Friday, February 16, 2018

New Blog ...

Hi Everyone ...
Looking for updates on Dongdaewon 2018 ... go to our new blog site (link).

See you there ...

Dongdaewon 2018

Picture image created by Yunus Wardak Y9H 

Welcome to Dongdaewon 2018 at Seoul Foreign School. 

If this is your first time visiting this blog, please take a moment to read about the SFS history; post One Stop Shop, all you need to know about Dongdaewon and partnering with the Eugene Bell Foundation (please check out the links to find out more).

Dongdaewon is a six week, school wide fundraiser, where students and faculty raise money to support patients with tuberculosis in North Korea, at one of the 12 centers Eugene Bell supports. We have known it as Dongdaewon but it's official new name is Pyungchang.

  • Iris Shin 7G (Writing)
  • Alice Kwon Y9J (Picture Design)
The money we raise goes directly to providing medicine for the patients. The cost per patient who are on the multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) program is 5,040,000 won or approx $4,860 US (for an 18 month treatment course).  SFS has partnered with Eugene Bell for nearly 20 years.

Keep reading to find out what is happening this year Dongdaewon 2018.

  • t.shirts/hoodies - this year students had the unique opportunity to enter a design for our annual Dongdaewon t.shirts.  There were so many thoughtfully created designs that the judges chose parts of three designs.  Congratulations to Yunus Wardak ((Y9H) back image, Alice Kwon (Y9J) front image and Iris Shin (7G) front writing, for your winning designs.
  • T.shirts/Hoodies can be purchased or ordered from each section and can be worn during the fundraising period. T.shirts every Friday and hoodies every day.
  • T.shirts (16,000) 
    Hoodies (35,000)
  • Shamograms - each year little leprechauns pay a visit to SFS. Please keep an eye out for the shamogram forms, coming soon, where you can buy a little treat to say 'Luck of the Irish, be with you!' Or 'Thank you, I really appreciate you.' for 2,000 won.  

  • Each year the British school (March 20th) and Elementary school (March 9th) run a student-led fair, where students work doing chores to raise money to spend on creative and innovative student initiated ideas. Don't forget to calendar these dates!

  • Each section also has their own individual fundraisers going on, so don't forget to check out what is happening in the different sections of the school.
These are just a few of the awesome events heading our way.  Don't forget to keep checking the blog for regular updates and how you can support Dongdaewon 2018.

Your action saves lives!

The One Stop Shop For All You Need To Know About Dongdaewon

If you are new to Dongdaewon, or new to the blog, there is a lot of great information, video and pictures that you can check out.  Some good places to start are: 

Common Questions and Concerns About Dongdaewon (eg. we don't want to support the North Korean government with money).

A Collection of Our Hearts To Serve Videos ...

Dongdaewon 2017 Hearts To Serve Video ...

Fundraising Video from 2013 Hearts to Serve Assembly

Video from 2012's Hearts to Serve and a message for you from one of our patients.

Patient Stories And Trip Reports

Thoughts and reflections from Ms Bigwood's trip to North Korea with Eugene Bell in Spring, 2015

The story of H.S. - how one small seed sown has changed not one life, but is continuing to change multiple lives.

Thoughts and reflections from Ms James Trip to North Korea with Eugene Bell in April 2013.

A family tale.  Sadly, TB does not just impact on individuals.  Left untreated, it can affect entire families.  Read the story of one such family.

Pictures and impressions from Ms Horne's Trip in October 2012 

Pictures and impressions from NK on Ms Carpenter's first trip.

A visit to Dongdaewon ... How the $$$ raised has been used(Pics and text)

How The Dongdaewon work has changed

Journal entry the day Ms Carpenter first met Dongdaewon patients 

(also pics)

Basic Facts About TB

A Day In the Life of A Visiting Team To A Center 

(LOTS of pics with a bit of explanation)

Finally … be sure to check back here often over the next few weeks, as we will be updating information regularly.  Look out for for coming events and more patient updates!

What About Those UN Sanctions?

“Where you live, should not determine whether you live ...”

In response to concerns about the UN’s new sanctions, we would like to state the following about our partnership with the work of the Eugene Bell Foundation (EBF) in North Korea.  (UN resolution statements are in italics and sourced from Reuters).

North Korea has TB rates that are four times higher than South Korea and China (Choe, 2014) and a growing problem with multiple drug resistance tuberculosis (MDR-TB).  Since the mid 1990s, EBF have been able to put politics to the side and find a way to work with North Korea to effectively address TB.  Around 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) stepped in to pick up the first line TB treatment.  EBF shifted their focus to MDR-TB patients - a strain that is difficult and expensive to treat.  They currently report a more than 70% success rate.  Having witnessed the program first hand, they do an exceptional job and we are proud to have SFS partner with them in this work.

“All cargo going to and from North Korea must now be inspected …”
This has been the case for some time and is the case with EBF’s shipments as well.  They are open and transparent, and work with the cooperation and approval of the South Korean Government.  Medicine goes out, sputum samples come back to South Korea for testing.  This could not happen without government consent.  Indeed several years ago when there was a ban on all aid to NK, EBF were one of two organizations granted permission to continue their work.  It is essential work.

The resolution stresses that the new measures are not intended to have "adverse humanitarian consequences" for civilians, the majority of whom face economic hardships and food shortages.
Eugene Bell will continue their work.  To stop it would seriously impact impoverished people and create a bigger problem of XDR than already exists, for which there is no cure.  Ceasing support of medicine for our TB patients at Dongdaewon would directly counter the intent of the UN resolution, as it would have adverse humanitarian consequences for civilians.  Currently the UN is spending a little over 100 million annually on humanitarian aid (South Korean UN Ambassador Oh Joon), including releasing an additional 8 million just last month (UNOCHA, 2016) - and they cannot monitor all of that, unlike EBF foundation who monitors every single bit of their aid.  They are proven to be reliable, transparent and responsible with the aid they provide.

The UN Security Council's list of explicitly banned luxury goods has been expanded to include luxury watches, aquatic recreational vehicles, snowmobiles worth more than $2,000, lead crystal items and recreational sports equipment.
Medicine is not a luxury good.  It is a basic human right and simply not available at all in North Korea.  The WHO provides all the first line TB treatment,  but they cannot deal with the MDR patients, as they do not have resources to cover both.  Eugene Bell is hitting an area that was not being reached.  They actually led the way in developing a support system for MDR patients.  They work closely with Dr KJ Seung, who is a recognized expert in this field and a member of the World Health Organization’s Global Drug Resistance TB initiative.

There is also an unprecedented ban on the transfer to North Korea of any item that could directly contribute to the operational capabilities of its armed forces, such as trucks that could be modified for military purposes.
Medicine is not used to expand the operational capabilities of armed forces.  It goes directly to sick patients.

In detail, the new sanctions are:

  • A ban on the export of coal, iron and iron ore used for North Korea's nuclear or ballistic missile programmes
  • A ban on all exports of gold, titanium ore, vanadium ore and rare earth minerals
  • A ban on aviation fuel exports to the country, including "kerosene-type rocket fuel"
  • A ban on military and police co-operation, closing down North Korea's training programmes abroad, especially in Africa
  • Upmarket watches, watercraft, snowmobiles and other recreational sports equipment added to a ban on luxury goods
  • Countries working in North Korea's financial and banking sector are now obliged to freeze the assets of companies and other entities linked to North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes - under a previous resolution, they were only encouraged to do so

As stated already, medicine does not fall into this area.  As a fundraising team, we regularly have to answer questions/misperceptions about aid to North Korean patients.  If you have concerns or queries about the program and what we do, we would love to discuss with you as we know first hand how the program works and have worked through many of these concerns multiple times over the years.

Choe, J., (2014).  Unexpected partnerships with North Korea.  Harvard Political Review  Retrieved from

Eugene Bell Foundation (2015) Our work and outcomes.  Retrieved from:

Charbonneau, L., & Nichols, M.  U.N. imposes harsh new sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear program.  Reuters News Agency  Retrieved from:

United Nations Office For The Coordination Of Humanitarian Affairs, (2016). UN emergency fund releases US$8 million to assist most vulnerable women and children in DPRK.  Retrieved from

Monday, March 6, 2017

Dongdaewon Quiz Night March 18th

Put a team together, come out for a night of fun and test your knowledge!

Paul and Ruth Sanderson are hosting an SFS community quiz night to fund raise for our Dongdaewon patient medicine.

Get your team and sign up here.  (adults only please!)

ES Wraps Up Another Successful Dongdaewon Fair

If you walked into the elementary school last week you may have thought you walked into a fairground!  Students from across ES were involved in selling, buying, fun activities, eating tasty food and just having a fabulous time.  The energy was high and the enthusiasm was contagious.

Originally the brainchild of the British School, the Dongdaewon fairs (hosted by BS and ES) have become some of our most successful fundraisers.  At the end of this year's ES fair, over 9 million won was raised for medicine for patients.  An amazing effort!  Well done ES!  The British School Fair is coming up this Thursday (9th of March).

Dongdaewon TB Two Step A Roaring Success!

We had our first Dongdaewon TB Two Step on Saturday night.  Young and old(er) turned up to dance the night away.  Fun was had by all and we raised close to a million won.  Check out some of the action below!