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I am Claire, who has recently joined ENoK’s Empower House program. It is still hard to believe that I am one of the first people to be part of Empower House’s beginning. I am incredibly grateful for the fact that I can start my studies here. I believe that it is only because of the effort and dedication of many people who have tirelessly worked for ENoK that I can now live and study in this place. After I first arrived in the U.S. in 2012, I had no opportunity to study because of the difficulties in making living even though I really wanted to study. It was my wish to study full-time as a student and also attend college, but I couldn’t do that. So I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for this God-given opportunity, which is the fruit of the effort and dedication of everyone through ENoK. And I…

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Questions and Answers with Jonathan (Alias) Q1.  What is your goal in participating in Empower House?   I want to study in college.  I wanted to go to college when I was still living in North Korea, but there was nothing I could do then because my family could hardly make a living each day.  I decided to participate in Empower House because it seemed possible now in America. Q2. What motivated you to participate in Empower House?   When I saw my friends go off to study in college, I envied them.  As I learned English, I started to think that I could also go on to college to study.  And I wanted to learn more in college.  That is why I applied to participate in Empower House. Q3. What are some of the career paths that you would like to pursue?   This is a difficult question… Because English is the main language here, learning English is…

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Questions and Answers with Sylvia (Alias) Q1. What is your goal in participating in Empower House?   – To seek God’s plan in my life – To lay a good foundation for my future – To equip myself with tools to pursue my dreams – To improve the prospects of my future Q2. What motivated you to participate in Empower House?   – I had to give up high school when my family’s financial situation worsened – Without knowledge and a college diploma, it is difficult to pursue your dream in the current society – I didn’t want to give up a better future because of the difficulties in the present. I could see that if I did, I would repeat it again in the future, and I wanted to break this vicious cycle. Q3. What are some of the career paths that you would like to pursue?   –…

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Fourteen years ago, after a 19 hour flight that included a transfer at Anchorage, Alaska, I landed at Boston Logan Airport, not knowing a single person there and barely able to utter a coherent sentence in English. I still remember the first few months the distinctive scent of abundant grass in the United States still stirred excitement that I could play soccer on a grass field like professionals. I also remember when my poor understanding of English put me and a few of my friends in trouble at school. When I first spoke with Paige (alias) for the first time several years ago, I was surprised by her grasp of English. It had been only a couple of years since she entered the United States with refugee status. She could not have spent much time, if any, learning English (learning anything for that matter), for she had spent about a…

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When I first got involved in ENoK’s mission to help North Korean defectors while in college, I never thought I would be contributing to a cause as far-sighted and hopeful as envisioning a reunified Korea.  Back when I was a student member, I participated in a demonstration against the repatriation of defectors in China and a fasting fundraiser to support the group’s many promising plans to support the defectors who had settled in the United States.  But I never pictured myself engaging in an effort that not only addresses the needs that are imminent but also prepares for what is to come.  At the “Unification of the Mind” Conference that took place in D.C. two weekends ago, I met a large group of passionate people from the most unexpected places who gathered together to envision a reunified Korea.  Being part of this conference was truly life-changing.  Seeing people of different…

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-SP Our conference this past weekend was titled the Unification of the Mind: Envisioning a Reunified Korea. For the sake of our vision, we decided to assume reunification. With this assumption, participants collaborated in groups to solve hypothetical problems that a reunified Korea would encounter. These problem-solving activities occupied the entire second day of the conference. As one of the conference organizers, I led the “Education” problem-solving group during the morning session and the “National Security” problem-solving group for the afternoon session. These problem-solving activities brought together Korean-Americans, South Koreans, North Koreans, and Americans in an enriching experience of sharing and listening, informing and being informed, educating and being educated. The problem-solving groups were designed to provide an interactive space for individuals from various backgrounds- but who have interest in the Korean reunification- to exchange ideas and come to a solution to their given problem as a team. For many…

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My name is Somhang “Hope” Kim and I am currently serving as the director of ENoK’s RealPal Program. Before I introduce RealPal, I want to talk a bit about my pal, Steven. Steven is from Hamhung province, which is very famous for its mul-nangmeon (traditional Korean cold noodles). He defected when he was just a 16-year-old boy looking for his mother who had defected 2 years earlier. His defection story is truly miraculous, but today I want to focus not on the past, but on the present— on how Steven has changed my life. I first met Steven through a close friend of mine. He told me when he first heard that I was here to help him with his English, he was walking in circles in his living room, not knowing what to do. He was that much excited. That excitement never faded, developing our class times into a…

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By Andrew H. As I skidded in my dress shoes down the underground pathway between terminals at Chicago O’Hare Airport, my heart was leaping with expectation of seeing a “celebrity” whom I have watched only on T.V. countless times. I couldn’t believe she was actually here. I knew I was looking for a young woman of a small frame. When I finally found her, there was no mistake. She looked just as she did on T.V., except with a different hairstyle. Eunju is one of 25,000 North Korean defectors now living as South Korean citizens. She is one of a handful of young, attractive North Korean defector women who are featured on a South Korean talk show called “Meet Now.” Eunju is from Eunduk, North Hamkyung Province, North Korea. She is from a-o-ji, an area which is well-known to South Koreans for its mining field, to which political dissidents and…

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Between May 10th and 11th, ENoK members and volunteers fasted for 31 hours for the 31 recently repatriated North Korean refugees and raised over $2500 in donations. All proceeds will go to supporting North Korean refugees in the United States.

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