kenyans in Japan) and Kenyans in China. Ongoing process.
- Built KCK profile and image as evidenced by growing interest to join KCK and also in leadership position. KCK is becoming competitive.
- Initiated a process of appointing Honorary Ambassadors from outstanding Korean KCK members to strengthen KCK-Korea socio-cultural and organizational interactions.
- Introduced “KCK Official Seal” as the official stamp for KCK documents/ recommendations and certificates.
- Created and launched the KCK Official Website
- Collected comprehensive data of Kenyans in Korea
- Conducted leadership SWOT analysis to strengthen service delivery
- What are some of the challenges that you face (as KCK).
– The fact that KCK is not yet registered, we can’t take our conversation/engagement officially to the government of Kenya or Korea.
– Geographically, some places in Korea has only one or two Kenyans and so it is a challenge including everyone in the activities.
- I believe that most of the KCK members are scattered across the country. How are you able to maintain that closeness and sense of unity as a community, and most importantly as a family.
We have been active in our communication, which is one of the key pillars that Kamary’s team established. We have increased our presence in the social media, we have a website and a blog, as well as email and brochures. Beyond that, we believe that Kenyans are the primary ambassadors of KCK in terms of making the organization known to everyone. Our goal is to have any Kenyan coming to Korea to know we exist even before they take the flight here. By the way that has begun to happen.
- Most Kenyans I know based in Korea are into studies. Is there any other category of Kenyans engaged in something else other than studies?
Yes, we have Kenyans who are professionals and are working in various professions, lecturing, company, and business. We are also seeing a growing number of cross-cultural marriages between Kenyans and Koreans.
- How do you relate with the Kenyan Embassy in Korea. Don’t your roles overlap? How supportive have they been?
We work closely. The relationship has grown to be very cordial and we see each other as working toward the same goal – seeking the best wellbeing and success for Kenyans in all areas they are involved in. We are blessed to have a great Ambassador and embassy staff who participate in KCK’s events and integrate with Kenyans at various levels.
- What is your dream for the future of KCK.
That KCK be a model of Kenyan diaspora community. That we will be a voice of hope, patriotism, resilience and beacon of prosperity in all we do as international students or professionals.