Saturday, November 28, 2009

The number of choices overwhelming for North Koreans in the South

Just a simple trip to a Seoul supermarket can present North Korean refugees with freedoms, choices and problems they'd never imagined in the North, where food choices are extremely limited.

"Many can't understand why they are so many brands of cheese or noodles here­, when in the North there is just one, which few can afford to buy," said Joanna Hosaniak, from the Citizens Alliance for North Korean Human Rights.

The church group Durihana Association offers aid to North Korean defectors. It runs a small school, giving refugees a back-to-basics education. In small classrooms, small groups of students take their very first steps in learning English or using a computer,­ something that is a rare privilege in the north.

"When you explain what the Internet is and what you can do with it, they have no idea, because they only have one TV channel, things like that. It's really mind-blowing," said teacher Ko Han. "Suddenly they are thrown into one of the most high-tech, wired cities in the world and many can't cope."

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