Last in our 2016 review, but certainly not least, we’d like to take a moment to acknowledge the important work done thanks to Koryo’s ongoing commitment to using revenue from tourism for humanitarian ends.
Developing our humanitarian projects in North Korea is something we feel very strongly about, and an area of work that we've been involved with for a long time now. This year was no exception — with some great successes on this front, and more aid delivered to the DPRK through Koryo than ever before.
Our main humanitarian project in 2016 has been the delivery of nutritional food packages to eight orphanages across North Korea. There was also a continuation of our contributions to previously initiated projects, such as the printing of new braille dictionaries for the country’s blind, plus assistance to schools, and much-needed support to some of the nation’s particularly disadvantaged areas.
Funding for all of these projects came via a number of avenues, including the generosity of donors and friends, as well as a percentage of the revenue raised from the tours that we arrange. And so everyone we took on a trip to North Korea this year played a part in raising money for these charitable projects — whether they knew it or not! — and it is no exaggeration to say that the lives of those we’ve been able to help have been improved as a direct consequence of people choosing to make their DPRK trip with us.
Of particular note this year was the Pyongyang Marathon, when we took more people to North Korea than at any other time in 2016, and which thereby allowed us to raise significant extra funds for these worthy causes helping some of the neediest people we can gain access to via our work. All the projects we run, or are involved with, are carefully monitored by us, with personal visits and direct observation ensuring all of the aid we deliver goes entirely in the right direction.
This is what 23 years (and counting!) of operating in North Korea, and engaging on a human level with as many people as possible there, allows us to do — namely, the chance to engage in some particularly positive and progressive work, and help as much as possible. The fact that we get to do all this while also doing something else we love — providing second-to-none experiences for the visitors we take there — is a big part of what keeps us going.
We’re extremely proud of these projects, and look forward to continuing and expanding them next year, and beyond. If you’d like to become a direct donor, or contribute to any of these projects, then we’d be glad to hear from you at any time.