I wrote in my last post that over the coming weeks, I’ll be posting about various different ways to help North Korean refugees/get involved in the North Korea human rights crisis here in Seoul. Over the last two weeks, I’ve made two big commitments to get involved with two of the biggest non-profits working on this issue:
PSCORE – I’ll be volunteering as an ‘SNS Supporter’ for PSCORE, which means I’ll be writing blog posts, posting tweets and taking pictures covering their work and the events they’ll be holding this summer.
Liberty in North Korea – after interning at their US headquarters for a year, LiNK is a charity very close to my heart, so I’m absolutely thrilled that I’m able to volunteer with them once again as part of their English tutoring and cultural exchange programme!
So today, I’ll be writing a little about PSCORE and how you can get involved with them. I have a LOT to say about LiNK, including the story of how I got involved in this issue in the first place, so I’ll leave that for another day!
Started by a North Korean defector back in 2006, PSCORE is charity that works hard on several different aspects of the North Korea crisis – from reunification research to resettlement advice for refugees now living in the South. PSCORE stands for People for Successful Corean Reunification. I know what you’re thinking – that’s not how you spell Korean! That was the first question I had too. Apparently ‘Corean’ reflects an earlier spelling of the word. Staff at the office pronounce it ‘P-S-Core’, presumably to avoid confusion with the Peace Corps!
The most important thing you need to know about PSCORE right now is that they are having a benefit concert in Hongdae TOMORROW NIGHT, Saturday 19th July! Check out the Facebook event here. Rock Out will feature several different rock bands, all playing to support PSCORE and North Korean refugees. It costs 15,000 won on the door and the money will go directly to PSCORE’s programmes, helping North Korean defectors succeed in their new lives. And if you can’t make this one, don’t worry – PSCORE hosts benefit concerts every two months!
Fundraising isn’t the only goal of Rock Out. Regular concerts help to raise awareness of an issue that, even here in South Korea, few people are talking about and even fewer are acting on, and they bring young Koreans together to work this crisis which is largely ignored and misunderstood despite being, literally, so close to home.
Here is a super quick rundown of PSCORE’s programmes, each of which I’ll cover in a separate post as I check them out this summer:
Education and Culture – PSCORE runs both a one-on-one tutoring programme and a weekly Wednesday evening English class (6.30pm-8pm, Seodaemun Police Station). There are also monthly cultural activities where North Koreans, South Koreans and foreigners can come together to enjoy movies, musicals, museums etc.
Human Rights – as well as regularly working on street campaigns and other awareness efforts like the Rock Out concerts, PSCORE actually goes to the UN, where they hold North Korea accountable and spread awareness in the international community. When North Korean representatives claim there are no political prison camps in their country, for example, PSCORE are there to show the evidence to the contrary.
Reunification – PSCORE pursues strategies for Korean reunification by studying models of other reunified countries, such as Germany.
You can find more information and get involved personally on their website here!
Next time: attending PSCORE’s Rock Out concert and tutoring with LiNK!
*Please note: all pictures are from PSCORE’s website and Facebook page.