Transforming the lives of North Korean escapees

Over 35,000 North Koreans have fled one of the world’s most oppressive and violent societies to make new lives across the globe. But leaving North Korea did not solve all of their problems. In fact, it created many new ones that they didn’t anticipate and don’t have the means to solve, and they find themselves trapped by significant barriers to transforming their prospects and unlocking their potential.

Those who escape face many hurdles to building the lives they deserve, including a lack of qualifications and skills; mental health problems caused by trauma; and challenges adjusting to very different environments, social structures, and belief systems to their homeland.

The combination of these challenges is often too much for North Korean escapees to overcome on their own, so they often find themselves with very limited options, at best, trapped in poor employment with low wages, and unable to build the new lives they’ve dreamed of. Without support tailored for their complex range of needs, North Koreans risked everything to escape North Korea only to find they are still trapped by the impacts the regime has had on them.

Connect: North Korea is the only organisation focused on transforming the lives of North Korean escapees. We do this through an innovative training and education programme, called Enabling Freedom. This provides the holistic educational, well-being, and financial support needed for North Korean escapees to gain recognised vocational and professional qualifications and choose a career path that will finally enable them to choose the lives they want to live and experience true freedom.

We have 15 people hoping to move forward this year on our Enabling Freedom programme. A donation from you today will help one of them to work towards a brighter future:

£6 covers the cost of an English Language class for a North Korean escapee.

£15 is enough to provide a textbook, enabling someone to study & gain qualifications that will open new opportunities for them.

£24 will cover the cost of a week of intensive English language classes (four classes) for someone working hard towards their dreams for a better life.


Please help us give a fresh start to a North Korean escapee who wants to study and build a better life for themselves by making a donation today.

Ji-Hye’s* Story

Dreams & hopes of a bright future are what North Korean escapees like Ji-Hye* seek when they escape the oppressive North Korean regime, but there are often too many challenges to overcome on their own

When Ji-Hye arrived in the UK in 2008, she could speak very little English and had nothing except the small bag of clothing and some family photos she had managed to carry with her through China and into southeast Asia. The differences between her previous life in North Korea and life in the UK meant there was a huge amount to adjust to. She had so many things to learn – from how to operate an ATM, to how the healthcare system worked. It felt overwhelming.

Ji-Hye has worked hard to build a new life, working all the hours she can get in a local supermarket, where she re-stocks the shelves. But she is still struggling to make ends meet and has no time or money to study so she can get a better job. She dreams of becoming a healthcare worker, but she is trapped in a never ending cycle that she has little hope of escaping without help. 

Ji-Hye deserves so much more, especially after what she has already suffered and risked. She wants to build a better life for herself. She just lacks the opportunities to improve her situation. 

After not knowing where to turn too, a friend introduced Ji-Hye to Connect: North Korea to enable her to learn the skills she needs to work towards her dreams.

We paired Ji-Hye with tutors who specialise in healthcare to help her begin learning English and to understand technical terms so that she could prepare to join our Enabling Freedom programme, which provides the educational, well-being, and financial support needed for North Korean escapees to gain recognised vocational and professional qualifications and choose a career path.

Ji-Hye is now one of 15 North Korean people waiting to join Enabling Freedom. Your donation of £15 today could cover the cost of one text book for a North Korean escapee, like Ji-Hye, which will help them to study and gain the qualifications they need to build new lives.

Will you help Ji-Hye, or another North Korean escapee like her, find true freedom – to escape poverty and subsistence living, to study, gain skills, and to live the life they choose – by donating £15, or whatever you can afford, today?