I’ve been in South Korea since July 2013 on a Fulbright Fellowship with the U.S. Department of State. Throughout, I’ve been exposed to enlightening cultural experiences and challenges. However, perhaps some of the most compelling stories I’ve heard deal with North Korean defectors or NKDs.
While all of us, especially in the United States, hear a lot about North Korea in the news, the stories of NKDs put a human face on the abuses and political theater of the North. North Korean defectors are lucky if they get out of NK, let alone finally make it to the South. However, defectors face numerous challenges once arriving in South Korea. After going through an intense orientation process, NKDs must attempt to assimilate in a capitalistic and democratic South Korea. They must adjust to a very different culture, economy, and educational environment.
While I haven’t been able to directly volunteer with NKDs this year like many of my Fulbright counterparts, I do believe it’s vital that I offer my support in any way possible to these individuals and families. As I’ve learned this year, South Korea has numerous cultural norms and high expectations–how difficult they must be to attain after coming out of such an oppressive regime.
In support of NKDs struggle to resettle in the South, I am participating in Running 4 Resettlement, an initiative affiliated with the excellent group Liberty in North Korea (LiNK). On June 15th, as part of the Kim Dae Jung Peace Marathon in Seoul, I will be running a 5k to fundraise for Running 4 Resettlement and to show my support for NKDs.
I’m not in racing condition yet, but over the next month or so I will train and prepare for the race. However, my running alone is not going to make a difference for North Korean defectors–that’s where you come in!
You can make a difference in the adjustment process for NKDs who have made it to the South.
WIll you donate $10 or more right now to support resettlement for NKDs? Your donations will go directly to Liberty in North Korea’s resettlement program in South Korea and provide much needed funds for North Korean Defectors. I’ve paid all of my race fees already, so again, every dollar you chip in goes straight to supporting the LiNK’s fund.
These individuals deserve a fair shot at a successful life in the South. NKDs, especially after all they have been through, should be able to thrive in their new lives. As a global community, I believe that we owe them that opportunity.
Can you spare $25, $15, or even $10 to support North Korean defectors in their new lives? Every donation makes a real impact on these individuals. North Korea dominates the news cycle; you can make a positive contribution.
I hope that you will join me in supporting North Korean defectors as I run my 5K on June 15, 2014. Please, donate now and stay in touch as I participate in Running 4 Resettlement! Please let me know if you have any questions, and I hope that you’ll consider chipping in a few dollars for a great cause!
**as my computer is currently in limbo, and having a Mac in the land of Samsung can make things more difficult, please forgive typos etc. I’m hopeful it’ll be back to normal soon.**