Concrete 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 a 1 kilowatt output

– A solar-heated greenhouse, a biogas plant, or an energy efficient model house built on Duru Island

– The next aid shipment for North Korea
With heartfelt thanks.

Search for Insulation Material

Img_0168

Stefan Burckhardt visits the Hongsheng insulation factory in Harbin in February with experts from the Pyongyang Alternative Energy Center. A reciprocal visit has already taken place.

The Managing Director of the Hongsheng Company, insulation manufacturer, visited Pyongyang in July.
This was an encouraging sign of the commitment of Chinese businesspeople to work together with North Koreans.
We are curious to see how things develop. Insulation materials are currently only produced in small quantities in North Korea. It would be a major accomplishment if a Chinese manufacturer would start producing and selling in North Korea directly. Buying materials and products from foreign countries is nearly impossible for a North Korean company!

Editorial

The meeting room at the Agricultural Institute in Châteuneuf was filled with undivided attention. Mr. Sébastien Besse was explaining how apricot growers in the Wallis had begun to modify the treas varieties in their orchards over the past few years. Previously, all their fruit ripened within roughly a 3-week period and flooded the market.

Aprikosenbaum_pict5552

After this short time, they had nothing more to offer. Now, they have begun to integrated different varieties of apricot trees into their orchards, some of which ripen earlier, some later. In this way, they have been able to extend the production season to 3-4 months, which benefits both the customers as well as growers, who are able to sell their produce at a higher price.
Even if this kind of marketing perspective does not yet play a significant role in the thinking of North Korean fruit growers, they listen attentively and engage one another in lively discussions about the new input. I enjoy seeing how this group of people from all over their country interacts together,  quickly integrating the information from Swiss instructors into their discussions.
I thoroughly enjoyed joining the group for one day, where I could interact with the interns directly. One of them, Mr. Kim, is an instructor at an agricultural college and will play a vital role in transferring this knowledge to others in his country. I am excited at the possibility of multiplying the impact of this training in a very practical way that also encourages these individuals to implement the new techniques wherever they can be applied.

Training Future Fruit Growers

Just like last year, we again welcomed six North Korean fruit growers for a 5-month internship with families on fruit farms in Eastern Switzerland.
The interns learn about cultivating berries and fruit on farms with large orchards. The goal of this instruction is to transfer the knowledge back to the collective farms in North Korea in order to produce local „fruit“.

Erdbeeren_fotografieren_pict5503

Language and cultural barriers make supervising and supporting these North Korean guests a challenging but always satisfying experience. We look forward to welcoming our guests each year! The North Koreans are typically happy, hard-working, attentive, show real interest and are, therefore, most appreciated workers on any farm. Till now, there are no major health problems or interpersonal conflicts to make living or working together  difficult. In fact, we only hear positive feedback about them from our host families.

We are also finally seeing the fruit of many years of continued labor as this year‘s interns arrived with a good foundation of basic understanding taught to them by interns from the previous group. This made it easier for us to cover more material and provide more in-depth instruction this year.

In August and additional eight interns joined our group for a special 10-day course, sponsored by the World Hunger Help Organization and coordinated by Daniel Gerster. These two groups traveled together during this time, visiting various fruit farms and processing facilities across Switzerland. In addition to taking part in special classes, the group also enjoyed exploring Switzerland like other tourists. A highlight was the visit to the Grand Dixence dam with a view to the snow-capped mountains or the expansive panorama of Lake Geneva.