ILC2021-7 Session 3 - Intervention of Mrs. Brigitte Wada, President Women’s Federation for World Peace, France

Good afternoon,

It is a great honour to be part of this session and I thank the organisers for inviting me. I would like to talk about the contribution of the Women's Federation for World Peace to the reconciliation of the Korean peninsula.

WFWP was founded in 1992 by Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon in Seoul with the support of her late husband Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Through its numerous humanitarian activities, particularly in developing countries, WFWP International was granted general consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council in 1997.

Where the idea for the 1% Love Share project came from?

In 2001, ten years after Reverend Moon and his wife's visit to North Korea, Dr Lan Young Moon, then President of the International Women's Federation, was one of ten representatives of the South Korean Women's Leadership Association invited by the North Korean Women's Association to visit Pyeongyang.

In fact, she was even born in North Korea and during the Korean War her family had to flee to the South. When she received the invitation, she felt both excitement and fear at the thought of stepping onto North Korean soil after more than half a century.

During the eight days she stayed in Pyeongyang, she became aware of the reality of the daily difficulties and poor living conditions of the North Korean people.

So, as soon as she returned from Pyeongyang, she launched the "1% Love Share Project".

What is this project about?

The "1% Love Share Project" is a project that was created with the belief that reunification between South and North Korea can be achieved on the basis of reconciliation and positive change in the hearts of South and North Koreans.

The project involves setting aside 1000 won (about 1 euro) each month to help the poorest people, especially children and women. Although this amount seems very small, it is affordable for everyone.

This initiative first developed into a national movement, and then received the contribution of several women's associations around the world and of the various WFWP chapters in Europe. The WFWP France made targeted actions to collect donations which we then gave to WFWP Korea, and indeed we continue with this project today.

As a result of its efforts for reunification, WFWP Korea became a member of the Korean National Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, which has a membership of about 200 NGOs. This council has a counterpart in North Korea.

What aid?

Supplies were sent 2 or 3 times a year, by land or sea. Whenever possible, we would find out what they needed and which organisation to send it to, sometimes with the help of other NGOs. For example, we sent rice and flour, blankets, warm clothes and school supplies for the children.

In 2005, WFWP-Korea also participated with other NGOs in the reforestation of the Kaesong region and provided emergency aid to victims of the devastating floods in July 2006 and August 2007. In 2008, it donated building materials and paint to renovate the "Kim Jeong Sook" kindergarten.

Since 2010, due to the tense diplomatic relations between the two countries, it has been difficult for our leaders to go to North Korea and provide assistance.

So since then, the WFWP has been helping North Korean refugees to adapt to South Korean society and has offered several scholarships. There have been sisterhood ceremonies between refugee women from North Korea and women from South Korea in order to create heart-to-heart links.

The International Assembly

Building on this foundation of trust, Dr Lan Young Moon and her team were able to organise a World Assembly of Women Leaders in 2007 at Mount Kumkang, North Korea. I was lucky enough to participate. A small French delegation accompanied me among the 740 representatives of 50 nations from all over the world. The North Korean authorities sent an official delegation of 10 senior officials to the symposium.

It was the first time that an international gathering of this magnitude had been held in North Korea since the division of the peninsula and especially to promote World Peace and the reunification of North and South Korea.

In the lead up to the event, it took several meetings to find common ground between the North and the South. However, we all shared a very inspiring and hopeful moment, especially on the last day of the programme. At the end, we each lit a candle and sang the unity song, expressing our hope for peace and reconciliation. For me, this intense moment remains an unforgettable memory. 

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