(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Twenty children with disabilities from the New Hope Centre in Zarqa participated in the 19th annual Dead Sea Ultra Marathon on Friday, thanks to the efforts of one Korean volunteer.
Cho Ae Yeong, a social worker who volunteers at the centre through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), said the marathon, of which the children travelled the last 10 kilometres, was a chance for the children to get some fresh air and exercise.
"Many of these children spend most of their time indoors, so when I heard about this marathon, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take them somewhere outside of the centre, which would be good for their mental and physical health," she said.
Given that this year's marathon marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Jordan and South Korea, and is sponsored primarily by the Korean company LG, Cho approached KOICA to provide transportation and accommodations for the children, along with 15 other volunteers to help out with the children.
Cho and Jordanian workers at the centre, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Development, combined efforts to prepare the children for the marathon by increasing their daily exercise time in 30-minute increments and participated in the event by guiding and carrying the children through the crowds.
Han Young Tae, KOICA chief representative in Jordan, praised the volunteers for their efforts, saying that he was "happy to participate in the 19th annual Dead Sea Marathon hosted by one of our Korean companies, and even happier to be participating with the disabled children of Jordan".
Han also noted that the experience was "a good opportunity for the new KOICA volunteers to get to know Jordanian society" and that he hopes to "encourage volunteers to become more active in the rural areas of Jordan outside of Amman".
For Cho, however, the day was all about the children.
"When I see the kids happy, it makes me happy," she said.
A government-run aid agency of the Republic of Korea, KOICA was founded in 1991 for the promotion of socio-economic development in developing countries around the world, and opened its office in Jordan in March 2008.
The agency's activities include vocational training projects all over the country, which range across sectors of governance, environment, agriculture, energy, business and language, according to KOICA.
The Dead Sea Ultra Marathon is held every April and is the main fundraising event for the Neurological Society. Friday's "run to the lowest point on Earth" attracted more than 8,000 runners, representing 52 countries.