Through learning can we
begin to transform the lives of
North Korean escapees

Through learning can we begin to transform the lives of North Korean escapees

Our Challenge

While headlines across the world focus on nuclear proliferation in North Korea, 120,000 North Koreans are currently detained in the most appalling conditions in Gulags. Thousands are being exploited in forced labour conditions across the country, and have their rights to free of thought, conscience, religion, association, movement & opinion are heavily violated. This crisis is harming the potential of 25 million North Koreans.

USUALLY, OVER 1,000 PEOPLE MAKE THE CHOICE TO LEAVE NORTH KOREA AND MAKE BETTER LIVES FOR THEMSELVES.

It is the biggest choice they will ever make as it is illegal to leave the country without permission, but that’s only the beginning.

If they can successfully avoid detection at the Chinese border, North Koreans, must avoid sex traffickers, the Chinese authorities, North Korean agents and any Chinese citizen who may report them. Making it to safety is a long and harrowing journey with thousands of miles between them and freedom in South Korea.

OVER 35,000 NORTH KOREAN ESCAPEES HAVE FOUND FREEDOM AND HAVE STARTED BUILDING NEW LIVES.

The majority have settled in South Korea, but there are North Korean escapees all over the globe.

SINCE 2003, OVER, 1,000 NORTH KOREANS HAVE ESCAPED FROM THEIR COUNTRY AND MADE NEW LIVES IN THE UK AS EXILES AND REFUGEES.

The majority have settled in New Malden, a small suburb in southwest London.

Despite North Koreans having left their home many years ago, little has been done to support their integration

Escaping North Korea is only the first of many hurdles North Koreans face to building the lives they deserve. From language barriers to using ATMs to qualifications, there are many barriers to overcome for North Koreans to integrate and improve their circumstances.

The combination of these challenges is often too much for North Korean escapees to overcome on their own, so they often find themselves with limited options, trapped in poor employment with low wages, and unable to build the new lives they’ve dreamed of. Without support tailored, North Koreans escape oppression only to find they still have very limited choices and cannot prosper or make the most of their newfound freedom.

In 2018, Connect: North Korea launched support services to help support North Korean escapees to transform their lives.

We support escapees through
  • ENGLISH LEARNING
    PROGRAMME

  • DROP-IN ADVICE
    SESSION

  • MENTAL HEALTH
    SUPPORT

In our community hub, North Koreans can take part in our English-language learning programme to learn the English language and cultural acclimatisation skills they need to find work, to develop friendships, to communicate with their children’s teachers, to speak to their GPs, and to integrate into the UK. While North Koreans work to achieve their goals for language acquisition, we also provide drop-in advice and guidance sessions to ensure they are properly supported before they can support themselves. But language isn’t the only issue. A significant number of North Koreans report mental health problems - from complex PTSD to depression.

In response, we set up an outreach and mental health programme run by a qualified psychotherapist. North Koreans can access weekly therapy session to help them process the trauma they experienced, and we work to help them overcome the psychological barriers they have to learning the skills they need to integrate. We also support the next generation through education support in daily homework help sessions.

Together, we
can transform
their lives.
Together, we can
transform their lives.

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TODAY

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