Ae Ra is a talented musician and has studied music since she was a child. She plays the flute, piano and guitar, as well as the gayageum, a traditional Korean string instrument. She was raised by her aunt, who always encouraged her musical interests but vehemently disagreed with her decision to leave North Korea. After all, fleeing the country is incredibly dangerous and her aunt was not ready to take such a risk. This, however, did not deter Ae Ra. She was ready to give everything up for her freedom. Leaving her aunt behind, Ae Ra departed alone and secretly crossed the border into China.
Life in China was difficult for Ae Ra. Soon after entering the country, she was sold as a bride to a Chinese man with whom she could not communicate and lived in conditions that were worse than those she had fled. It seemed that Ae Ra – now pregnant with her captorʼs baby – would have no choice but to spend the rest of her life held against her will in China.
But Ae Raʼs luck started to change. She gave birth to a beautiful baby and began attending a local church where she learned of an underground railroad that could take her out of China for good. With the help of her pastor, she was introduced to LiNK. After learning more about how to leave the country, she made the decision to escape China with her son.
Ae Ra and her baby are now safely resettled in South Korea. Among her many plans, Ae Ra hopes to learn English and canʼt wait to play her instruments to celebrate her familyʼs newfound freedom. If she had never connected with LiNK, Ae Ra’s son would never have known a life outside oppression.