More than 30,000 North Korean refugees who successfully escaped from North Korea and China chose South Korea as their landing point. But much less attention has been focused on the more than 200 who have gone directly to the USA and the more than 600 who have gone to the UK.
Two non-profit organizations based in South Korea (TNKR) and the UK (Stepping Stones) are collaborating on several days of activities to raise awareness about the plight of refugees in the UK.
October 21, North Korean Refugee Freedom Forum (held at Resource for London)
October 23, Oxford University forum
October 24, University College London forum (pending final confirmation)
October 24, address at Parliament (pending final confirmation)
October 28, TEDx Talk by a refugee in TNKR
The two organizations (co-founded by 2 North Korean refugees, 1 South Korea, and 1 American( are both tiny non-profits. They have raised some money to cover costs for the trip and activites, but are short about $1,300. Your financial support will help cover costs for renting venues, travel to speak at events, accommodations.
The two organizations have already collaborated to connect several refugees in the UK with English tutors to help them with their struggles surviving in an English-speaking environment. As a result of this trip, we hope to raise awareness about North Korean refugees in the UK; find more tutors and coaches to assist refugees with adjustment, and find more ways to collaborate to help North Korean refugees.
Stepping Stones co-founders have both been students in TNKR.
Stepping Stones co-founder North Korean refugee Jihyun Park says: "One program that gave me hope was Teach North Korean Refugees in Seoul. I am proud to have been a student and now to be collaborating with it to bring more opportunities to refugees in the UK and around the world."
Stepping Stones co-founder Hyeongsoo Kim, currently a student in TNKR, says: "Thanks to TNKR, many North Korean refugees can speak out to tell their stories to the world and to raise awareness. I've seen so many friends who improved so much after studying in TNKR. Within the NK defector community, TNKR is the name that comes up when people talk about ways to learn English or tell your story."
Here's a Korea Times column by TNKR co-founder Casey Lartigue explaining how this project began.
Please help our effort to help NK refugees in the UK by making a donation. Other donation options including direct donations to the TNKR bank account, PayPal, 501(c)3 deductions, CMS and others are here.