20 years ago, during a skin-piercingly cold winter, Ms. Lee Sun-lan defected from her hometown of Musan, Hamgyeongbuk-do. She was 29 years old when she defected, and after having lived in China for 5 years, she came to Korea in 2006. She settled in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do, looking for employment whilst carrying her one-year-old second son, when she came across a job posting flyer at an intersection and started her building cleaning work. At first, she cleaned stores or studio apartments, and as her experience grew, she cleaned large buildings and new apartments before tenants moved in.
“A lot of people asked why a 30-year-old young lady was doing cleaning work, but I had no choice if I wanted to support myself and my two children.” The cleaning work continued for 7 years. During that time, she grew accustomed to the cleaning work and having acquired her driver’s license (type 2, normal) and able to drive her car, she was put in charge of cleaning buildings in other regions.