Felted

Ursula Schweizer, handicraft teacher, spent two weeks in North Korea to teach the technic of wool felting in different schools for handicapped children.  

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“It was ingenious! This land is so beautiful. The rice paddies are turning yellow just now and I asked my interpreter all about rice growing, the life, the habits and interests of the Korean people. And they in turn asked me all about Switzerland. After a short time, when I was even accompanied to the toilet, I was able to develop a good relationship to my guides.

My core task was to teach the art of wool felting in various schools for handicapped pupils.

It was a true success! In the first school there were only deaf children and they were extremely talented and highly motivated.

At the second school the four teachers joined in too. This had some effect on the creativity of the pupils but I didn’t enjoy the work there any less.

Gifted and motivated students

They now know all about the basics and the different technics of felting, how to build plain surfaces and more difficult forms. They were learning so fast! Being deaf and having one sense less means that all the knowledge has to come from exact observation and gifted dexterity. They will do great in the future.

The director of the village shop thinks the same and she already asked if they could produce for her. She is sure the products will sell well.

I enjoyed the weekends too: We went hiking or visited shops where foreigners cannot usually go shopping. On Sunday, I went to the small church.

I am full of impressions of every kind and I have still a lot of questions. All in all I have to say: What I met there was not the image our media moulds.

I do not like the fact that the people in North Korea are misled but they are protected from all the hustle and bustle and the abundance of the western world – and this is not that bad! It seems to me that the Korean people are very well preserved.

Of course, I have lost my heart to North Korea. This is probably natural if one was once there and saw it all. We were all sad when we had to say good-bye at the end.

Felted: Gloves, slippers and decorations

Communication without words – what only a smile can say …

Editorial

Dear Reader

Not only the capital of North Korea but also the smaller towns in the country are changing slowly but steadily. Ever more often we see somebody using a mobile phone, wearing a bright colored jacket or pushing a baby stroller (children are traditionally carried on the back). Next to great plainness, even poverty in the countryside this contrast is growing fast.

Also, the number of tourists is growing year by year. Many Chinese want to see how life is on the other side of the border.

But at the same time there is the trade embargo of many countries. This is one reason why the big ferries that in former times cruised to and from Japan, have now been laying still in the seaport cities of Wonsan and Rajin for many years. Till somebody had the creative idea of doing cruises along the coastal line! During our stay in Rajin the ferries still were under repair, but newspapers reported lately that now, it is possible: Tourists can smoothly travel down from Rajin (in the far north-east of the country) to the scenic region of the Kumgang mountains (near the South Korean border) in only 20 hours. 

I think it is exiting to observe the development of Korea’s North. Often painful as well, because the extremes are so far apart. My greatest challenge lies in ranging all these contrasts and the often contrary estimations of other observers rightly.

 

Concret Help

There are many ways in which you can support the work in North Korea.

  • Make a donation for the following:
  • Training North Korean interns in Switzerland (approx. CHF 40/day per person)
  • A fourth windmill with 1 Kilowatt output
  • A solar-heated greenhouse, a biogas plant, or an energy efficient model house built on Duru Island
  • Consulting service of Werner Hässig (expert for alternative energy)
  •  The next food aid shipment for North Korea

 With heartfelt thanks.

Your Help

Our goal is to provide sustainable help that empowers local citizens and shows the citizens of North Korea God‘s love. The unreliable energy supply is a huge problem. 

We want to help the people of North Korea in this area. We promote projects that use alternative energy sources or focus on saving energy. Thank you for your donations, which help provide the rural population of North Korea with electricity and improve their lives.

We greatly appreciate your partnership!