Meet Chun Jin. His mother was a North Korean refugee who was sold to his father.
He is 17-years-old and is inching ever closer to adulthood. He is a child who is the closest in our network to starting his career. It is Crossing Borders’ goal to prepare him and all the children in our network for adulthood.
In 2014, 75 percent of our children had a plan for their future. Today, that percentage is at 92. We hope to make it 100 percent.
When Crossing Borders started, Chun Jin was just three-years-old. There is a whole generation of children who were born in the wake of the Great North Korean famine. As refugees rushed out of North Korea, they were sold to Chinese men who were in need of wives.
Most of the children in our network were born between 1998 and 2005. The UN estimates that there are 20,000 to 30,000 of these children. Chun Jin was born in 1999.
Chun Jin is in our orphanage and has access to a number of good vocational programs. The woman who oversees his orphanage employs a military-style training for the children in her home. Each morning the kids wake up and do an hour of exercise outside, have breakfast, wash and get ready for school. Their time after school is also regimented. She hopes to instill a self-discipline in these children that will last them a lifetime.
Chun Jin expressed to us last year that he would like to become a hair stylist. We put him in a program that will get him ready for this job and for eight hours or more per day, he is snipping, brushing, cleaning and blow drying his way to complete his training.
He will be finished this year. And if everything works out, he will be our first child to come off our aid to start a career.
It has taken us 14 years, an immense amount of resources and focused effort to get to this point. We hope this is the start of something great in his life and in the lives of many North Korean orphans like him.
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