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Korean teachers’ union overwhelmed by letters of support following ferry disaster

published 24 April 2014 updated 28 April 2014

Words of support and grief for South Korea are arriving from around the world as dive teams continue to search for victims following the ferry sinking off the country’s south-western coast.

Of the 475 passengers and crew aboard the ferry when it capsized April 16, 325 were high school students and 14 were teachers from Danwon High School near Seoul on their way to Jeju Island, a popular vacation spot. Most of the students and teachers remain missing.

In response to the tragedy, the President of the Korean Federation of Teachers’ Association (KFTA), Ahn Yang-ok, sent a letter to teachers’ unions around the world calling on their members encouragement for those affected.

“Your heartfelt words of condolence and encouragement will be of great help for students, teachers and parents to overcome their deep sorrow and maintain hope,” said Yang-ok in his statement. “Especially, parents, students and teachers of the high school in question are suffering indescribable grief, as they have had close contact with the people on board.”

On behalf of Education International, General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen expressed his strongest condolences to the families of those lost and still missing.

"We were shocked by last week's tragic events, and would like to offer our encouragement to the families as they try to make sense of what happned."

In light of the disaster, KFTA has launched a fund-raising movement to help the high school’s teachers, students, and the families of the victims as they try to grapple with last week’s events.

To send letters or messages, please email all correspondence to [email protected], and the union will deliver them to the Korean Education Ministry and the high school in question.