Personal Stories


On the Brink of Survival

The true account of young boy Lim Chol demonstrates the harsh realities of surviving a famine. Chol and his family lived in a small coal-mining town in the South Hamgyong Province of North Korea, when the famine in the 1990s struck and left him and his sister orphaned. Chol witnessed the death of his own mother and the betrayal of his father to the family. After the death of his mother, Chol was forced to provide for his sister in the midst of the terrible famine that swept through the nation. The two siblings eventually made it to China where they sought refuge and experienced a life completely different from that of which they had escaped.

Chol, Lim and Lim So-yon. “On the Brink of Survival.” Save North Korean Refugees. July 1999. Web. September 2013. <>.


SA mutineer: ‘I live in poverty’

Solly Pholokgophelo, age 46, has worked at the South African National Defence Force for over 20 years and is a qualified army instructor. However, he is barely able to support his family. He lives in a small shack vulnerable to the weather and lacking necessary equipment. South Africa has the largest number of soldiers in their 30s and 40s; this unbalance of age among soldiers is the result of a generation raised in conflict. Soldiers often clash with police officers because they feel robbed. Entry-level soldiers are paid an average of 53% less than the average policeman, which leads to the various levels of conflict between the two groups. Defence Minister Sisulu speaks against the violent behavior and soldier protests, calling it ill-disciplined and intolerable. However, Pholokgophelo, father of three children and active participant in soldier protests, cannot afford to have his children raised into poverty any longer and is fearful for their future.

BBC News. “SA mutineer: ‘I live in poverty’.” 9 September 2009. Web. September 2013. <>.


Surviving the Rwanda Genocide

This narrative written by Jon Blanc is a story of his encounter with Monie, a young eight year old girl who survived the Rwanda Genocide. Monie witnessed the brutal rape of her mother and sisters and the murder of her entire family. She was able to seek refuge in a nearby orphanage, even though she was not a Hutu like the owner of the orphanage. Although the care she received was life-saving, Monie was heartbroken and alone. The village in which she now lives is marked by bullet holes and blood stains, which serve as constant reminders of the tragedies she witnessed. Her encounters with the brutality of the Rwanda Genocide left her unable to trust Blanc easily. She ultimately opened up to the author which serves as an example of emotional healing from the traumatic events forced upon a child through war.

Blanc, Jon. “Surviving the Rwanda Genocide.” Kabiza Wilderness Safaris. Web. September 2013. <>.

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