Monday, April 6, 2009

Trip Highlights from Hee Jong Kwon

We can sing a rainbow
Testimonial Dinner of Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network

Hee Jung Kwon (project coordinator)

There were two big events to celebrate; one is that KUMSN officially started in September 2008, and the other is a KWDI forum at National Assembly in March 4, 2009. I had to spend quite some time giving thoughts that how it should be celebrated well during the time Dr. Boas, Ms. Furnari and Dr. Mitchell were visiting Korea.
An idea that hit my mind was having a reception after the KWDI forum. But the next question was who should be invited. Originally I planned to invite KWDI researchers and government officials since the goals of KWDI research are closely related to designing new possible policies for unwed mothers and their children. However, it didn’t turn out well. I found government officials are in the position of being neutral so that they were willing to attend the forum but not the reception.
After tossing and turning, I realized that people who voiced and worked for the benefits and rights of unwed moms in 2008 should be invited. So I sent invitations to them and, thank God, all of them replied me that they were happily to attend.
On the day of reception, there were Dr. Kim Hey Young, Dr. Lee Mi Jeong, and other associate researchers from KWDI who have carried out wonderful research on unwed mothers and their children.

And there was Ms. Han, Sang Soon, director of AeRanWon, who has passionately provided all the possible services for unwed moms and recently opened a community base center for unwed mothers. Reverend Kim Do Hyun from KoRoot also voiced for the rights of unwed mothers and their children in the middle of adoption debating field. Ms. Cho Kyu Young, a member of Seoul Metropolitan Council, raised a sharp question to the Mayor of Seoul. It brought a positive result that the Seoul City Government was able to secure a budget for the welfare of unwed moms and their children.
In 2008, there was a forum about unwed youth moms. Two main figures to make it happen were also at the reception, Ms. Park Sung Hae, a director of Neul Purun Center of Seoul Metropolitan Government and Professor Kim, Eun Young, who was in charge of the research.

The presidents of HANBUMO Network and UN Future Forum, Ms. Kwon Kyung Ae and Ms. Park, Young Sook were also there to celebrate the night. HANBUMO network, which has worked hard for the rights of Korean single moms, started to train volunteer counselors for “little moms.” UN Future Forum has helped unwed moms by providing goods and shelters for unwed moms. And books of unwed moms’ stories and successful cases of foreign countries in supporting single unwed moms were published by UN Future forum. A writer, Kimberly Hee Stock who struggled for finding the ‘greater truth in my adoption’ though a book, Origami Crane, also attended and chatted with the other guests.

While the people at the reception were enjoying meals and talks, I received text messages from Ms. Yoo, Kyung Hee, a board member of Korea Womenlink. She sent several messages that she could be late but the last one was that she couldn’t make it since her lecture finished too late. Korea Womenlink also carried out wonderful research and hosted a symposium for non-wed mothers. They wanted to create new identity by creating a new term, “non-wed mom.” This emphasizes a woman’s own decision that she can have a baby without marriage.

Even though we missed one, there were people from academy, politics, social welfare, and NGOs from different sectors of society. We know society cannot change by efforts from only one side. In that means, we had all. Like a rainbow, the variety of color will make our society better and beautiful. Red and yellow are different. And green are purple are also different. But we know the differences can make a beautiful rainbow.

I am dreaming that the day comes soon when unwed moms color themselves to be a part of that rainbow. And the day we sing together….

A rainbow of Testimonial Dinner

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