Protection services for the socially disadvantaged groups

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

Recently, North Korea is emphasizing the importance of protecting socially disadvantaged groups, including orphans and the elderly.

The Rodong Sinmun introduced the news about the Workers’ Party officials visiting orphans and the elderly in care homes in various regions on January 24, 2014.

According to the newspaper, “The party officials and organizations consider caring for orphans and seniors as one’s own children and parents as an important task and are actively engaging in organization and political activities in this area.”

Party officials of Jagang Province sent over 60 tons of coal, 200 square meters of firewood, pork, cooking oil, flour, seafood, undergarments, padded winter clothing and washing machines to various orphanages and nursing homes in the province.

Reportedly, the party officials in the Yanggang Province sent a hundred square meters of coal and firewood, washing machines, clothes, and shoes to orphanages and nursing homes last year. The newspaper described that there were “trails of vehicles” carrying goods to orphanages in North Hamgyong Province.

In Hamhung City (South Hamgyong Province), there are reports of 10 tons of fish delivered to orphanages and in South Hwanghae Province, orphanages and nursing homes received 300g of fish, 100g of meat and goat milk.

The news also reported in detail of Kim Jong Un’s onsite visit to the General Rear Service Department (GRSD) of the People’s Army on January 6 and that he inspected the newly built seafood refrigeration facilities and instructed regular distribution of seafood to be delivered to orphanages and nursing homes. Since then, specific measures are being established to regularly supply seafood to orphanages in Kangwon and South and North Pyongan Provinces.

Since the launch of the Kim Jong Un regime, special gifts consisting of food and clothing were sent to orphanages, nursing homes for the elderly and disabled on major state anniversaries and holidays across the nation.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported also on the same day on January 6, “Kim Jong Un recently instructed that nursery schools and kindergartens should be operated normally under all circumstances and the Cabinet should take the responsibility to guarantee lunch and heating in all children’s facilities.”

The recent movement in increased attention to orphans, children, elderly and disabled people is analyzed as an effort intended to consolidate Kim Jong Un’s power and draw the support from the North Korean people.

Some experts argue that this is a measure to resolved the number of kotjebi or homeless children and prevent social chaos.


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