September 15, 2009 | British Columbia
Vancouver, BC – September 15, 2009 – CDI College has joined the fight against malnutrition. Dr. Peter Chung, CDI’s Executive Chairman, announced that the career college has donated $20,000 to First Steps, a Vancouver-based humanitarian organization that provides soymilk to young children in North Korea.
“First Steps is committed to improving the quality of life for tens of thousands of women and children,” says Dr. Chung. “As a provider of health care career training programs across the country, CDI College realizes the importance of this work. We are honoured to be able to help them and encourage other people to donate as well.”
First Steps was founded by Susan Ritchie after she returned from North Korea where she served as an interpreter for a Canadian government delegation in 2000. While on that trip, Ritchie witnessed first-hand the effects that a decade-long food shortage and malnutrition had on the country’s young children. Upon returning to Vancouver, she and a group of volunteers launched the organization. They sent their first food aid package in 2002, but have since shifted their focus to providing specially-designed machines for food production centers in Nampo, Wonsan and Hyongjesan, to process soybeans into protein-rich soymilk. Each machine can produce enough soymilk daily to meet the growth requirements of up to 2,000 children.
“This significant donation from Dr. Chung and CDI College resonates with their mission to ‘change lives through education,’” says First Steps founder Susan Ritchie. “Besides providing much needed nutrition that helps children grow, we are often told by teachers and officials that the daily cup of high-protein soymilk keeps school attendance rates at nearly 100%.”
In addition, First Steps supplements low-yield soybean crops grown by partners in North Korea with Canadian-grown high-protein soybeans. The organization also works with North Korea's Institute of Child Nutrition to provide essential nutrition for pregnant women and babies.
“This year, we hope to raise $100,000,” adds Ritchie. “First Steps is grateful to Dr Chung for inspiring others to give to the generous matching fund reach out to more than 70,000 vulnerable children in North Korea.”