KUMFA (Korean Unwed Mothers’ Families Association, formerly Miss Mama Mia) is an organization that was starting by and for unwed mothers themselves. It started as a Naver cafe and then expanded to an offline monthly meeting where moms can participate in educational lectures, exchange information, etc.
In addition, KUMFA holds camps for each major holiday in Korea, in order to provide family environments for moms and children during holiday seasons. KUMFA also provides educational, advocacy, and counseling support programs for unwed mothers. (For more info about KUMFA, covered by the NY Times.
KUMFA also runs the Hyung Project (형프로젝트) in order to create one-on-one relationships between volunteers and their partner children. Volunteers become mentors to their partner and it also gives the moms time for themselves when their children meet with their big bro/big sis partner.
KUMFA has also worked with TRACK, ASK, and KoRoot (adoptee advocacy groups) to help pass the revisions to the Special Adoption Law in 2011, which will help bring Korea up to standards of the Hague Convention on the Rights of the Child. The link between international adoption and unwed mothers in Korea is clear – currently, 90% of the over 1,000 babies that are sent from Korea each year now are those of unwed mothers – a tragic indication of the difficulties that unwed mothers in Korea face. (For more info on the Special Adoption Law, covered by the Korea Herald). KUMFA continues its advocacy for unwed mothers through various public campaigns, such as Single Moms’ Day, in collaboration with TRACK and KoRoot.
Finally, in the beginning of 2011, KUMFA opened HEATER (희망을 찾는 터 – 희터 for short), a facility that provides care for mothers who keep their children. Each year the facility houses and feeds up to 24 mothers and their children. Two mothers and their children stay at HEATER for two months at a time. It is a unique place in that, unlike other facilities in Korea, HEATER accepts mothers who are older and/or have children. Some of the children need medical attention (For more info on Heater, covered by the Korea Herald). Heater is currently raising money in order to move into a larger space, free of mold.