When Jinwoo sees North Korea programming on television now, he changes the channel immediately, but he didn’t always feel this way. Jinwoo was born in North Korea and lived there for over 30 years. As an adult, he worked to distribute pamphlets declaring the greatness of Kim Jung Il and Kim Il Sung. This is a job only given to those who are extremely loyal and dedicated to the government-sanctioned ideology.
Jinwoo eventually began to hear about opportunities in China, and during an illegal visit realized the full extent of what existed outside of North Korea. Though he never expected to stay in China, he wound up being unable to leave due to some complications. Thanks to his positive outlook, Jinwoo decided to make the best of it and found work wherever possible. Luckily when he decided to escape China in search of freedom and safety, he was partnered with LiNK, who helped him resettle in South Korea.
Keeping in line with his positive disposition, resettling in South Korea just meant a chance for new adventure and experiences. Determined to go to school, Jinwoo was disappointed to find out he was too old to receive government scholarships, but soon after, was given a scholarship by a local church and is now pursuing a degree in Creative Writing. While English class has proven difficult and he has struggled with the routine of going to school, he continues to push forward with a smile on his face, working hard and refusing to take his freedom for granted.
Every morning the LiNK staff in Seoul is greeted with a text message from Jinwoo, wishing them well and thanking them for all they do! It’s nearly impossible to imagine what he has experienced, but we’re so thankful to see him loving every day in his new life.
UPDATE: July 2013
Jin Woo completed his first semester of university and is now on summer break, but this doesn’t mean he’s going to be lazy and have fun in the sun. He already started studying English and volunteering in his community. His friends describe him as a very social and kind person, often lending a ear and buying people lunch. He likes to take care of people around him.