February 8, 2013

NSLI-Y Korea Students Volunteer at a North Korean Defectors Shelter

On January 15th, NSLI-Y students in Korea had their first meeting with elementary and middle school students at the North Korea Defectors Shelter outside of Seoul. The NSLI-Y students will volunteer at the defectors shelter during their six week winter break for two hours every Tuesday to mentor and tutor youth.    

In preparation for volunteering at the shelter, NSLI-Y students learned more about Korean history around the division, when and why the defectors left North Korea, and what daily life is like for a defector. The defectors shelter supports North Koreans’ transition into everyday life and society in the south through providing language and technical skills training in addition to job support. Because it is difficult for children to transition school systems between the two countries, they attend a special school at the shelter. NSLI-Y students mentor, tutor, and support these students through playing fun games and teaching English.

By volunteering at the defectors shelter, NSLI-Y students learn about the divide between North and South Korea and interact with people who are caught in the middle. Since youth at the shelter have changed schools and are behind their peers, the NSLI-Y students provide extra support for them mostly through their Korean language skills.