101 REFUGEES HAVE BEEN RESCUED & ARE NOW LIVING IN FREEDOM THANKS TO YOUR SUPPORT. WE DID IT!
It seems like it was just yesterday that we were sending off one of our first groups of nomads across North America to raise money to help fund our goal to rescue 100 refugees hiding in China. A few months before we launched the tour we were in China visiting our programs and we met a young North Korean girl named Mi-Sun (right, circled) who was trafficked in China. She wanted to escape but didn’t think it would ever be possible because of the cost.
We were told that it would cost roughly $2,500 to help a North Korean refugee escape China and make it safely to our shelter in Southeast Asia. Most refugees hiding in China are being exploited because of the vulnerable position they are in. We knew we had to do something but we were overwhelmed by the need and the complexity of smuggling refugees out of China using a modern day underground railroad.
We had to start somewhere so we set a goal to rescue 100 refugees. We spent months working with our partners to establish the plan, and by February of 2010 we launched our first rescue mission bringing six refugees to freedom, including Mi-Sun.
We were excited about the accomplishment but we knew we had a lot more work to do. We went back to the drawing board to brainstorm how we could raise the funds needed to rescue the remaining 94 refugees. We tasked all 120 of our chapters to raise as much money as they could and we promised to allocate 100% of what they raised to our rescue missions. We trained our nomads and asked them to pass around a “rescue bucket” at every screening on our 2010-2011 tours hoping that the change collected would all add up. As we shared the stories of the refugees we had rescued, more people got involved and began donating and fundraising for the cost of these missions.
By the end of 2010 we had rescued 22 refugees, and by the end of 2011 we rescued another 58 refugees.
Despite increased security this year in North Korea and China we have been able to rescue another 21 North Koreans, which means we have accomplished our goal of helping 100 refugees escape- 101 to be exact!
These 101 North Koreans are now living in freedom because of the generosity of kind-hearted strangers and supporters like you. We have the privilege to assist many of these refugees in their new lives and our goal is to empower them to make their dreams a reality.
We want to introduce you to the individuals you helped rescue so we will be releasing one story a day for the next week and will continue to update our blog throughout the year with more stories. If you would like to follow these updates please be sure to check out our blog here.
To learn more about how refugees are shaping our strategy and how significant their role is in ending the North Korea crisis, check out pages 19-21 in our 2011 Annual Report.
ON BEHALF OF THE NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES WE SERVE, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!