Sarah, our Rescue Teams manager, started her 4th fundraising campaign last fall and was able to raise enough money to help a North Korean refugee reach freedom, bringing her total number of rescues to two!
We asked Sarah to share her her motivations behind fundraising and offer some tips to those who want to start their own campaigns. Check out her answers below:
The first time I was involved in fundraising for Refugee Rescues was when I led a Rescue Team in college. Through hosting various events on campus, we raised enough funds to rescue Jin Kyung and it’s so awesome to see that years later she is thriving in South Korea, with a baby and plans to go to college. I decided to fundraise again because I have seen how a rescue can change a life forever and I knew that I could make a positive impact again by asking friends and family to help me reach my goal.
I became interested in this issue after searching for internship opportunities online. I previously knew very little about North Korea and I was intrigued by how complex and serious the issue was. Since getting to know North Korean refugees and their stories, I have learned that there is so much hope for the North Korean people and that we have an amazing opportunity to help them accelerate change in their country.
Being a Nomad also helped me realize that this movement is so much larger than what we do at the office. It’s a huge network of event organizers, Rescue Team leaders, and donors who are all incredibly passionate about empowering the North Korean people.
Also, my eyes were opened to how powerful sharing the stories of the North Korean people could be. It was amazing to see to see high school students go from asking, “Why do you want to help our enemy?” when they saw our shirts or banners as we were setting up, to asking how they can get involved in our work after they saw the presentation.
I think the number one thing that others can do is to share with their friends and family why they care about this issue and personally ask for them to donate. You can share refugees’ stories and let them know that 100% goes to our rescue program. I’ve fundraised for my birthday using a Facebook event to help promote it. I encouraged people to give by adding fun incentives like thank you notes, handmade bracelets, and even did dares like singing in public or other embarrassing things. Doing that makes it fun and helps people see that you’re really invested in reaching your goal.
I believe that the North Korean regime’s system of oppression is the last of its kind and I think it’s amazing that we can have a part in changing history. Despite the lack of progress on high-level policy, there is so much momentum now thanks to the North Korean people and the grassroots changes they’re making inside their country. Helping a refugee reach freedom not only changes that individual’s life but it also has a long-term impact because that person is now empowered to share their story or send money and information back to their family in North Korea.
You have so much to be proud of because you took a risk to make a better life for yourself and you can do whatever you set your mind to. Thank you for your courage and for showing the world that there is more to North Korea than nukes and dictators. You have a global movement of people from all around the world who are here to support you. Through my job at LiNK, I get to be in touch with over 340 Rescue Teams from five continents who are contributing their time and efforts to continue to rescue refugees. We all want the best for you in your resettlement and we know that one day we’ll get to celebrate liberty in North Korea together!
The more people that get involved to support the North Korean people, the faster they’ll be able to achieve their liberty. No matter what your background or how much time you have to give, there are so many different ways to get involved so you can actually make an impact now. Whether you host a tour event, become a monthly donor, fundraise online, or start a Rescue Team at your school or in your community, you will be changing the world for the better!
Self-care because it’s the first step to being able to effectively help others, and queso because as a Texan it’s my main food group, but it’s hard to come by out here in California.