134. Second mom for the young children from North Korean
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  Name : Chosun Ilbo Date : 2013-05-08 오후 4:49:18

Second mom for the young children from North Korean

Dahae Kim, a teacher at Durihana International School
She is living together with the children in the dormitory, buying clothes from her own shallow pocket and falling asleep while talking to children that cry “I miss my mom.”

Durihana International School, an alternative school located in Bangbaedong, Seoul for the youth that have escaped North Korea, has moved into a new five story building across the street that is twice its former size. The number of students had grown from 12 to 25 and the previous place had become very crowded.

The students have increased because of Dahae Kim (an alias, aged 35) the teacher from North Korea. She lives in the dormitory with the students. She teaches them during the day and talks to them at night when children come to her saying that they miss their mothers. There were many students whose parents had first escaped North Korea and had been left behind in North Korea or China. They then later came to South Korea. They had all undergone mental sufferings and were lonely as their parents were busy making a living. Ms. Kim wakes up at five each morning and prepares breakfast in the basement of the dorm. If the children’s clothes become worn out, she uses her own salary of 1m won (approx. US$ 910) and buys clothes for them from the second hand clothes shop across the street from the school for 10,000 to 20,000 won (approx.. US$ 9-18)

The students used foul language and fists incessantly but after Ms. Kim started teaching everything has changed. The children had resented their mothers but started writing “My heart aches, as I think I may have misunderstood you, mom. I love you,” during writing class. Children started calling Ms. Kim their “second mom.” The word spread through the North Korean defectors’ community and students started increasing.

“Looking at the children, they reminded me more of my daughter. I survived with the help of their smiles and the children started to trust me after I started caring for them.”

Ms, Kim graduated Kim Jungsook Educational College and taught kindergarten children at Hyeryeong in North Hamkyung Province. She escaped North Korea in 2006 and entered China. Everything has been painful since then. She was kidnapped by human traffickers in Shenyang, China and escaped with the help of a Chinese man. She married him but could not bear his bad drinking habits and relocated to South Korea.

She worked hard selling clothes at Dongdaemun and helping at restaurants but could not sleep thinking of the daughter she had left behind in China. Hoping that her yearning for her daughter would lessen by taking care of children of her daughter’s age, she joined Durihana International School February last year.

May 2012, Ms. Kim brought her daughter to South Korea with the help of Pastor Ki-won Chun of Durihana. Sharing the smallest room of the 10 rooms in the dorm with her daughter, she says “If I start missing my family back in North Korea, I will embrace my new family here and we will console each other.”

<Chosun Ilbo, Reporter Minsuk Lee Apr 23, 2013 >