Helen Kim

Helen Kim

Founder and CEO

Helen Kim is a pioneer and visionary leader in the fields of politics, business, and philanthropy. She is the director and founder of Development for Freedom International, organization based in Haiti and registered in the United States, Canada, Korea and Australia.

Helen arrived in Haiti as a UN staff member shortly after the earthquake in 2010.  She was struck by the extreme poverty, the lack of education and healthcare suffered by the people in Haiti.  At that moment, she received the calling from Jesus to stay and serve those women and children who are in need in Haiti. Following her calling, she resigned her secure post in the UN and founded her own non-profit organization, Development for Freedom International (DFI). As a visionary and strategic leader, she developed programs that resulted in sustainable, lifechanging transformations in the lives of underprivileged and marginalized individuals in Haiti. DFI provides shelter and accelerated education for street boys and girls, heart surgeries to Haitian pediatric heart patients and through training and employment programs, and placed the most vulnerable women in Haiti on the path to self-sufficiency. Alongside of her non-profit work, she focus on preaching the gospel to Haitian population and planting churches.

Prior to joining the UN, she founded and grew for-profit ventures and established a career in the Korean national politics. She operated her own international trading company in the tea sector and became a wholesaler to upscale coffee and tea shops in Quebec, Canada.

Her expertise and accomplishments in politics and policy making are extensive.  She participated in two Presidential election campaigns in Korea as a policy advisor to the Presidential candidates. She spearheaded the development and successful passing of the Act on Support for Female-owned Businesses law by securing approval from 150 National Assembly members. The impact of this law has been significant.  It increased the percentage of businesswomen in Korea from less than 5% to over 45% of all business owners in 10 years. During her tenure as the Executive Director of the Korean Women Entrepreneurs Association, Helen utilized her political instincts and strategic leadership to increase the annual budget from $135,000 to a total of $10 million in 6 years. Other prominent achievements of Helen’s political career include the creation of a national Korean Businesswomen’s day and the institution of business support centers for women in all provinces of Korea.

Helen has received the Letter of Commendation from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy in 1998 and the Letter of Commendation from the Ministry of Gender Equality 1999 for her positive contributions to the business community and women in Korea. She also received the Distinguished Service Medal from the Korean Businesswomen’s Federation in 1999.

Helen earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea, and holds a Master of Art in International Law from Kyung-Hee University in Seoul, South Korea. Currently, she is pursuing her theological study at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in MDiv course. She has two biological daughter and son and three step-children from her newly married husband, an Italian descendant Haitian, Laurent de Matteis. They have also adopted beautiful Haitian 91 boys and girls as their children.

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