“Empowering Unwed Mothers in Korea”

“My mother pitied me, yet she did not allow me to come near her neighborhood.”

“I cried buckets over the miserable reality I was facing, in front of a doctor I’d never met before.”

Young unwed mothers Ka Young Jo and Kye Eun Lee openly and bravely shared their stories with the audience at the Human Library of a session hosted by the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens at the JCI Asia-Pacific Conference 2019 on June 19th.

On the topic of “Empowering Unwed Mothers in Korea,” the Centre co-organized the forum with Intree, an unwed mothers’ club in Korea, and the Seoul Young Leaders Club of Rotary. The session aimed to address existing social stigma as well as societal and political challenges faced by unwed mothers in Korean society.

Introduced by President Choi HyungSuk of Intree, Secretary General Arrey Obenson of JCI, who also serves as a Board member of the Centre, and BKMC CEO Monika Froehler welcomed the participants, emphasizing on the importance of empowering women through cooperation.

“What would you like your child to see in the future?” asked Froehler to the gathered audience, answering her own question that she would like to show her child a society that “does not stigmatize unwed mothers anymore” when she visits the country again.

 

Chairperson Hyekyung Lee of the Korea Foundation for Women expressed her appreciation when giving a congratulatory remark:

“It is delightful that the Centre has selected the topic of the issues of unwed mothers. The Ban Ki-moon Centre’s engagement with JCI, Intree and SYLC makes a huge impact,” said Lee.

The first section entitled ‘Human Library’ was moderated by MC Myoung Ryoon Kim, a women’s right activist, who facilitated heartfelt conversation with two young unwed mothers. For the second section, representatives from academic, private and public sectors gave presentations on the best-practice examples of supports for unwed mothers and discussed areas to improve in the Korean government’s policies towards them:

  • Heekyung Jo Min, Executive Vice President & Head of CSR, CJ CheilJedang
  • Hyeyoung Kim, CEO of Korean Institute for Healthy Family (KIHF)
  • In Gyun Baek, Executive Director of Business Administration Division, KDB Bank
  • Jung Hyeun Sung, Professor of Social Welfare, Hyupsung University
  • Lisa Kuzunishi, Special Researcher, Rikkyo University
  • Simone Eun Mi, Adoption Human Right’s Activist

       

Professor Sung talked about challenges and stigma that Korean unwed mothers face daily, stressing that providing them with psychological supports needed for each phase of pregnancy, childbirth, and child-rearing is also important. Dr. Kuzunish suggested residence as a solution to social issues, using the cases of single-parent families in Japan. The “Hello Dream” project of the CJ Welfare Foundation as well as the Triangle project of the KDB Welfare Foundation were introduced to the unwed mothers who were attending the session.

KIHF CEO Kim presented the current policies on single mothers and their children and the integrated framework. Simone Eun Mi shared that she was born to a Korean mother, who later became a single mother, and then was sent for an adoption to the Netherlands by her father. She shared perspectives of the overseas adoptees born to a single mother in Korea.

“[Some] society sees the unwed mothers as problems. For me, I see them as solutions,” said

At the end of the session, as a women’s right advocate, JCI Youth Peace Ambassador, UN Youth Champion, and a singer-songwriter, Tennille Amor also delivered a message on the importance of making the voices of women and girls heard and performed two meaningful songs that she wrote: “Bad Name” and “I am a Girl.”

Watch the music videos:

 

The 3rd BKMC Board meeting takes place in Kuwait

On February 11-12th, the 3rd Board meeting of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens took place in Kuwait. The ‘Why Group’ (Márcia Balisciano, Susan Myers, Arrey Obenson, and Michael Sheldrick) of the Centre presented a document based on their discussion on the “Why” of the Ban Ki-moon Centre, suggesting clearer vision and missions, measurable projects and investments, and the Centre’s position in correlation with its Co-chairs and Board members.

After discussion, the Board agreed on the following adjusted mission statement:

“The Ban Ki-moon Centre – working with global citizens across boundaries to create a better and safer future.”

The Centre will continue to put efforts in achieving its goals by
* Focusing on implementing the project plans
* Measuring deliverables
* Dividing responsibilities between the affiliated offices
* Branding and consolidating the Centre’s activities
* Fundraising for 2020 budget objective

BKMC hosts “Advocacy: Your Tool for Change” workshop at the African Youth Development Summit

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler hosted a workshop on “advocacy: your tool for change” at the African Youth Development Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa on November 30th, 2018.

With 120 advocates, the Summit co-hosted by BKMC partner JCI and Africa 80 aimed to help young African leaders identify the challenges they face and actively seek for solutions for the sustainable future. The 3-day summit was free to attend, and upon successful completion of their participation, each participant received a complimentary ticket to the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 organized by Global Citizen.

Ban Ki-moon Centre Presents at JCI World Congress in Goa

Last week, the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s Associate Julia Zimmerman participated and represented the Centre in its partner Junior Chamber International’s (JCI)‘s World Congress in Goa, India. The Centre was introduced to the JCI community at the General Assembly during which a video greeting from Co-chair Heinz Fischer was also screened and shared with the audience from all over the world.

The Ban Ki-moon Centre also hosted a workshop “The Global Citizen Mindset” and featured advocacy specialists. The workshop aimed to help participants understand the concept of advocacy and the role young people can play in advocating for causes they care about. It also emphasized different opportunities to engage with advocacy globally.

JCI is non-profit organization for young active citizens between the ages of 18-40 committed to creating positive impact in their communities. JCI has members around the world and seeks to help them in developing the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to make informed decisions, and most importantly, to take action for positive change.

 

JCI’s mission is:

“To provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change”

Every year, JCI holds a week-long World Congress including trainings, workshops, social and networking events, and meetings with its leadership and General Assembly. As JCI is a valued partner of the Ban Ki-moon Centre that promotes the notion of global citizenship and the importance of youth empowerment, Secretary-General Arrey Obenson of JCI is on the Board of the Centre.

During the opening ceremony of the world congress, national presidents took to the stage while displaying their countries’ flags and inciting cheers from the audience. However, as much as national pride was celebrated, the collective mission of JCI and its members was the overarching theme.

Learn more about the JCIWC: http://www.jciwc2018.com/