I was raised in easy circumstances in Pyongyang. However, just after my brother escaped from North Korea, my family was deported to Hamgyeongbuk-do Province, notorious for political prisoner camps. It was then that I made the decision to leave North Korea when I realized the fact that it would be impossible for me to move forward for a better future.
After resettling in South Korea in 1997 with a fresh heart, I started to study while I work. However, I was swallowed in despair when my mother lost all the money collected for the family due to the investment fraud. What shocked me more was that more than 1,000 victims were engaged, mostly marginalized North Korean Defectors who had to send a remittance for their family remained in the North.
I started Glov just to give hope for those North Korean defectors to get back again. The only goal of Glov was to help them learn about the concept of market economy and settle down in South Korea.
After having gone through difficult times of selecting a proper business item and gaining customers, I finally decided to begin the sunflower oil business with the help of my brother from Ukraine.
Glov is the social enterprise manufacturing healthy sunflower oil, directly importing oil from Ukraine, one of the top 3 countries of producing sunflower seeds.
We are currently working with 7 North Korean defectors, who find it difficult to adjust to their new lives in South Korea, usually due to the strong prejudice towards them. Glov offers them jobs as well as opportunities to find their own talents. Some of the members in Glov could even start their own business.
Our sales were hardly hit by COVID-19 as we could no longer supply the cooking oil for schools, which was our target market. However, we could turn this crisis into a new opportunity by expanding our sales market to franchises as well as general consumers. As a result, cooking oil sales have increased.
Glov will relocate its factory, having facilities with sanitary certificates and support more North Korean defectors with stable jobs. Also, I hope Glov to be a good model to show that North Korean defectors can also play their roles as members of Korean society. What makes me proud is those North Korean defectors who stand on their own feet in Korean society. Glov will become an incubator as well as Hearts Haven for North Korean defectors.