Frail, confused, and alone, Minji was abandoned on the streets of North Korea. She wandered the streets alone at a young age, unaware of her name, birthday, or who to look for. Minji was destined to meet the same fate so many orphans in her place do every year in her country, but in an incredible act of courage and compassion, a man saw her and knew her only hope to survive and live freely was to go to China. Crossing the border is considered a capital offense in North Korea, so helping Minji meant literally risking his life.
Once out of North Korea, Minji was still vulnerable. North Korean girls are preyed upon by sex industries, and Minji was unable to escape this trap on her own. While she did meet some incredible people who wanted to help, her illegal status in China made it difficult to pursue anything beyond basic survival.
Through the family she was staying with, Minji was connected with LiNK and in 2011, she was rescued through a 3,000-mile underground railroad to Southeast Asia, where she began her resettlement process.
Minji is now 11 years old and lives with a loving foster family in South Korea. Her classmates are all younger than she is but stand much taller, however, she continues to grow both physically and mentally. In just four months last year, Minji grew over 4 inches and has started attending specialized classes for literature and math, ensuring she gets the one-on-one attention she needs. While school might not be her favorite, she loves going on field trips, having the chance to visit new places. Minji has been through more than we can imagine but continues to push forward. Thanks to the selfless help of others, she now has the chance to pursue her hopes and dreams.