In 2010, LiNK launched our RESCUE PROGRAM with the goal of rescuing 100 North Korean refugees. Although LiNK had rescued several refugees prior to 2010, this was the first year we established our rescue networks and asked YOU to fund the $2500 (We've since updated this number to $3000 to include resettlement support. Read about the change here.) it costs to bring an individual to safety and freedom through the 3,000 mile underground railroad through China, into Southeast Asia. Learn WHY and HOW we rescue North Korean refugees here.
Yoon Hui was sold as a bride to a man in China. One day, while her husband was at work, she fled and met with LiNK. She is now living in safety and freedom in South Korea, where no man can own her.
Eun Hae escaped to China at the age of 19 with the hopes of being able to send money and food back to her family in North Korea. She is now living in safety and freedom in the United States.
“I sincerely want to thank everyone who has generously supported me and every other North Korean who hopes for freedom, but is still on their journey.” LAUNCH MIN SUNG'S STORY
“I barely evaded being arrested [in Southeast Asia] but when our friends from LiNK came to greet me, I felt so thankful and at ease. 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.”
“Thank you so much for helping North Korean refugees who have no place to go. They will always remember your kindness! God bless you all. As a North Korean refugee, I thank you.”
“The [rescue] journey felt like a dream. When I saw those who had come to rescue us, I was excited as a child and felt like I was being reunited with my parents. I just wanted to run up and hug them.”
Myung Soo escaped North Korea at the age of 19 because he desired the freedom to choose his own personal beliefs for himself. He is now living in the U.S., free to think for himself.
With a massive increase in fundraising efforts by our supporters, 58 North Korean refugees were brought to safety and freedom in 2011. In just two years of the RESCUE PROGRAM, 80 life-changing rescues were completed, reuniting families, providing a way out of exploitation and abuse, and allowing North Koreans to fulfill their human potential in freedom.
After her rescue and resettlement in South Korea, Jin Young passed her nursing assistant exam in 2013.
Brian is in university where he finds his classes interesting because they challenge his beliefs. He is working hard to improve his English because he wants to write about North Korea as a journalist in the future.
With small and large acts of bravery and kindness from those around Minji, she has been saved from her life as an orphan on the streets of North Korea and is now safe and free to be a playful little girl, with a loving (and large!) family, surrounded by people who will continue to empower her for years to come. LAUNCH MINJI'S STORY
In 2011 we launched an online fundraising platform, increasing our ability to fund rescues. These amazing supporters have made rescues possible by fundraising online.
“I hope that I can lead a happy, fulfilled life and realize the dreams that were out of my reach when I was in North Korea. I will always try my best to do so. Thank you so much. Your support is the reason why we can be here today.”
Joo Young escaped from North Korea when she was 10 years old, and we were able to bring her to be reunited with her mother in South Korea.
Jung Geun was rescued at the age of 17. He has since safely resettled in South Korea where he is free to pursue his dreams.
Wi Sung was rescued at the age of 12. He is now living safely and soundly in South Korea, where he can grow up in a free society.
Donna, Michael, and their two-year-old daughter Isabel were rescued together in 2011. They are all now safe and free to pursue their own dreams and ambitions.
In 2012, North Korean refugees faced an unprecedented increase in efforts by the North Korean and Chinese authorities to crack down on refugee rescue routes, motivated in part by power transitions in both countries. Despite these increased challenges, we were able to safely bring 40 North Korean refugees through the risky and treacherous 3,000 mile underground railroad to freedom.
Nae Rae was rescued in 2012 and was able to reunite with her mother in South Korea in 2013. She has enrolled in English language and other classes so that she can attend university and continue her studies.
Jung Soo waited more than 60 years for freedom. After her brave escape, she was forced to hide in China for a decade, where she was sold into a forced marriage and imprisoned before she was finally connected with LiNK and rescued.
“I am always thankful for all I have been able to achieve because of LiNK’s support. I am also inspired by LiNK's supporters who are moved by my story and want to support the North Korean people.” LAUNCH YOUNG JOO'S STORY
After escaping from North Korea three times, spending a year in a labor camp, and years hiding in China, Sun Young finally found freedom when she was connected with LiNK. Her story shows that the hope for freedom that each refugee carries cannot be extinguished.
After being rescued with her husband and one-year-old son and resettling in South Korea, Sarah’s son was in and out of the hospital for a month. With her son now healthy and in day care, Sarah has enrolled in a nursing assistant program.
Moses was rescued with his mother and is one of the fortunate North Korean babies who will resettle with his parents in a safe and free society, allowing him to grow up and pursue his ambitions.
After suffering a life of hunger and hardship, Sun Hee could not stand the thought of her daughter enduring the same. Together, the two women made the dangerous trek across the border.
Ae Ra is a talented musician who was sold to a man in China after her brave escape from North Korea. She had a baby girl with this man and shortly after was connected with LiNK. Ae Ra and her daughter were rescued together and now Ae Ra controls her own life, without the fear of another man owning her. Read more.
This year, we greatly increased our peer-to-peer online fundraising efforts, allowing us to double the number of life-changing rescues compared to the year before. In 2013, we shared how North Korean refugees are building a bridge to North Korea, increasing the PEOPLE’s potential to drive change inside their country. Learn more about the Bridge to North Korea.
Ga Yeon was born in North Korea, but is now on her way to a new life in freedom where she will have the chance to fulfill her human potential.
Ji Young left North Korea in search of food, but once she arrived in China she was sold as a bride to a Chinese man. Just as she was ready to give up hope, she was rescued and now lives in freedom!
“I am always thankful for everyone who supported me in big and small ways. I would like to thank you so much for supporting North Koreans' escape to here (South Korea) and thank you in advance for all the support that will happen in the future.” LAUNCH SUJI'S STORY
Eun Ji was born in North Korea, so she had to keep her favorite pastimes, dancing and singing to South Korean pop music, a secret. She was rescued and now lives in freedom.
Sang Il was rescued with his son. When speaking of his fellow North Koreans, he wishes they knew the truth, saying, "Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un are all they know. They've been fooled their whole lives and don’t even know.”
Mi Hyun knew that in North Korea, even if she was smart and studied hard, it wouldn’t be of much use. But she had heard that was not the case in South Korea, where she now lives in freedom. She is now confident that she can better her life through education.
Ji Yeon escaped from North Korea several times, but was always caught and sent back to face harsh punishments. Since her rescue she has finally reached safety and no longer has to live in fear.
In 2013, Marie Claire featured a story about Donna, from her life in North Korea to her rescue and resettlement in the United States. LAUNCH DONNA'S STORY
Youngest and oldest rescued refugees in 2013!
To the left, Ji Hyung, who escaped North Korea at just over one year old with SIX of his family members. To the right, Dae Jung, who was rescued at 72-years-young!
In 2014, we are hoping to conduct 100 life-changing rescues. You can help us reach this goal by donating to our rescue fund. Providing an individual’s rescue and resettlement support costs $3000 and every dollar you give will help bring another refugee to freedom.
These people and groups have either donated or fundraised the $2500 it takes to bring an individual to freedom.
(In 2014, we updated this number to $3000 to include resettlement support. Read about the change here.)
Glen A Wilson High School
Watchung Hills Regional HS
Grand Valley State University
The Hotchkiss School
University of Pennsylvania
UNC Chapel Hill
Central High School
Carnegie Mellon University
Auckland International College
University of Oregon
Korean American Hope Foundation
Seoul Rescue Team
Jonah Peretti & Andrea Harner
Ki Hong Lee
Todd and Carolyn Burns
Doug and Christine Metzler
Kyung Yoon Moon
David and Susan Brindle
Melissa Ko & Doug Hahn
Hugo & Julia Marx
Kyu H. Lee
Metro Community Church
Bethany WELL Church
Grace Ministries International
New Hope LA
One Family Chapel
Faith Christian Community
Light of Jesus Mission Church
Southland Christian Church
Tacoma Presbyterian Church
Korean Church of Boston
Swipe For Humanity
GRACE & MERCY
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We’re campaigning to help 200 North Korean refugees reach freedom.