For most people North Korea remains a mystery. “Far From Heaven, The Unspeakable Lives of North Korean People”, is a workshop to explore what North Korea is and what it’s like to be a North Korean.
In addition to that, we wish to contribute to change the victim-focused approach and fixed mindsets about North Korean Defectors and Refugees. We would like to emphasize on post-resettlement success stories, rather than to show them as symbols of evil.
“We must also free refugees from stereotypes so they can fulfill the promise of their own, singular lives” (Rachel Stine, The Stereotype of the Damaged North Korean Is Demeaning.
“Generally, people think of North Korea merely as our enemy or a people to pity;” “We are trying to change this, looking at North Korea as two entirely different entities: its citizens and its government.” (Jun Young Ji, for The Daily Dot).
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My name is Ana Dols and live in Seoul. I am the womenlabkorea catalyst and my goal is to use women’s collective intelligence as a driver to generate some impact in their lives and in the lives of women around them.
“The refugee you donated towards in December (and that you helped fund) was a middle-aged mother. She has arrived safely in Southeast Asia and (thanks to you) will be processed so she can come to South Korea with her family”.
I met Rachel at a Siwa Coffee Morning in October 2015, and since then I have hosted two workshops (“Eating by Design” and “Soohee Kim. Daejanggeum and “the Impossible Country”) and donated all proceeds to programs supporting North Korean Refugees. So it is then my turn to thank you for attending these workshops and contributing. Your participation has an important impact.
For this womenlabtalk we have a group of very special guest speakers with powerful stories to both astonish and move you.
Sunghoon Kris Moon will begin by helping us to understand what it means to live under the most repressive totalitarian regime today and how all this Orwellian machinery has been able to serve so well the regime’s purposes. She considers herself both a native and foreigner to Korea and will lead the talk through the keen lens of her dual identity on what North Korea is and who the North Koreans are.
In order to complete this picture, the talk then will continue by listening to Korean Refugees, learners from Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR), how they struggle to adjust to the outside world, as “freedom is only half the battle” Hyeonseo Lee states.
Afterwards, Casey Lartigue, who cofounder along with Eunkoo Lee of Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR), will explain how this organization provides English learning opportunities to refugees for determining their places in society. More than 200 refugees and 300 volunteers have participated in TNKR since Mr. Lartigue and Ms. Lee co-founded it in March 2013.
Finally, Rachel Stine will go over the Underground Railroad System that brings North Korean refugees to freedom, how activists are sending seeds to poor North Korean families, and English teaching opportunities for women and how they have established vibrant and flourishing communities.
There is much to learn about North Korea and many ways to support North Korean people to fulfill their potential and their own dreams.
Please join us on February 29th, 2016 when you will have the opportunity to learn firsthand where your donations are going and the massive impact they have. All proceeds will be donated to the TNKR and the Underground Railroad System Project.