Ae Ran Won was established as House of Grace, on April 1, 1960. It began as a home for runaway girls and prostitutes. Its founder, Eleanor E. Vanlierop, was an American Presbyterian missionary who saw a need to help these young women. It was run independently by Mrs. Vanlierop, and the program was supported entirely by fundraising. Mrs. Vanlierop drew upon the love of Christ as she served unmarried pregnant women who were in need of a loving and nurturing environment during pregnancy and beyond.
In 1977, when Mrs. Vanlierop had retired and gone back to the United States, she turned the program over to the Social Welfare Foundation of the Presbyterian Church of Korea. In her honor, House of Grace was renamed Ae Ran Won. Ae Ran, which means “planting love,” was Mrs. Vanlierop’s Korean name.
In 1983, Ae Ran Won was recognized for its work by the Korean government and began to receive some official financial support.
Many changes and much progress have occurred over the years. In 2000, the Ae Ran Mother and Baby’s Home opened, designed to support unwed mothers who wanted to keep their babies. Ae Ran Seumter opened in 2001. This group home serves adolescent mothers who have placed their babies for adoption but cannot return to their homes because of family abuse.
More recent developments demonstrate that the mission of Ae Ran Won has expanded beyond its own facilities. Begun in 2006, the Happy Mom Project, a support center for unwed single mothers who are not in one of the maternity homes, helps these mother and their babies grow in self-reliance. In November of 2008 the Happy Mom Project led to the opening of the Me.You.Us. Support Center for unwed mothers and their children who live in the local community.
Ae Ran Self-Supporting Home opened in July, 2008. Even though mothers get a job after finishing a job training course, they cannot return to mainstream society because renting a room is too expensive, and it’s beyond their means in Seoul. So Ae Ran Won provides them free housing to complete their settlement in this society.
In July, 2010, we opened the Narae Alternative School, to help female students whose pregnancy puts them at risk of withdrawing from their public school.
Our philosophy is to provide services that address:
• physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual needs
• decision-making about whether to parent or to place a baby for adoption; the decision to give up their babies must not be based on financial problems
• achieving self-reliance for their stable lives by first graduating from high school (or getting the equivalent degree), and then getting an employment license after finishing a job training course.