December 18, 2013
As some of you in Seoul might remember, a few months ago we did a fundraiser event for Liberty in North Korea, and we raised a decent amount of money for them. Now that it’s Project for Awesome season, we were hoping to do a little bit more.
When a lot of people think of North Korea, their first response is to think about nukes and crazy dictators, which is true, but it overshadows the bigger issue in North Korea, which is the humanitarian crisis going on there. Liberty in North Korea helps the people in North Korea, and we’re hoping that we can help out with Liberty in North Korea as a result.
We’ve teamed up to make this video and this post. The rest of it from the next paragraph onwards is written by them, which I only think is fair, because they have a better vocabulary than we do when it comes to describing what’s happening in North Korea and what they’re doing to help. Give it a read. Even if you can’t help with clicking, hopefully we can at least raise awareness of the situation:
Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) is an international NGO that works for the North Korean people. Based in California, with staff in South Korea, New York and Southeast Asia, they work to shift the international focus away from Kim Jong-un and nuclear weapons and on to the people who are driving grassroots change in their country. They also work to support that change from the bottom up.
How do they do that? Well, simply put, they EMPOWER THE PEOPLE.
When a North Korean decides to risk their life to make an escape over the border into China, they are still not safe. Refugees caught in China are sent back to North Korea to face the sometimes fatal consequences of their ‘treason’. Those that hide in China lack any basic rights and are vulnerable to extortion, human trafficking and exploitation.
LiNK helps bring these refugees to safety. They work within a secret 3,500 mile rescue route assisting North Koreans out of China and into Southeast Asia, from where they can resettle to countries where they can be safe and free. Many North Koreans then begin their new lives in South Korea and America.
But the story doesn’t end there.
Adjusting to a new culture and society can bring many challenges. LiNK helps with this resettlement process, assisting with their education and connecting them to support systems and opportunities so they can fulfill their potential in their new lives.
Many defectors have family and friends back in North Korea. In turn, they use their new-found freedom to support these loved ones. They are even able to send funds through broker networks back in to North Korea, and the significance of this money is huge. Not only does it cover the basic needs of many that receive it, it also provides opportunities never before available to them. It empowers them to participate in the newly formed markets.
For decades, the North Korean government mandated that people depend on the regime for their basic needs–food, clothing, supplies, etc. However, due to economic decline the North Korean government could no longer supply even the most basic of items to their people, such as rice. As a result, resourceful North Koreans turned to selling what they could on the black market and began importing goods from China. Many of these market activities are still illegal, but as time goes on, the markets have become entrenched and the authorities have no choice but to accept these flourishing local economies.
Why are these markets significant?
Not only do these markets empower the people to purchase basic necessities once more but they also increase the flow of outside information into the country. DVDs, USBs, computers, cell phones, radios, and other banned materials are bought and sold in these markets. These technologies are used to learn about the outside world, improve businesses, and to connect with family outside North Korea – all things forbidden by the regime.
South Korean broadcasts can be heard on these illegal radios. South Korean and American films and dramas are also very popular. Many North Korean defectors have cited this contact with the outside world as the spark that caused them to question the ruling regime. The world as presented to them their whole lives is in stark contrast to the one they can now see.
You can help!
This video is competing in Project for Awesome‘s 2013 YouTube competition. The videos with the top views in the 48 hours of December 17-18 can win TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars for their charity! So just by watching and sharing this video, you can help CHANGE A LIFE! ….. TWEET IT! SHARE IT! RE-POST!
This video was made with the support and efforts of the Seoul Rescue Team. We are an all-volunteer group here in South Korea that promotes the work Liberty in North Korea does. If you are interested in joining us in supporting this life-changing work, you are welcome to donate on our group fundraising page HERE.
100% of these donations are used to fund rescues. It takes $2500 to bring one refugee hiding in China safely to freedom. These funds are used for transit, food, broker payments, lodging, and other necessities. For an exact breakdown of how funds are used, visit this page for more information. Liberty in North Korea is a registered 501(c)3 and donations are tax deductible.”