NORTH KOREA REFUGEE AID: WHAT WE DO

North Korea Refugee Aid (NKRA) is U.S.-based organization dedicated to supporting North Korean students as they study in the United States, both logistically and financially.

The students we support come from the Mulmangcho School for North Korean refugees in Seoul, South Korea.

Ways we support these students in the United States include: 

  • Helping students find internships

  • Arranging host families

  • Provide academic tutors

  • Connect students with local mentors

  • Raise scholarship funds for Mulmangcho students


The Mulmangcho Foundation in Seoul provides a supportive environment for North Korean refugees to repatriate into the free world. The Foundations has numerous focus areas which include:

1) Mulmangcho School – Boarding school in Yeoju, Korea, for students ranging from kindergarten to high school age. It is a one-on-one teaching school designed to introduce formal education to refugee children, as well as to provide psychological counseling. The elementary school children benefit from a variety of counseling sessions via artistic, musical, and athletic therapies as they struggle to adjust to the new society in the South. Older students are provided individual tutoring in preparation of college entrance tests and admissions.  

2) Mulmangcho Open School – Day school in Seoul, Korea, for adults ranging from college age and above. The school provides life skills and tools necessary for North Korean refugees adjusting to their new lives in South Korea. The curriculum consists of practical knowledge in the areas of law, history, banking, job training, writing skills, and more. Many students cannot afford to skip work to attend the classes, in which case the school compensates them for their time. 

3) Mulmangcho Blossom – Overseas study program for college students selected to learn American culture and English during the summer break. It provides assistance to selected students for graduate work in the US. The selection process for participating in this program is quite competitive because it is very popular among the refugee students. Over one hundred students apply for the five openings.

4) Mulmangcho Publishing – Publication of refugee stories, children's books, and materials related to human rights advocacy and public outreach domestically and internationally. Mulmangcho has published six children’s books based on actual experiences by the students themselves, adopted by well-known Korean writers; two non-fiction books related to human rights; and one fiction written by a fine North Korean writer, based on his journey from the North to the South through the impenetrable DMZ.  

5) Mulmangcho Choir – A choir made up of 30 or more North Korean refugee women. They practice once a week and give performances by invitation. This program provides psychological support treatment for traumas the women experienced as refugees. None of the women had been trained in music, but they have made remarkable progress under the direction of volunteer conductor Sun-ju Lee. An accomplished soprano, Ms Lee studied music at Indiana University.

6) Committee to repatriate former POWs – Assistance program for South Korean POWs who had been imprisoned in North Korea for decades, most of them having suffered hard labor in coal mines. A number of them in recent years have escaped North Korea and returned to their homes in the South. Mulmangcho provides financial assistance and moral support for them. These octogenarians participate and enjoy a variety of cultural activities along with the rest of the Mulmangcho family.