South Korean society considers marriage to be almost a social function.
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Since the 1990s, the South Korean government has instituted a policy that encourages mostly provincial men. marrying a woman from a foreign country
But the lives of married immigrant wives are not easy. Some were branded with prejudice. Some faced domestic violence.
Many women come to South Korea without even speaking the language. Still, some people have developed themselves to play an important role in South Korean society.
This is their story.
Kim Hana met her husband for the first time in Nepal. when her aunt arranged a match The two had never met before.
Her husband flew in from South Korea and within 3 days they started discussing marriage. before the two moved to South Korea the same year.
Kim HanaKim is one of the few cops who is not a native South Korean.
Kim said it was not uncommon for young Nepalese to move abroad. whether for work or marriage because in the country there are limited opportunities
After 11 years, Kim is now a police officer. and is one of the few cops who are not born South Korean.
“There might be people who think I’m not good enough to be a policeman compared to a native Korean. But I don’t have time to think about that,” said the 31-year-old, formerly known as Samjana Rai, before changing her name to Kim Hana when she gained citizenship.
“When I put on the uniform I have a gun on my waist I think no one has a problem with me not looking like a Korean.”
Kim Hana Kim Hana (right) first met her husband when her aunt arranged a match for them, having never met before in Nepal.
Information of the Multicultural Family Support Center (Multicultural Family Support Centre), which is run by the government, found that in the past few years The number of women who migrated to South Korea rose sharply, from 120,110 in 2007 to 287,298 in 2019.
But the image of immigrant women from East and South Asia as “ordered” wives still exists. causing discrimination to occur
“I remember when I got on the bus when I was little, a man shouted, ‘Vietnam, sit here!’,” Kim recalls.
So far, Vietnamese women who migrate to South Korean men account for one-third of all immigrant wives.
However, Kim was able to stop thinking about it for a very long time. and feel that Korean society is better accepting people from different cultures And the government has established a multicultural support center since 2008.
“Right now there is a large gathering of foreigners. And I meet a lot of different people while working.”
human rights activist
Kum Van Nok met her husband for the first time in Vietnam. home country
Now, the farmer has a master’s degree in administrative law. She also ran for the Democratic House of Representatives last year. Though losing, she was one of the few candidates in the House of Representatives. Not Korean by birth
However, she is still working to push for legislation to help protect immigrant discrimination.
The turning point in her life was when she helped Vietnamese workers who were arrested for protesting their conditions at work.
“In Vietnam, I could never imagine that the authority could be held accountable. But seeing those workers win the case I realized that in Korea We can make a real change.”
However, she also had to face some bad things. recently while trying to help workers get their visas The immigration officer refused to summon her with a respectful prefix.
“If we are treated like that Just imagine how other immigrants will be treated.”
When Kyla (pseudonym) traveled from the Philippines to Seoul in 1999 at the age of 24, she couldn’t speak Korean with her husband. She has never been abroad. And that was her first serious relationship.
The two were paired through the “Unification Church” in the Philippines, but a few years later. Married life was ruined. Her husband started drinking and eventually left, cutting off, not sending money to look after her and their three children.
When there is no subsidy Kyla became a teacher and made a living for herself.
“I work long hours a day. But sometimes there is not enough money for expenses,” she explains.
Kaila is now a mentor to an immigrant wife. and also an interpreter for police and immigration officials.
Getty Images Many Korean immigrant wives can’t read Korean.
She told the people she counseled that marriage wasn’t just about family. But it’s a wedding with another culture too. Kyla says the support provided by the Multicultural Support Center has been very helpful. And now more men come to meet and talk.
“Korean men are increasingly being taught how to build families of people of different cultures. This is something that never happened.”
when asked about the future Kyla said she wanted her children to have equal opportunities with other Korean children.
Now, her daughter is practicing to become a K-pop artist. The middle son started working in an IT company. The eldest son is currently enlisting in the Navy.
“I do everything I can to help my children thrive.”
BBC Thai news published on the website News Sod is a collaboration of two news organizations.