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Serving Children in Pyongyang


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Stephen Yoon, a doctor and chiropractor, spoke with Plough about his work caring for children with disabilities in North Korea. Dr. Yoon is a member of Ignis Community, one of the few openly Christian ministries operating in North Korea. An eight-member team in Pyongyang shares one vehicle and lives together in one house.

Working with other Ignis members, Dr. Yoon has spearheaded a program in Pyongyang to help children with cerebral palsy learn to walk. One of his wheelchair-bound patients dreamed of being able to walk to school with her friends. Dr. Yoon’s treatment enabled her to do so and attracted government support for his work. The subsequent Pyongyang Spine Rehabilitation Center (PYSRC) is currently creating programs to train doctors who can then take what they have learned to other regions of North Korea. According to Dr. Yoon, prior to PYSRC there was virtually no treatment for cerebral palsy in the country.

In addition to caring for children with disabilities, Ignis Community also distributes food, medicine, and essentials such as footwear to rural areas of North Korea. “Despite the restrictions, we have been amazed by what we have been given freedom to do. And as long as we allow enough time to receive the proper permission, we have found that there is little we cannot do.”

Photograph courtesy of Ignis Community.

Dr. Stephen Yoon helps children with cerebral palsy. The Ignis Community in North Korea: Dr. Stephen Yoon helps children with cerebral palsy.