"In Middle School, I used to pick flowers from the mountains, even if flowers are quite rare up there. I offered them to my teacher and my bouquet was the prettiest of all."
Geum-Ju escaped from North Korea in 2008 when she was only 22 years old. She always dreamed of becoming a florist.
Forced to settle in China for two years, living as fugitive with no legal rights or support system around her, Geum-Ju embarked on a long and dangerous journey throughout the country to reach Southeast Asia. Hiding from government officials and the police, she finally found safety in Cambodia's South Korean Embassy, which granted her the opportunity of flying to Seoul and become a South Korean citizen.
However, life in South Korea has not been the dream she pictured. She has faced discrimination and prejudice for her distinctive North Korean accent, lack of cultural exposure, and lower economic status. Geum-Ju has been struggling to achieve her goals ever since.
The South Korean government provides defectors with a monthly stipend of approximately 350 US dollars, for the first 5 years of their stay in South Korea for obtaining the chance to study. Nevertheless, North Korean refugees are not allowed to seek part-time work or else or they would lose their entitlement to the monthly stipend. As a result, many North Korean defectors like Geum-Ju live restricted lives, which makes achieving their goals almost impossible.
PSCORE wants Geum-Ju to have the opportunity of making an impact in her community and achieve her lifelong dream of opening a flower shop. We want every defector living in South Korea to be a success story with a happy ending.
Donate to our work today and you can help Geum-Ju and other young North Korean women like her achieve their dreams.