You could knit for hours,but it would never pay enough for the whole family to eat a meal. Little Ms. Kim, the youngest in the family,sat knitting with her family of five - her fingers so sore, her hands so tired. But they couldn’t stop knitting. It was either that or starve. There were days and nights that Ms. Kim couldbarely move her hands.
People all around Shineju,Pyonganbookdo were starving, and there were many days where someone they knewwould just disappear… that person had died. The Kim family never knew ifsomeone they talked to one day would be there the next day.
The atmosphere of fear andhopelessness was everywhere. But herfather’s friend knew all their struggles; at least they had someone to confide in. You couldn’t trust everybody!
When father’s friend hadthe great idea of teaching the merchant business to Ms. Kim, she was sograteful! Finally - her hands mightrest! And maybe this “Uncle” wouldprovide a way for the rest of the family to have some hope!
She prepared to go withUncle to Sakju. Hopefully, this would bean adventure; Ms. Kim didn’t have manyof those. When did she sense that this“uncle” had evil in his heart towards her? When did his eyes begin to change? She didn’t tell us how he kidnapped her and took her to China - was shedrugged?
Uncle got a relatively highprice for her, when he sold her into slavery. Now in China, the sexual assaults and hatred were part of dailylife. She did hard labor at a farm in Ronyungprovince. It was much harder than knitting. An old song kept going through her mind, andshe sang it endlessly while weeping: “The spring of my hometown”.
Would her winter neverend? Eventually she had a baby boy. Could she ever bring her baby intofreedom? Days passed into months, andthen into years. The hatred, theassault, the beatings were part of her daily life. Still, she sang her song - sometimes just inher own mind, to be safe.
When her son was 5, anopportunity came for escape! Grabbingher son, she left. We can’t share details,for the safety of others in similar situations. When Ms. Kim found NAUH, she was frightened, and so worn out.
Can she find a refuge in South Korea? Any hope for Ms. Kim is only possible becauseof kind and generous contributions from people like you.
Can I See The World Outside My Window? -(The story of Ms. Song)
For 2 years, Ms. Song was imprisoned in asmall room, a slave to a Han Chinese man. The four walls were so horribly depressing, and this man’s mother wasalways waiting to say or do something cruel.
Ms. Song remembered her husband in NorthKorea, too - how he beat her every time he drank. After 7 long years, she divorced him - andnow here she was in slavery in China.
She had been born in Onsungkun, and shewas around 20 when the Great Famine began. The starvation and sorrow in North Korea caused her decision to flee toChina, in hope of a better life.
For protection, we can’t share how sheescaped or found NAUH’s safe house. But Ms. Song tells us, she wantsto see the world outside the window! Forthis, she needs citizenship in South Korea.
Because of kind andgenerous contributions of people like you, Ms. Song has hope.
Mother is in Prison, Father Has Run Away, Little Brother and I AreStarving - Now What? - (the story of Ms.Jung)
When Mother was caught by the police, Ms. Jung felt the world had cometo an end. Who would feed the familynow? Mother had desperately found a wayto sell Chinese-made goods, which of course was against the law. But what did the government expect starvingcitizens to do?
Now Mother was in jail, and who knows what terrible thing was being doneto her. Ms. Jung never stopped thinkingabout it.
"Hundreds ofthousands of people - including children - are detained in political prisoncamps and other detention facilities in North Korea’
Many of those have notcommitted any crime, but are merely family members of those deemed guilty ofserious political crimes.
. . . one of [the camps]is three times the size of Washington DC contains 20,000 inmates. According toone former official it had talked to, detainees were forced to dig their owngraves and rape was used as punishment, the victims then disappearing.
Back in Bochung, Yankangdo, Ms. Jung and her younger brother facedextreme hunger every day. Then theirfather made a decision. But he did nottell them about it. One morning, whenthe children woke up, he just wasn’t there.
Now she and her younger brother were alone.
Her brother depended on her - and what could she do? What would Mother have done? Day after day passed, and father neverreturned. Young Ms. Jung found a sourcefor beans grown in China, and tried to sell them at the market. Taking every step for survival wasaccompanied by a sickening dread - a fear of being sent to prison, just likeMother had been. But hunger drove heron.
The question of why Father had left was like a knife in her heart. Every morning that she and her youngerbrother woke up, they looked into each other’s eyes with grief.
It was hard leaving Little Brother at home, but she had to get money for food. Then, when the authorities caught her, there was no mercy. Smuggling anything from China was a crime againstthe government (a government that made it impossible for the citizens to haveaccess to food.) Her mother had a crimerecord and now she did too - this wasdouble danger for the family now.
Ms. Jung had nothing to lose now. It was either prison, or escape to China. But she couldn’t bear to take her youngerbrother - he could not survive this trip. Together, they would certainly be “repatriated” and die in the process. And so, she crossed alone over the Aprokriver.
Predators were waiting. She wascaptured and sold for just 90 USD to a Chinese man 5 years older than she. The sexual assaults and beatings began. She was assaulted behind closed doors, andoutside, she was mocked and ridiculed - all for being a helpless slave.
We are keeping some details of her escape private, for safety concernsof others. We are thrilled that Ms. Jungfound NAUH. Can she gain South Koreancitizenship and have some peace of mind? Can she find her brother again, and bring him to safety? Perhaps, even show him a whole newworld? We want to help her.
Anyhope for Ms. Jung is only possible because of kind and generous contributionsfrom people like you.
Thehome was taken, and then I became Kkotjebi
Ms.Lee was born in November of 1978 in Bokdong, Pyunganbookdo. She lived alonewith her mother, and after finishing her schooling, she became a merchant. Shegot married in 2000 to a military veteran. They together bought an apartment inKoosungkoon. However, without warning, or reasoning, the government authoritytook their apartment, and let them out of the property with no compensation.
Theoutward reason was that they didn’t work for the government, so they are notallow to buy the apartment which they already paid. They were able to stay inbrother in-law’s home for a while, but Ms. Lee’s kids were fighting with their cousins,and the fight soon involved the adults.
Theyhad to move out from the home, and became beggars (Kkotjebi) on the street. Shehad no choice, but to flee to China to make money. From the year 2000 in China,her life became horrendous. She was sobbing daily, and finally able to contactsomeone at her hometown. She heard that her husband passed away, and her kidsare living on the street.
Shewas able to contact us, and we are gladly helping her.
Shewishes to come to Korea ASAP, and take her kids to South Korea. She wants to bethe mother to her children which she hasn’t done for years now.
My Children - I Must Hold Them Again - (the story of Ms. Kim)
Ms. Kim labored on the farm daily, to feed her children. She woke upvery early and began her hard labor, with everyone else. But for her threechildren, she would do it. The fooddistribution was really not adequate, and everyone was malnourished. Also therewas no husband to help, and she felt such pain and hopelessness over her hungrychildren - looking at their little faces, and seeing them cry from hunger.
Her motherly love was so deep that it was the reason she got up everyday and faced the farm. Her words and love kept her children alive, and sheknew that.
In 2016, the food distribution stopped… all the workers were in despair.And Ms. Kim was almost insane with desperation! She left Kimjungsookkoon, andat age 33 she made the heartbreaking decision of how to save her family. She left the children in the care of theoldest daughter. She fled to China, hoping for at least one day’s wage.
The trip to China was filled with fear and confusion, tears and theconstant danger of discovery. How did Ms. Kim feel when the human traffickersseized her, and sold her to the Han Chinese man? Every day during the beatingsand assault, she had more tears for her children than for herself! Her heartbroke a thousand times - where did they think mom was? Where were they now? Ifonly she could hold them again and tell them again, how much she loved them.
For protection, we can’t share how Ms. Kim escaped her prison life andfound NAUH’s safe house. Her only thought is to get her children and bring themto live under the same roof. Because of the kind contributions of readers likeyou, we can give her hope.
Nobody Else Thinks I am Human, but I Know I Am - (the story of Ms. Park)
The only way to survive in Ms. Park’s area was to hunt for blueberriesand herbs on the mountain. She knew themountain so well - always hunting for just one more berry. The walk was hard and the hunt was desperate,but what else could she do? The wholetown of Heasan, which is near the North Korean- Chinese border, wasstarving.
Then, in 2013, the herbs on the mountain seemed to dry up. She couldn’t stop hunting - what hadhappened? Her long walk became longer asshe hunted for something, anything! Andthen she got lost. She can’t rememberhow she got to this strange area that she had never seen before. But - there were herbs here, and she pickedthem.
She soon found out that she was actually in China, when the army foundher. There was no mercy from NorthKorean army authorities for starving, poor people like her. Severe torture was the result.
At the ‘Geachunkyohwaso’ reformation camp the mental torturestarted. Every day began with someone’sdeath in the morning. There was no endto the variety of cruel torture that the guards and staff could think up. Some prisoners were forbidden to see the sun.
Ms. Park says she felt her stomach harden like a stone. Because of thetorture, she developed gynopathic disease. The grief, sadness and fear took itstoll. Finally, when she was released in2015, she was 45 years old. But she feltlike she was 85. Despite this, as soonas she was released she fled to China.
Now she was sold as a 45 year old slave to a poor Chinese man. Herslavery lasted 3 years, with more mental torture, beatings, and sadness.
For protection, we can’t share the details of her escape and how shefound NAUH. But her only desire is tolive in a country where she can experience being treated like a humanbeing. At almost 50 years old, Ms. Parkhas endured much suffering, and we hope to help her all we can.
Everyrescue we provide is only possible because of kind and generous contributionswe receive from people like you.
Whoever saves one life saves the entireworld.
Please join us in saving one life at atime.
Weat NAUH desire to rescue every person who appeals to us for help,
butthere are times when we must turn people down because of lack of funding.
It costs about $2000 USD to save onerefugee life.
(Our priority is orphans, women, and men -in that order.)
Because of your contributions, we are saving one life at atime;
NAUH has partnered with you so far to give freedom to 366lives.