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Overcoming great odds to become second-ever blind judge in S. Korea Updated: 2020-12-02 17:19:29 KST

Among South Korea's 155 newly appointed judges, one person in particular stands out: Kim Dong-hyun, the second-ever visually impaired man in the country to become a judge.

"I was overjoyed to be appointed in October but now I'm beginning to feel the heavy burden of what it means to be a responsible judge."

Kim was attending Yonsei University Law School when in 2012 he lost his eyesight in a medical accident that put his career ambitions in jeopardy.
That's when his mother came to the rescue, becoming her son's eyes so he could continue his studies.

"When I first returned to school after the accident, she had to come to Seoul all the way from Busan to take care of me I'm blessed to have such a loving mother."

She read him articles about Judge Choi Young, the only other blind judge in Korea, who inspired Kim to eventually graduate.
And now, after five years working as a law clerk and a lawyer, the 38 year-old is undergoing a 4-month training program at the Judicial Research and Training Institute in Goyang, where facilities have been modified to accommodate his needs.

The new judge studies law through sound, using special software that converts written text into audio files.
Despite such technological progress, Kim says there is much room for improvement.

"The lack of access to online resources in the private sphere really makes daily life difficult for the visually impaired, especially in today's information age."

He believes that requiring private firms to provide information in audio form, like the public sector has to, will allow the visually impaired to pursue careers that had previously been out of reach.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
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