Ki-Won was born in China after his parents fled North Korea during Japanese colonization, he returned to North Korea in his 20s and married Hayoung a year later. In his 60s, Ki-Won escaped to China with Hayoung to find food.
“We couldn’t even eat porridge. We had to pick grass because there was no one to help us. The government didn’t do anything to keep us alive and many people died of starvation. I had no choice but to leave in order to survive.”
Since Ki-Won had been out of China – his birthplace – for 40 years, the Chinese government denied him citizenship, so the couple hid in the underground for over 10 years until LiNK brought them out into our Southeast Asia shelter.
“I was so scared when I came to [Southeast Asia]. I barely evaded being arrested but when our friends from LiNK came to greet me, I felt so thankful and at ease.”
Ki-Won and his wife Hayoung are safely resettled in South Korea with the assistance of the government. Though Ki-Won’s old age prevents him from working with his skills in manufacturing, repairing machines and farming, he is happy to be safe:
“I had to leave my motherland and live hiding in darkness, but because all of you helped me out, my mind is at peace and I am very, very happy. I can’t express how thankful I am.”