In 2003, the first North Korean refugee arrived in the UK. Today, nearly 700 North Korean refugees live in New Malden, Surrey. Upon arriving in the UK, North Korean refugees are ill-equipped to integrate and settle into British society and few services are targeted enough to help them, but you can help transform their lives by joining with us to back the launch of the North Korean Community Centre in New Malden. We are aiming to raise £7,500 to turn a small office into a Community Centre and get programmes started to help support North Korean refugees..
Since the early 1990s, over 30,000 North Koreans have fled the country for safe haven elsewhere. North Korea's food instability, economic conditions, and political persecution pushes North Koreans to leave in search of better lives. While most North Koreans end up in South Korea, a few hundred have made the journey to the UK. After living outside of London for some time, the pull of New Malden, which has several thousand South Koreans living there, sees most North Korean refugees moving there to make their lives easier. The community in New Malden ranges in age from the very young to the old. For such a small community, there is a diverse range of needs.
Due to an education system which prioritises praise of the Kim family over equipping citizens with the skills needed to advance in life, most North Koreans arrive in the UK with little useful work experience, no English-language capability, and no applicable qualifications to help them integrate and adapt to their new home. This creates massive barriers to integration. At present, few services in the New Malden area are targeted enough or knowledgeable enough about the hardship North Korean refugees have endured to help change the situation for North Korean refugees and transform their lives. Working with North Korean refugees, Connect: North Korea set has set out to establish the North Korean Community Centre. This Community Centre will be the first UK-based hub and collection of programmes rooted in understanding of North Korea and of the challenges North Koreans face to integrate and advance.
The Community Centre will offer targeted, bespoke support for the North Korean community. Each service offered by the Centre will not only pay heed to their needs as a community and as individuals, but will also be developed on a firm understanding of their experiences in North Korea. This will be done through extensive and regular surveys of the community. The services offered by the Centre will equip North Koreans with the skills to thrive, integrate and gain economic independence. We are aiming to raise £7,500 to get a Community Centre started.
In its first year, the community centre will offer the following bespoke services: English-language learning; music therapy; psychotherapy; advice, advocacy, and guidance services; translation help; and a mentoring programme for young North Koreans. Each service will be shaped by North Koreans for North Koreans. We need your help to make this centre and these programmes a reality - please read, donate and share! Thank you!
Your generous support will help contribute to:
- Setting up the Community Centre and the costs of the Centre for one year.
- A programme for up to 40 refugees to learn English every week in group classes.
- Music therapy and psychotherapy support for one year.
- A space for volunteers to provide translation and advice help.
- A mentoring programme for up to 20 North Korean youths throughout the year.
- And a space for North Koreans to use free of charge for social, cultural, and educational purposes.
Other Ways to Support the North Korean Community
While we are raising funds to open the Community Centre and would greatly appreciate your support, we also recognise that not everyone has the means to support our work. Here are some other ways to support the North Korean refugee community:
1) Share this page with your friends and family. Please use hashtag #NKCommunity to allow us to retweet and share your support!
2) Why not help teach a North Korean refugee English? Apply to volunteer with us today: https://connectnorthkorea.org/volunteer/
3) Start a fundraiser! Get in touch with us to learn more!