Every fall we ask you to help us fund life-changing rescues for North Korean refugees, but our last campaign was special. We gathered together three of our North Korean friends, Joo Yang, Yeonmi Park, and Joseph Kim, to share their stories of life back in North Korea, of the fears they faced while hiding in China, and of their lives since resettling. At the end of the video they made a simple request, asking people from all over the world to support the North Korean people by funding rescues for 200 refugees.
This was our most ambitious effort to date, but based on the huge outpouring of support it received, we discovered that when you make big goals you get a big response. Within days, the campaign video received thousands of views and hundreds of shares. By January, the number of views reached more than 500,000 and the video received hundreds of comments and was shared thousands of times.
Out of the more than 2,000 people who donated, 85% of them had never donated to us before. We saw donations come in from 38 countries, including Estonia, India, and Zambia.
Over 1000 people started personal fundraising pages, making various goals from funding complete rescues and resettlement support to school supplies and textbooks. In total, 68% of the funds raised for this campaign were done so by fundraisers.
100 Rescue Teams fundraised for this campaign, bringing in just over $42,000.
With the matching grant in play, you helped us raise $399,920 by December 31st. Over the past month, that number has increased to more than $479,000, which will help 159 North Korean refugees escape China and fulfill their potential in freedom.
Here is an estimate of how the amount raised so far will be spent:
Rescue Fees | $215,550
This includes all costs for fines, fees, and the network of partners and staff in the underground to bring refugees to safety.
Rescue Transportation | $79,834
The cost to transport the refugees, partners, and staff during the 3,000-mile journey.
Resettlement Assistance | $79,834
Funds to help resettled North Koreans reach their full potential through personal development, career development, and financial assistance programs we offer in South Korea and the United States.
Contingency | $47,900
Funds set aside for emergencies and unforeseen expenses on the journey. All unused contingency funds are rolled back into the budget for another rescue.
Basic Needs | $39,916
Funds to provide food, new clothes, and other necessities to the refugees during their journey and transition to a third country.
Accommodation | $15,966
The cost to provide shelter for the refugees and our staff along the journey.
Though we didn’t reach our goal of funding 200 rescues, this was still our most successful fundraising campaign so far. More people stepped up to support the North Korean people than ever before, which just goes to show that this movement is blossoming each year.
Throughout the year we’ll continue to fundraise to cover the remaining 41 rescues, so you can start your personal rescue campaign or make a donation anytime.