"The Bridge of Life"
Despite being coveted by many for its rapid technological advancements and rise of the Korean New-Wave in recent years, South Korea holds one of the highest suicide rates in the world - approximately 25 people take their lives every day. Famous for its excellence in academia and education, South Korea has experienced rapid economic and social growth since the Korean War came to an end in 1953.
A culture of academic excellence and achievement has permeated throughout the country for many years now but this highly pressurized environment has come at a cost.
For example, during the college entrance exams which occur exactly once per year, the roofs of institutions are locked so that students are prohibited from accessing it to commit suicide. With an oversupply of college-educated citizens, coupled with an undersupply of respective jobs, more and more Koreans are finding themselves either unemployed or overqualified for part-time and odd jobs. Furthermore, an hourly minimum wage of about $5.00 U.S. dollars (₩6,000) is gradually making it clearer for Koreans to look elsewhere for a better life.
The multiple bridges interconnecting the Seoul metropolis, which run across the famous Han River, have become notorious for suicide attempts and suicides. Among them is Mapo Bridge, or as some have come to call it, “The Bridge of Life”. Every Thursday Night from 11:00pm to 3:00am, three unlikely heroes from Kansas City, USA, patrol this bridge. Originally roommates who met one another in Kansas City, Jordan ford, Christopher Lofland, and Min-Heok Lee have founded the Lifeguard Ministry Project. Their mission: to prevent suicides and save lives. This is their story.