UF students have re-established a student organization to raise money and educate others about North Korea.
Connie Choe, a UF criminology and political science junior, said she re-established UF’s branch of Liberty in North Korea, a national organization that helps relocate and support North Korean refugees while educating communities about the country, on Tuesday. The club plans to give presentations to students in other organizations about the country and raise money to relocate North Korean refugees.
It costs about $3,000 to rescue one refugee and provide them with shelter, said Choe, the co-president of the club. She said LiNK plans to partner with UF’s Asian American Student Union and the Korean Undergraduate Student Association.
North Korean citizens face extreme malnutrition, homelessness and concentration camps, the 21-year-old said. If one person is convicted of a crime, his or her entire family is sent to the camps, which are known for human rights violations, she said.
Choe said families have very little to eat.
“Something like an egg is like a prized material,” she said. “It’s like gold to them; they eat it once a year.”
Rebecca Kim, a former co-president of the club, said the club was inactive last year.
“We couldn’t find any members to really continue it,” said Kim, who graduated UF in 2015.
Kim said she was involved in the club because of her connection to South Korea. She was born in the country and moved to the U.S. about 10 years ago.
The 21-year-old said her mother’s grandfather was taken prisoner in North Korea for being a religious leader.
“In North Korea, they hide other religions,” she said. “It’s going against what the government is teaching them.”
Choe, who moved to the U.S. from South Korea when she was 8, said she hopes the club helps as many people as possible and teaches students about human rights violations in the country.
“Nobody should stand for that,” she said.