Monday, August 17, 2009

reflecting on the trip

Our last day was an intense flurry of last meetings, back to back. We met with an artist who has created a beautiful piece regarding birth moms who relinquished their children, and a social work student who wants to study about the impact of social work counseling on unwed moms decisions to raise their children or not, and Dr. Boas had a final interview, did some work on our web site... and on. Then we ran for the bus to the airport and flew home.

Now, home and over jet lag we are reflecting on our trip. For all of us one of the main highlights was the meeting organized by unwed moms themselves. They are able to use the Seoul City Hanbumo Center to meet and discuss issues such as what kind of government support they may be eligible for and how to find jobs and the like. Eventually they plan to advocate directly for their needs. The energy in the room, as already written of in an earlier blog, was fantastic.

Another highlight was visiting the Me You Us center created by Aeranwon. Also mentioned in a previous blog, the number of women they are serving, with a very diverse range of services, after just 6 months of operation, is impressive.

Both of these stand out as they reflect two important changes. One is the readiness of unwed moms to become visible, to speak up for themselves. The other is the move of services to support moms while they live in communities. As there are so few places in group homes, most moms of necissity and probably to some degree choice, live with their parents, with friends, or in their own apartments. Community based, rather then shelter based, programs are essential for them.

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