First Anniversary of Happiness Fund-A story of one lady, “Reuniting with my husband in 12 years”

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There are bunch of purple morning glories blossomed on my way to work. Those flowers have been there for a while but just that I couldn’t pay much attention to them. However, the flowers appeared unusually beautiful to my eyes today. I suppose it is because of what happened to my husband that I could finally realize how beautiful they were. He has returned home in 12 years.
I am a mother of three children. In 2002, my daughter has entered elementary school. To my great happiness, I bought her a fancy red dress and a pair of pink shoes. Our family was happy and full of joy. But it was in the morning of one of those peaceful days that my husband drove me into confusion with his first words: “let’s get divorced.” The reason was that he fell in some debt problem due to his own business he was running. At that time, my husband was running his own business delivering tuna to neighboring markets or town; though it wasn’t greatly lucrative, we had enough spare money to save every month. His suggestion to get divorced was of something that I couldn’t have expected at all. I calmly asked him how much the debt was. He said it was about 50 million won. But I thought that it wasn’t that of a big deal and mortgaged our house to borrow 50 million won thinking that it was the only way to avoid getting divorced.
But the problem was that it was just a beginning. 50 million won was only the amount my husband urgently needed to block further storm, never the aggregate amount of debt. Creditors kept on calling and sending notices. The total amount of debt was about 200-300 million won.
What was happening? How did my husband end up in such disaster? My husband was a very diligent man, sacrificing his whole life working for our family day and night. Everything started to get ugly as promissory notes received after delivering products to major supermarkets have gone default. As he started overusing several credit cards and borrowing money from private lenders, he fell into a dire situation as time passed.
I’m a brave person who does not feel any fear in handling problems. I set up my mind pay back my husband’s debt. However, it did not take long for my firm will to collapse. I stood strong even when our apartment, car, and even our parent’s home were sold over. But I felt myself more and more helpless as my husband and I quarreled several times a day when creditors rushed into our home and as he tried to commit a suicide few times. I sometimes became so mad that I shouted out inhumane curses to my husband. Sometimes I even came to think it would be better off dying. And one day I set my mind to get divorced for the first time in my life.
Divorce procedures were easier and faster than I thought; yet, the image of my husband crying reflected in the rear mirror of the bus kept bothering me and shook my determination. I decided to postpone the submission of documents related to divorce, thinking it wouldn’t be late even if I make up my mind before the submission dead line which was three months from then. Since then, my husband and I naturally got to withstand conflicts and children also seemed to gradually overcome the situation. Our family, as a whole, started to gather together to cope with the painful reality. It was the only way to avoid getting divorced. It was the choice that our family made to bear the burden together even if we get to pay back the debt for the rest of our life.
Recently, the new government has launched a debt relief program called “Happiness Fund.” I took out the courage to visit Happiness Fund center hoping that it could make our life better. I submitted some necessary documents on behalf of my husband who was working as a day laborer in Geoje-island. Unlike my anticipation that the process would be complicated, it was quite simple and easy. Moreover, I could receive financial support faster than I initially thought. 60% of the debt was written off the day I submitted the application form. In addition, with extended repayment period of 10 years, we were able to pay off the debt while still educating our children. Above all, my husband is no longer a delinquent borrower after experiencing 12 years of social disadvantages as a credit defaulter. Right after applying for the Happiness Fund, I called my husband to inform him of such delightful news. I could tell right away that my husband was sobbing the moment I heard his voice over the phone.
It has passed 10 years already and we are paying back the debt faithfully thanks to the help of the government. Today my husband does not have to live as a homeless. He can also vote for who he likes on an election day. Finally, he has come back to our family as a father and a husband. In 12 years, my loving husband has returned to me and to our children. I would like to express my sincere thankfulness to the Happiness Fund.

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