Ashoka Fellow
South Korea
Fellow Since 2015
This description of Myung-Sook Cho's work was prepared when Myung-Sook Cho was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2015.
For most North Korean refugees settling in South Korea in search of a better life, the readjustment process quickly turns into a swim-or-sink game of survival. The refugees grapple with debilitating mental trauma inflicted on them before, during, and after their escape from the totalitarian state, a harrowing journey that often takes multiple years to complete. With the trauma left unattended, the suicide and school dropout rates are disproportionately high among North Korean refugees, as they struggle to overcome multiple challenges including financial difficulties and adjust from an authoritarian state to a highly competitive society at the same time. Working with North Korean youths, Myung Sook offers a new educational model that empowers these severely traumatized individuals to become thriving members of the South Korean community.
The New Idea
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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