Casey Lartigue's Fundraiser for TNKR

Fundraiser by Casey

This fundraiser supports Goodbye to TNKR's first office

$13,532 raised

About This Fundraiser

Every day is my birthday. All of September is my birthday month.

I would like to thank the rest of the world for joining in my daily celebration of life. This year I am setting up a fundraiser for the most incredible organization, Teach North Korean Refugees. Yes, I'm biased as the co-Founder, but even people who are not TNKR's creators recognize how wonderful this little organization is.

With very few resources, and relying on volunteers, we have set up an organization that is truly focused on North Korean refugees.

When people ask why we set up TNKR, the story is a bit complicated, there were numerous "aha!" moments along the way. The first was probably when I read Frederick Douglass' books as a youngster. I was inspired by his words and his actions, and live my life by both deed and word. There were other moments along the way--when I was a graduate student at Harvard, and realized that my super smart and caring classmates had wonderful plans for other people. But their plans almost never took into account the plans and goals of the beneficiaries of their wonderful plans wanted the medicine they were to be fed.

Working as a policy analyst in Washington, DC, I got to visit many schools, and realized that a policy I had never cared much for (school vouchers) could provide choices. I threw all of my heart into it, and the result was that more than 1,800 low-income children had the opportunity to attend the school of their choice. I was so energetic that I received some national attention and also had conspiracy theorists targeting me.

When I came to South Korea, I wasn't thinking anything about North Korean refugees. After spending more than a year learning about issues, I threw myself into creating opportunities for them to learn English. There are many challenges that refugees face in South Korea, and I found one where I could make a difference. But after a short time, I realized that it would not succeed if it resembled other programs, that we need to make sure refugees truly wanted it. And we know it based on the enthusiasm refugees show when they find us and the long waiting list that we have. We have created something out of nothing.

My birthday is coming soon. I'm no longer 12 years old, I don't celebrate my birthday much these years, except that I'm happy that it gives me a chance to get to another September 6.

Here's my fundraiser for TNKR. All donations are accepted, only I will know exactly how much you donated so don't feel ashamed if it is a small amount, something is better than nothing.

Recent Supporters

About Goodbye to TNKR's first office

Goodbye to TNKR's first semi-permanent office.
Yesterday March 2, 2020, the co-founders of TNKR signed an agreement to move the TNKR location from Gwangheungchang to near Sangsu station (subway line 6, exit 4). This is our first move in four years, but not our first move!
TNKR moved into the current office in July 2016, after a few years of moving around. One of the students in TNKR said to us one day, "TNKR itself seems to be a refugee." He had participated in orientation and matching sessions at various venues, including some of the following:
* March-April 2013, TOZ business center for our first Matching session.
* May 2013-August 2015, Mulmangcho Human Rights Institute office to hold orientation and Matching sessions
* Dec 2013-May 2015, Freedom Factory office (orientation, Matching, tutoring, and Casey Lartigue's desk became TNKR's office)
* Sept 2015-February 2016, Bitcoin Center (held orientation, Matching and had 1:1 tutoring sessions there)
* Dec 2015, Gongduck Community Center (Matching session, our other options weren't available)
* Feb-May 2016, Online University (held orientation, Matching, 1:1 tutoring, TNKR's office)
* June 2016, Dangsan Business Center (short-term as we waited for new office to become available)
* July 2016, TNKR office established at Gwangheungchang station
* March 2020, TNKR office moves to Sangsu Station
Before you get out the pom-poms and start cheering, this is not a move we sought. The landlord put the location on the market. We will need to put a 20 million won (almost $20,000) deposit on the office, in addition to our rent going up from 850,000 to 1 million won (almost $1,000) a month. We received an estimate of 900,000 won (almost $800) for a team of 4 movers to haul all of our stuff to the other office location).
We now have a monthly challenge of raising 1 million won a month (almost $1,000). We hope this move will last at least two years.

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