Sunday, July 10, 2011

Multicultural Support Centre for Asian Women: A Shelter for Migrant Wives in South Korea

@photo from the organization Website

Yesterday I went to Asian Multi-Cultural Migrant Women’s Organization as a part of my field trip with our (MAINS) Director Professor Hyo-Je Cho located at Bupyeong-Gu, Incheon, South Korea. Previously the organization used to be called the Incheon Women’s Hotline, which works to protect women’s rights and develop the women’s welfare. Sometime people get confused with Hotline but it is a small part says the president Kim Seung Mi Gyeong. Therefore in 2003, the hotline replaced its name to “Multi-Cultural Migrant Women’s Organization” and has started focusing on counseling and training for women to eradicate gender based domestic violence including the sexual harassment. 
@photo from the Organization

There were several cases of migrant women killed by their spouse and their family members. For instance, A 19 year’s old Vietnamese girl was married to 47 years Korean man in 2007 but she was murder by her spouse who was just married for two month. Her death body was found only two weeks after her death. Similarly, the law to protect migrant wives is discriminatory. Under the current law, Migrant wives only get chance to apply for citizenship after 2 years with husband’s consent, which is totally unfair for migrant wives. What if the husband marries another Korean woman before two years? Is there any other way to take legal action by the migrant wife? Of course not!! Furthermore, many Korean families do not allow their daughter in law to be in touch with migrated workers from their respected countries, which forced some of the migrated wives not to even care their own sisters in Korea. Therefore there was the need of special program from migrant wives and the organization has started focusing on it.
@photos from the Organization

Every Saturday, the organization provides Korean language to foreigners especially from Vietnam, Philippines and China. “It was because majority groups in migrant wives are from these three countries and they form an autonomous group and join us" says the president of the organization. But there are also various interest groups such as home fashion, dancing club and media group related with the organizations. 
 The organization was mostly run by women with the support of men. I was very much impressed as soon as I entered to the organization. Two ladies from Thailand were learning Korean from two Korean ladies. We were warmly welcomed and then introduced each other, with a brief outline of the program. In 2007, more than 500 people including 127 migrant women and their husband’s and a small number of Korean women from 17 different countries use the organization to protect and promote their rights.
The other projects carried out by the organization are acting program for migrant wives’ husband, Asian women community project, shelter program and programs for sex trafficking.
No matter how much the Migrant women and the organization related with them like the organization I have mentioned above do well, until and unless the family accept and treat migrant wives as their native, there is a probability that violence against women will continue which have been foster by deep rooted patriarchy system in Korea.

To know more about  the organization, please visit the link  Multicultural Support Centre for Asian Women and Multicultural Support Centre for Asian Women in Blog

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