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.
Hello Everyone! I am Eunkoo Lee, co-founder and co-president of Freedom Speakers International (FSI). We were formerly TNKR.
My Birthday is Feb 10th!
The meaning of my birthday has changed, depending on my situation.
* Growing up: When I was young, my birthday was during the school vacation. I rarely met with friends on my birthday (No phone or email, especially for a country girl like myself). It was a special day for eating cake and receiving gifts from my family. I could feel love from my family on birthday.
* Becoming an adult, my birthday became a time to meet close friends. In some cases, we might only talk on each other's birthdays. We could find out: "Hey! You are still ALIVE!!!" I would then celebrate my birthday with family and friends.
* Now as the co-founder of FSI, my birthday is associated with Freedom Speakers International. Being the leader of this organization has changed me in so many ways, I can feel the warmth of the world around me. I have always been a shy person, I usually only talk to people who are really close to me. Because of FSI, I have been meeting people from around the world. I now celebrate my birthday for a good cause with family, friends, and colleagues and people around the world.
* With every birthday, I always appreciate my co-founder Casey Lartigue Jr. He is the person who encouraged me to be at the front (not just working behind the scenes) and inspires me to take practical action. It has made me a POSITIVE person.
NOW I am setting up a birthday fundraiser and telling people to DONATE to celebrate my birthday. A few years ago, I could not have imagined doing this kind of thing. Casey reminds me that he encouraged me many times to set up a fundraiser, but I hesitated. Finally, when I tried, I only asked me mother and sisters.
YES!! Please make a donation to this fundraiser and join a good cause to help FSI become a solid organization.