The city of Seoul will be greatly reinforcing support for the descendants of independence activists who sacrificed and devoted themselves for the nation’s independence. The city will be supporting the descendants who are economically challenged with the aim of providing them with honorable and stable lives through respectful treatment and support, in order to compensate for the commitments of their ancestors.
The independence activists here refer to the martyrs and patriots defined in the Act on the Honorable Treatment of Persons of Distinguished Service to Independence. According to the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, the number of independence activists is 15,454, and the number of their descendants currently living in Seoul is estimated to be about 17,000. The number of individuals of distinguished service to independence still living and residing in Seoul is 10 patriots and their average age is 95.
Unfortunately, in many cases, the economic hardship was passed down to new generations, rather than the honor and pride, because their families became financially poor through their dedication to the independence movement. As the economic hardship obstructed the opportunity for education, the education level of later generations became lower than that of the independence activists (57% with at least a high school diploma). Seven out of ten activists and their descendants (74.2%) earn less than KRW 2 million a month.
Seoul has prepared the legal foundation to support these persons of distinguished service to independence through the First Patriots and Veterans Comprehensive Plan (announced in 2012), the first of its kind developed by a local government, and increased the number of patriot and veteran benefits from one (veterans honorary benefit) to four.
The city is set to reinforce the honorable treatment, including financial support, by establishing the supporting policies for descendants of independence activists. Starting in January 2020, “life-supporting benefits for independence activists” will be launched to offer support of KRW 200,000 per month to about 3,300 low-income households with descendants of independence activists, providing substantial economic aid.
The special provision of public rental housing for descendants of independence activists will be expanded by providing an additional 178 houses, which is 5% of houses built in Godeok-dong, Gangil-dong, and Wirye. The move-in period for these houses will start in 2020. 1,900 independence activists and their prioritized families will now be offered a water bill reduction of 10 m3 per month and an 80% parking fee reduction in public parking lots in Seoul.
The Independence Activist Scholarship will be established targeting the students (living in Seoul) attending universities in Seoul as fourth to fifth generation descendants of independence activists. The purpose of this scholarship is to enable academically talented descendants of independence activists to study without worrying about tuition, supporting a total of 100 students with KRW 3 million per person.
With Independence Day just around the corner, Seoul announced the plan for honorable treatment and support reinforcement for descendants of persons of distinguished service to independence. Following the First and Second Patriots and Veterans Comprehensive Plans (in 2012 and 2018) through which the city largely enhanced the honorable treatment of patriots and which is directly related to the stability of their lives, including the benefits, residence, and medical expenses, the city has separately prepared the plan for the independence activists and their descendants in celebration of the 100th anniversary of March First Movement and the establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. By 2022, KRW 73.1 billion will be invested in ten projects in the three categories of ① stable life support, ② inspiration of honor and pride, ③ and reinforcement of honorable treatment.
|Luncheon Discussion of the Bereaved Families of Independence Activists (Feb. 28, 2019)||Discussion of Representatives of Patriots and Veterans Organizations (Nov. 29, 2018)|
|Celebratory Event for the 100th Anniversary of the March First Movement|
|Celebratory Event for the 100th Anniversary of the March First Movement||Presentation in Hyochang (100 Years of Independence) Park|