I am running Chicago Marathon in October 13, 2019, and I want to make this personal challenge more meaningful. And I need your help.
1. What are you fundraising for?
ENok, an NGO in Chicago that supports young North Korean refugees who are struggling to start new lives in the U.S after escaping from horrific human rights violations in North Korea. They were very lucky to make it to America, but their struggles continue today in every aspect of their lives. ENok helps North Korean refugees to facilitate the transition into the new society through programs such as life-skills training, job training, and education. This amazing organization is founded by Andrew Hong, my classmate at Harvard Kennedy School. ENok is a 501(c)3 non profit group.
2. How much are you raising?
I am shooting for $10,000. I know it is ambitious goal, but I am counting on you.
3. How will your contribution be used?
ENok runs Empower House, which serves as a safe shelter and educational center for young refugees from North Korea. Empower House has been in operation for close to five years now. For the upcoming 2019-2020, they are looking to purchase their own facility to better utilize the resources and energy on improving the services and programs to the refugees. For more information, visit www.enok.org/about/empower-house
4. Do you have any time goal?
I am aiming under 4 hours. If I fail to meet this goal, I will donate $500, which is about half of my bank account balance. My PR is 04:03:26 at Seoul Marathon 2016.
5. Lena, why do you care?
Thanks to ENok, I had opportunities to meet young North Korea refugees and hear their at first hand. Most people that I met were either similar to my age or younger, but what they had gone through in such an early stage in their lives were beyond my imagination. Their painful stories made me extremely grateful for everything I took it for granted - not just food and shelter, but also the freedom to dream, learn, and design my own life without any fear of being persecuted. And I was enjoying this privilege for being born only a few hundred miles south of the border.
North Koreans in the U.S. face very unique challenges as the society that they had known is a polar opposite of the free society that we cherish in America. Many people only think of nuclear and missile tests when they hear "North Korea", but I want to raise awareness of what innocent civilians are actually going through under its brutal dictatorship.
This is my first fundraising ever!! Thank you so much for all your invaluable support - no matter where you are in the world, I will think of every single donor during my marathon and try to run faster!!!