Imagine getting S$660 for you to have fun outside. Would you get it? It is a solid yes for many, but what about isolated people? South Korea plans to pay a monthly allowance with the said amount for reclusive young people in an effort to help them have a social life outside their homes.
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family in Seoul tries to promote outside life for isolated young people. This new measure aims to have them back to universities and work.
Around 350,000 people aged from 19 to 39 years old living in South Korea are lonely, as per the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs report.
South Korea launched a funding programme for young people who suffer from hikikomori, a Japanese term that refers to a behavioural condition characterised by extreme social withdrawal.
Along with the monthly allowance, the South Korean government also provides education and job opportunities and health support.
“This policy is fundamentally a welfare measure,” Shin Yul, a political science professor at Myongji University in Seoul, told Bloomberg.
“While it’s good to try various approaches to boost the working-age population, it cannot be seen as a long-term solution to fix the population problem here.”
Moreover, the new programme for lonely young people also provides cultural experiences for teens.
There are many case studies conducted focusing on youths battling loneliness on their own, as per the released document of the ministry.
“When I was 15 years old, domestic violence made me depressed so much that I began to live in seclusion.
A lethargic person who sleeps most of the time or has no choice but to eat when hungry and go back to sleep,” one person said.
The programme that provides S$660 for outside experiences is meant “to enable reclusive youth to recover their daily lives and reintegrate into society,” said the South Korean government.
Additionally, South Korea also plans on providing monetary support for the correction of affected one’s physical appearance, such as scars “that adolescents may feel ashamed of”.