Filipina single-mom is cafe owner in Korea

We have heard time and time again of married immigrants who struggle with their lives after divorce or after being widowed. It is especially hard because they live in a foreign country. There may be problems with the language, employment and cultural challenges. Of course, there are people like former Rep. Jasmine Lee who  her family after losing her husband. There is also DJ Gennie Kim, whose life is perfect for an episode of “Maalala Mo Kaya”. Hopefully, we could share their stories later to inspire other Filipino women in Korea.

Last July 6, a Philippine-born single mom of two elementary school kids opened her cafe. Jenelyn Luna (not sure about the spelling of her first name) is elated about the opening of her cafe located in Sindaebang in Dongjakgu. It is the 30th branch of “Cafe O Asia” ~ a coffee chain owned and operated by North Korean refugees and the marginalized sectors of society ~ single moms and multicultural.

Genalyn Luna is her own boss! Photo: Yonhap
Genalyn Luna is her own boss!
Photo: Yonhap

The project “I’m CEO” provides a 20 million won start-up funding to help the vulnerable members of society become more financially independent. Consultancy support and barista training is also provided. This project is mainly sponsored by POSCO and supported by NGOs 사랑의열매 or Community Chest and SESNET.

How does it feel being a cafe owner?

Genalyn Luna takes care of her two elementary school kids. Her husband did not support her in acquiring Korean citizenship. When she was selected to be a recipient of the “I’m CEO” fund, she was worried that she may not be able to handle the business. However, seeing the excited look on her children’s face has given her confidence in this business endeavor.

Cafe O Asia - Sindaebang branch Photo: Yonhap
Cafe O Asia – Sindaebang branch
Photo: Yonhap

We wish Genalyn success in her business. And I hope that we could support small businesses like her. Next time you’re in Sindaebang, do drop by her shop.

Hopefully, there would be more companies like POSCO to help social enterprises.

At the 1st year anniversary of Cafe O Asia
At the 1st year anniversary of Cafe O Asia

You can find Genaly’s shop inside Dongjak Sangtaeville. It’s a few minutes walk from exit 3 of Sindaebang station or exit 6 of Guro Digital Danji station.

cafe o asia

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