Eight years after arrival, North Korean refugee graduates from US high school

September 2, 2015
Cho Eun-hye, center

Cho Eun-hye, center

A 24-year-old North Korean refugee graduated from a Virginia high school eight years after arriving in the United States.

Cho Eun-hye received a scholarship from Seattle Gohyang Church inside Lynnwood New Vision Church last month.

Born in North Korea, Cho suffered the loss of her father, two younger brothers and an older sister to famine beginning in 1993.

After persisting on catching and eating mice to stay alive, Cho, her mother and her older sister eventually fled to China.

The trio were caught and brought back to North Korea four times. Cho was 10 years old when the family was put in a safe home in China arranged by a missionary, Pastor Yoon Yo-han, from the Seattle church.

But they were not safe — the family and Yoon were arrested in 2005 by Chinese authorities and imprisoned for 15 months.

With Yoon’s help, Cho was released and, in 2008, arrived in Virginia. She enrolled in a local high school at age 17.

Cho, who said she plans to attend college to study dentistry or international relations, serves as the vice president of North Koreans in the United States, an organization set up by her sister.