Support for North Korean Refugees
By JoonYong Ahn and YoonHee Park
More and more Koreans in New York
are helping North Korean refugees.
Through concerts and bazaars, religious groups
and other non-profit organizations gather funds and send them to organizations
in China that take care of North Korean refugees. Also, some refugees are invited
to the U.S. as guest speakers in seminars sponsored by these community service
On June 8, a bazaar was held by the Church of St. Francis of Assisi
at 32nd Street and Broadway in Manhattan. About 50 volunteers from the church
participated and sold Korean food, donated clothes, furniture and other home products.
Kim explained, We have long been engaged in helping the homeless in the
city. Now is the time to save our own brothers and sisters in North Korea from
suffering. Half of the profits from this fair will be sent to help North
Korean refugees in China, and another half will be used for charity in New York.
New York Art Song Association (NYASA) has been raising funds for supporting North
Korean refugee camps in China through concerts since 2000 when the refugee issue
was started to get attention among many Koreans. This May, the association presented
the 7th Benefit Song Concert for the North Korean Refugees at HyoShin Bible Presbyterian
Church of New York. Many singers volunteered and successfully attracted an audience
ByungSun Suh, the president of NYASA, thanked Korean-Americans for their
support and participation and acknowledged that the profit goes directly to the
missionaries in China who are helping the refugees.
The Commission to Help
North Korean Refugees in New York invites North Korean refugees who successfully
settled in South Korea to speak to Korean communities in New York and to U.S.
This January, the commission held a conference on the reality faced
by North Korean refugees. It invited Yong Kim, a former North Korean lieutenant
who escaped from the notorious No. 14 political prison and made his
way to South Korea.
In addition, there has been increasing coverage of North
Korean refugees by major media in the U.S. Last month, the New York Times Magazine
presented a special issue on children in North Korean refugee camps with horrifying
pictures describing constant deprivation and fear. The New York Times introduced
eight North Korean youths who crossed the border to China risking their lives
and currently are living in accommodations provided by the South Korean government.
Translated from Korean by JooYeon Lee
to The Citizen Page