Teach North Korean Refugees
Win a signed copy of a book written by a North Korean refugee! The drawing will be held on December 9, 2017 at TNKR's Matching session, with one of the refugees in attendance choosing the winner by blindly selecting a name out of a jar.
Become a monthly donor to TNKR giving at least $10 a month to be eligible to receive a signed copy of one of these books:
* Dear Leader by Jang Jin-sung (personalized)
* Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee (personalized)
* In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park (signed)
* A Thousand Miles from Freedom by Eunsun Kim (personalized)
* Sunhee by Lee Ju Song (personalized)
All current monthly donors will be included in this drawing.
Email Casey Lartigue CJL@alumni.harvard.edu to let him know which book you would like, when you win. :-)
" Who pays for study sessions?" That question is asked by many tutors and students joining TNKR for the first time.
* Some of the refugees have told us "I have no extra money." And we know that some of them are trying to save money either to help relatives still in North Korea or even to save up enough to rescue relatives, friends or other loved ones still in North Korea. Knowing their situations, we have done our best to keep TNKR tuition-free for refugees.
* Some tutors are in debt from college. One told me, "Casey, I'm $60K in debt, but I will do my best." This is on top of them already engaging in free tutoring, so we hate it when they must spend money in addition to volunteering.
One of our previous volunteers said people can "give a little or a latte." She's right!
Refugees and tutors in our program can study at business centers or cafes, but they can expect to pay at least 10,000 won per session. Some tutors have told us that they had to cut back on tutoring sessions with refugees not because of a lack of time or willingness, but because of the cost (transportation, costs of booking rooms).
At the most we can handle one or two study sessions at a time, but because we lack full-time paid staff, it is hard to keep the office open for study sessions or to accept appointments in advance. And we often need to use the office for our internal meetings and staff.
TNKR is now taking a big step: Converting our current office into a study center for refugees.
We hope to reserve the office for study sessions that can be held most of the day. To make this happen, we will be moving our operations into the office of a partner organization. It won't be as comfortable for our volunteer staff, we will lose some of our autonomy, but this can provide more opportunities for refugees and tutors to be able to study without cost being an issue for them.
You can help by becoming a monthly donor. We hope to have at least 100 monthly donors donating at least 10,000 won each (about $9) a month.
At cafes, TNKR students and tutors must battle loud music, loud customers, plus it can get crowded at times, and sometimes it is hard to get a good seat. Plus, it isn't a professional situation for refugees to be studying English, especially those who are studying it for the first time.
At business centers, they must pay at 10,000 won per session, leading back to the problems stated above.
* Study rooms are usually a cheaper alternative, but they are built either to be really quiet situations or there is a problem with being pushed out for the next customers.
* Refugees sometimes are embarrassed about beginning their journey into the world of English and would prefer not to be studying in open settings.
* Refugees getting help with public speeches sometimes discuss sensitive topics that may be uncomfortable discussing in a cafe or another open space.
We would like to get away from these problems by having TNKR students and tutors meet to study at our Study Center. It will give us a better chance to get to know them, they will feel better connected to TNKR, and they can study in a quiet study center expecting them. You can give a little or a latte. :-)
Donations to this project can be made anonymously and the amount you give won't be posted online, so a monthly donation can help us provide a safe space for refugees to study.
Until August 15, South Korean Independence Day: If you donate 150,000 Korean Won ($132) or if you set up a fundraiser and raise 200,000 won (about $175), you will receive a copy of Sungju Lee’s book, “Every Falling Star.” He will sign it, and write a personal message of your choice in the book. We will also mail the book anywhere in the world. After making the donation, please email Dave Fry to let him know what message you want in the book, and where to mail the book. We will be shipping out books twice a month on, or around the 15th of the month, and on, or around the last day of the month.
For any questions, please email Dave Fry, Assistant Director of TNKR:
You can donate via PayPal, the TNKR fund or the TNKR bank account.
More than 30,000 North Korean refugees who successfully escaped from North Korea and China chose South Korea as their landing point. But much less attention has been focused on the more than 200 who have gone directly to the USA and the more than 600 who have gone to the UK.
Two non-profit organizations based in South Korea (TNKR) and the UK (Stepping Stones) are collaborating on several days of activities to raise awareness about the plight of refugees in the UK.
October 21, North Korean Refugee Freedom Forum (held at Resource for London)
October 23, Oxford University forum
October 24, University College London forum (pending final confirmation)
October 24, address at Parliament (pending final confirmation)
October 28, TEDx Talk by a refugee in TNKR
The two organizations (co-founded by 2 North Korean refugees, 1 South Korea, and 1 American( are both tiny non-profits. They have raised some money to cover costs for the trip and activites, but are short about $1,300. Your financial support will help cover costs for renting venues, travel to speak at events, accommodations.
The two organizations have already collaborated to connect several refugees in the UK with English tutors to help them with their struggles surviving in an English-speaking environment. As a result of this trip, we hope to raise awareness about North Korean refugees in the UK; find more tutors and coaches to assist refugees with adjustment, and find more ways to collaborate to help North Korean refugees.
Stepping Stones co-founders have both been students in TNKR.
Stepping Stones co-founder North Korean refugee Jihyun Park says: "One program that gave me hope was Teach North Korean Refugees in Seoul. I am proud to have been a student and now to be collaborating with it to bring more opportunities to refugees in the UK and around the world."
Stepping Stones co-founder Hyeongsoo Kim, currently a student in TNKR, says: "Thanks to TNKR, many North Korean refugees can speak out to tell their stories to the world and to raise awareness. I've seen so many friends who improved so much after studying in TNKR. Within the NK defector community, TNKR is the name that comes up when people talk about ways to learn English or tell your story."
Here's a Korea Times column by TNKR co-founder Casey Lartigue explaining how this project began.
Please help our effort to help NK refugees in the UK by making a donation. Other donation options including direct donations to the TNKR bank account, PayPal, 501(c)3 deductions, CMS and others are here.
Please help me urge North Korea to confirm the fate of my father and return him to South Korea!
On December 11, 1969, my father went on a domestic business trip on a Korean Airlines (KAL) flight. Soon after takeoff, his plane was hijacked by a North Korean agent and forcibly taken to North Korea.
There is not a single reason in this world that my father should remain forcibly detained in North Korea. But for 48 years, my family and I were forced to endure the pain of this cruel separation.
There are two reasons for my family’s suffering.
One reason is that the North Korean government has committed an act of international abduction and is refusing to admit the truth.
Another reason is our collective failure to respond to North Korea’s criminal behavior and to demand my father’s release. Our own inaction has served to legitimize North Korea’s criminal action.
All this is coming back to haunt us, creating an endless list of new victims.
One such person on this list is the late Mr. Otto Warmbier, a young American who tragically lost his life.
When I turned 34 years old, I began searching for ways to get my father back. Now, I am 50.
For the past 16 years, I have fought alone, doing everything I could think of to break the silence surrounding my father’s abduction. I never gave up hope that there were people out there willing to listen to the call of justice, and that a day would come when they will hear my voice. But for so many years, no one heard my message.
But then, I witnessed a miracle. In March 2016, I met TNKR, and they helped me create “TEAM HWANG,” a group of volunteers committed to help me raise awareness about my father’s abduction. And on May 30, 2017, the UN Human Rights Chief highlighted my father’s case in his annual report, shining a renewed light on the pain and suffering of my family.
The UN report has shown the world that my father’s abduction is very much a present-day and ongoing case of a serious human rights violation.
With this renewed focus, I plan to:
(1) call out to the world about the serious human rights violation related to the 1969 KAL hijacking incident; and
(2) demand my father’s ‘repatriation’ under the rules of international law and humanitarian principles.
Raising international awareness is the key to sending a strong message to the North Korean government that they must ‘confirm’ the fate of my father and ‘repatriate’ him to South Korea.
I humbly ask you to support my efforts to reach out to the international community.
Your support will empower me to raise international awareness about my father’s case, which is the key to bringing my father home.
Thank you very much.
* Representative, KAL Abductees' Repatriation Committee (KALARC)
* TNKR Fellow in Human Dignity
There are so many organizations out there that take donations, but do not effectively use the money to help those that are in need. After working for TNKR for 6 months, I can say that 100% of your donation goes to help North Korean refugees. The co-Founders don't earn any money, as a matter of fact no one that works at TNKR earns a single dime. It is the most amazing organization for you to support. You can be assured that your money will truly help improve the lives of North Korean refugees.
I will match donations up to $700 US through August.
Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR) is a nonprofit organization located in Seoul, South Korea, dedicated to helping refugees adjust to living outside of North Korea. TNKR aims to assist North Korean refugees in preparing for their future and transitioning to life outside North Korea by providing them with free English learning opportunities. Since its establishment in 2013, the organization has provided free education to more than 300 refugees who are now building their own future in a free world.
Volunteer today and help us make a difference in the refugee community. TNKR volunteers keep education programs free for refugees by organizing fundraisers, host refugee-speaking contests and events, and participate in humanitarian conferences.
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