Raising Funds and Awareness for Liberty in North Korea Through In-Person Events


North Korea is a bewildering place. Human rights abuses, extreme poverty, and political persecution are rampant, while 24 million people also try to survive and seek better circumstances. Its ordinary citizens and its refugees are in drastic need of support from the international community, but this can be a difficult challenge when most people only associate the country with nukes and the personalities of its dictatorship.

Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) has been at the forefront of changing the way we talk about North Korea in order to increase support and help its people. LiNK helps provide the funding and mechanisms to help North Koreans make it out of the country and into resettlement in South Korea or the United States. They have built a particularly strong grassroots movement by reaching out to people at a personal level throughout the country.


I wanted to be a part of the changes LiNK was making in the lives of North Koreans, so I signed up to go on a tour in order to help promote their work. Putting together the tour wasn't easy, and to this day it remains the busiest I've ever been. In their office, I spent fourteen hour days sometimes, making phone calls and booking events with churches, universities, and other community groups. All this was before five teams of three set out across the U.S. and Canada to deliver their message.

My team took the Heartland, and I found myself speaking in every state that fit in between Texas and Minnesota, Colorado and Ohio. I loved the act of public speaking, and my team meshed brilliantly. We made connections with hundreds of new supporters on the road, many of whom remain connected to the organization long afterwards. We also kept our broader network of supporters in the loop through social media posts and video updates.


This tour lasted three months. In the end we had booked and presented at over 90 events, reaching thousands of individuals. We spoke at college prep schools in Cincinnati, Big Ten Schools all over the Northern Midwest, Human Rights Conferences in Wichita, churches of all denominations from Nebraska to Illinois, and even at coffee shops, barber shops, and a senator's house.

Collectively, our teams raised $75,000 and the connections we made to new supporters who continued to spread the organization's messages were plentiful and impossible to count. The tour was a wide success and contributed to one of the organization's biggest years of growth.

Philippe Lazaro