The Publication of Our First Guidebooks for North Korean Women Defectors
The Women’s Human Rights Defectors (WHRD) who supports women’s rights and seeks true understanding and solidarity between North Korean women defectors and South Korean women, is publishing guidebooks for North Korean women defectors.
WHRD published two guidebooks; “A Guidebook for North Korean Women Defectors”- around the country (consortium of Gongneung Welfare Center, sponsored by Community Chest of Korea) and “A Guidebook for North Korean Women Defectors in Gwangju-Jeonnam Area” (consortium of Gwangju-Jeonnam Help Center for North Korean Migrants, sponsored by Korea Development Bank (KDB) Foundation).
Our guidebook is special in a sense that it is published specifically for North Korean “women” defectors, compared to the majority of existing publications published for North Korean defectors in general to help them settle in South Korea. We believe these guidebooks will help North Korean women defectors to get a good grasp of women’s life in South Korea and resolve many issues they may face as women in daily lives.
It is necessary to voice out the hardships North Korean women defectors face as they attempt to settle down in South Korea because not only the number of North Korean defectors surpassed 20,000, the fact that the majority of them (70-80%) are women. WHRD fully realized the importance of publishing a guidebook specifically designed for North Korean women defectors who encounter more challenges as a wife, mother, head of the household, and especially as a woman in the society.
It is natural for both North and South Korean people to feel different and awkward about one another due to different culture formed for years after the division, despite our history as one nation. It may be especially awkward for North Korean women defectors to settle down in a totally different place. Therefore, including the useful resources in the guidebook for North Korean women defectors was one of the main goals of guidebook publication. We hope that the resources provided will help them to understand South Korean culture and be able to utilize the resources to overcome the hardships they may face in a process of settling down as a member of the society.
It is not easy to include every single detail about South Korea and its culture in one book. However, we put a lot of time and effort in this guidebook with our deepest concern for North Korean women defectors to settle down well with minimal hardships. We have done many meetings and discussion sessions with North Korean women defectors and numerous consultation meetings with the experts to publish the right guidebook that is brief, useful and effective. We did our best in publishing our first guidebooks focusing on main areas that are important in settling down, although we can’t be satisfied nor expect too much at a first attempt.
We held two briefing sessions about our guidebooks in Gwang-ju (2011/11/30) and Seoul (2011/12/2).
In the future, we will cover more practical things to aid North Korean women defectors to settle down in South Korea well with less frustration and hardships.
The guidebooks can be downloaded from the link below.