What happens when a generation of North Korean orphans – half Chinese, half North Korean – enter into a world of poverty, without love from a stable home, without proper identification and without a chance? Crossing Borders has had over 10 years to survey the human rights crisis impacting North Korean orphans and refugees in Northeast China. We have concluded that this population at a crossroads. One road is a path to poverty, instability and suffering. Another is the path to education and the gospel. It is a chance for this generation to become a bridge to North Korea.
The generation of North Korean orphans we support were born in the wake of the Great Famine of the 1990s and range in age from eight to 13. Their mothers fled from North Korea to search for food, medical assistance, or a better life. However, following their escape, many were captured and sold to poor Chinese men looking for wives. The orphans who we care for, born out of these forced marriages, have mothers who have left them behind. In some situations, these mothers were running for their lives from abusive husbands or Chinese authorities.
The North Korean orphans left behind have no access to education, medical care or, in the future, legal jobs. They were never granted legal identification.
There are tens of thousands of these children in the region. Estimations add up to over 40,000. Absolute statistics are impossible because they are not counted in any census. But evident to us, nonetheless, is that there seems to be an endless number of them. In each city we visit, we always find large pockets of them.
Upon entry into support from Crossing Borders in our Second Wave program, these children are given an education, raised in discipline and, most importantly, introduced to our faith. In our work, we have had the opportunity to take care of about 150 North Korean orphans. In their lives, we have witnessed stunning transformations. Children who were too scared to speak have become rambunctious and outgoing. Children who were living in filth have been given clean, quiet, orderly homes to live in with guardians who can provide and care for them.
We think it’s time for people around the world to rise up and take responsibility for a group of children, who, if left alone, might be on a road to destruction.
Please pray for these children that they would not be lost in the world cruelty, callousness, or suffering. Please pray that they might be found in Christ.