Before they begin the resettlement process, the North Koreans we assist enjoy a farewell ceremony with cake and candles. This may not seem like a big deal if you’re used to blowing out candles every year, but it is a special event for them. Instead of making a birthday wish, they wish for their hopes, dreams, and the safety of the loved ones they left behind.
“We are moved every time by the sincerity shown by each person. They all have high hopes for their futures—hopes that had only been dreams before.”
During these celebrations, there have been a few times where people sing and dance. We can tell that some are more shy than others in showing us their talents, but the emotion and soul felt in the North Korean songs and dance shines through just the same.
These moments continue to change our perspectives on the North Korean people. Even though the people we work with have faced tragedies in life, they all have abundant laughter and joy to share. It’s something you have to see to truly appreciate, but we hope that you can imagine the scene and contribute your well wishes to every North Korean who has gained freedom.
*Because of security reasons, we do not reveal the identities of our field staff.