Yeo-Myung is a Chinese letter that means “It’s darkest before the sun rises.” It is quite fitting, as the students who attend a school for North Korean refugees made it through a dark hour crossing the Korean border into the southern neighbor.
Seyoung “Linda” Lee is a Korean exchange teacher who teaches at the Yeo-Myung School for North Korean Refugees in South Korea. She visited Timber Creek on Tuesday, Feb. 6 after coming here to Keller from Austin, Texas.
The Yeo-Myung School provides professional and vocational education to North Korean refugees. They must help refugees overcome mental and emotional trauma, as well as health issues and sickness.
“It is difficult for [the refugee students] to adapt,” Lee told Talon reporters. “We have to teach them to move from Northern culture to Southern culture.”
Many of Mrs. Lee’s North Korean students suffer from both physical and mental disorders. According to the Yeo-Myung School pamphlet, about 60% of students suffer diabetes and anemia due to deteriorated health while escaping from North Korea.
“They have many nightmares,” Lee said. “We have doctors to provide for them, offering Neurotherapy.”
The goals of the school is to support North Korean refugee youth in their transition to South Korea, become a model school for the unification of the Koreas, and provide a school environment for students to learn and have access to playground and science labs. Students are educated so they can learn skills and talents to prepare for the the life in Unified Korea.
The mission statement of the Yeo-Myung school is: “To love your God, to love your neighbor, to unify our nation.”
Although the Yeo-Myung School is now fully supported by the government, that was not initially the case. In 2004, Korean churches gathered together to start organizing the school. Additionally, they also receive support through donation and prayer from the Yeo-Myung School Supporters’ Prayer Meeting.
“We did not initially have government aid,” Lee said. “But eventually, they began to give us some money and support.”
Mrs. Lee is one of the main English teachers at the school, and she is quite dedicated to her students.
“I teach students to read and write, as well as speak English,” she said. “When I came to America, I studied for five weeks on English Mythology. I studied English for a long time.”
One of Mrs. Lee’s students is the brother of Ji Seong-ho. Ji was honored by President Donald Trump in his 2018 State of the Union address for his bravery in fighting to escape the North Korean Regime. His brother and sister were able to escape with him even when his limbs were severed, and his two siblings ate dirt so that he could have food.
Additionally, Mrs. Lee is also one of the school’s missionaries. She makes sure that students have not only an education, but also relationship with Christ.
“I hope you will pray for the students and unification for North and South Korea,” Lee said.