About This Fundraiser
Jang Jin-sung was a "psychological warfare officer" in North Korea. Since July 2016, he has recommended TNKR to numerous North Korean refugees. If you have been thinking about donating to TNKR, then you have an extra reason to do so: Mr. Jang will give signed copies of his book to donors who give at least 100,000 won to TNKR.
He recently issued a statement about TNKR:
"I am currently a board member of TNKR, a fact that I am very proud of. I have been offered board positions at various North Korea-related NGOs, but the one from TNKR is the only position that I accepted and am maintaining with pride.
To date, I have not met anyone who helps North Korean refugees more selflessly than the the two co-founders of TNKR. North Korean refugees should be thankful to them more than anyone. Even though I am a board member, I have never really helped TNKR, which is something that I truly regret. I sincerely hope that more North Korean refugees would learn English through TNKR.
South Korea is a small country. To succeed and stop being the object of sympathy, it is essential to master English. In particular, young North Korean college students should definitely graduate from TNKR’s program. It is a place where the efforts of resettlement, dreams, and ambitions of North Korean refugees are most well explained, and most well realized."
나는 현재 TNKR 이사직을 맡고 있다. 뿌듯하다. 지금까지 여러 북한NGO단체 이사직을 추천받았지만 다 거절하고 단 하나, 긍지를 갖고 유지하고 있는 이사직이다. TNKR 두 공동대표처럼 사심없이 탈북민들을 돕는 단체장을 지금껏 보지 못했다. 탈북민들이 가장 감사해야 할 분들이다. 나는 이사라지만 크게 도움 준 적도 없다. 미안함을 넘어 죄송하다. 바라건대 더 많은 탈북민들이 TNKR을 통해 영어를 익혔으면 한다. 한국은 좁다. 동정의 한계를 벗어나 성공하려면 영어가 필수이다. 특히 젊은 탈북 대학생들의 경우 TNKR을 졸업해야 한다. 탈북민이라서 필요한 정착의 노력, 꿈, 야망이 가장 쉽게 설명되고, 또 실행시켜주는 곳이기 때문이다.
(Translated from Korean to English by Youngmin Kwon)
In late 2020, TNKR (now FSI) leadership made the difficult decision to suspend its English tutoring project. From 2013-20, we had more than 450 North Korean refugees and more than 1,000 volunteers study together, mainly in our Track 1 English tutoring program. We hope to resume the tutoring project, if we can get adequate funding to run it as a first-rate program.
The main reasons we suspended English language tutoring:
* COVID. The changes brought about by the virus destroying the world also harmed our organization and special approach.
* Finances: With a decrease in fundraising, it was going to be more difficult to simultaneously operate three programs.
* Organization growth: With COVID and with an anticipated drop in grassroots funding, it made sense to downsize our programming and to focus on what we could do well.
* Expertise: The co-founders are not experts in ESL or EFL, but one co-founder is a public speaker and a professor teaching public speaking. Even with no volunteers, he could run that project on his own. With the English language program, however, we were relying on volunteers when we should have had paid professionals. And that goes back to finances, we are not wealthy enough to have a paid staffer managing the English language tutoring project.
* * *
The main reasons we are considering resuming our tutoring project:
* We survived COVID! We had so much uncertainty during 2020, we weren't confident we could survive as an organization. Several organizations that we have partnered with have died, and that was a real possibility for us. Before our cheerleaders get out their pom-poms, we won't operate as we did in the past. In our naive days, we would do the work, then go online to raise money later. That was fine when we were still in our formative years, but the second time around, we will operate as most organizations do: Raise the funding, then do the work. (Kind of like most employees in the world won't keep showing up for work unless they know they will get paid.)
* North Korean refugees are still coming to us. We were known for being picky--and those higher standards are what also attracted many North Korean refugees to us. They knew they weren't joining a social club and that the focus was on them as individuals. In the last year we have had to turn away some North Korean refugees who were eager to study English, had tried other places, met people online, or were just beginning. With those many options, they were still coming to us after hearing how great our project was.
* Potential volunteers are still seeking us out. It has been almost a year since we suspended our tutoring project, but we still have potential volunteers coming to us. Many people assume that we have a huge budget already (Ha!) and that we should be like a delivery service sending refugees to anyone who asks. Hopefully, some of them will help us to get strong enough financially that we can restart programming. The help can be with fundraisers, donations, and also we will be applying for larger grants to help us with the re-boot.
* Our Keynote Speakers have asked for us to resume tutoring. While many of our speakers are great English speakers, a few lack confidence. We would like to help boost their confidence and ability by working with tutors committed to helping them improve their English.
* * *
Not everyone, even our fans, reads messages carefully, so I am sure there will be some misunderstandings and we will probably have some people saying that we have already re-started.
Nope! When we are able to raise funding, then we will resume the tutoring project, with a paid staffer (without the benefits typically offered to English teachers in South Korea, we can't compete with the language institutes).
If you believe that it is important to have a professional and well-organized English language tutoring program for North Korean refugees, then please support this project as a monthly donor and set up a fundraiser to help us raise money. We hope to raise enough money to pay at least one coordinator as well as to raise funding to support the project overall.
Here are some reminders about why our tutoring project was so valuable and why we hated to suspend programming.
TVN (Little Big Heroes feature on TNKR)
Testimonials from North Korean refugees
"I am lucky to have found TNKR." | Yuna Jung - YouTube
TNKR taught me how to build my self-confidence" - YouTube
"TNKR is doing great work" for North Korean refugees - YouTube
"TNKR continues to be a huge help to me" says NK refugee Paul. - YouTube
"Without TNKR, I could not do it." - YouTube
"TNKR gave me a lot of opportunities to learn English" | Yuna Jung - YouTube
What do you like about TNKR? - YouTube
Fundraisers by North Korean refugees
The truth about North Korea's medical system (Dr. Choi)
FSI changed my life (Songmi)
Hyosim's fundraiser for FSI (Hyosim)
Yeonmi Park's fundraiser (Yeonmi Park)
Help North Koreans Find Their Voices (Yeonmi)
Please Donate to my 25th Birthday for a cause - (Yeonmi Park)
Thank you volunteers and FSI - (JeongCheol Lee)
Sharon Jang (Sharon Jang)
Why freedom is essential - TNKR (lovetnkr.com) (Chaeeun)
TNKR IS A LITTLE BIG HERO(작지만 큰 사람 TNKR) (Ken Eom)
Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee (autograph) (Sungju Lee)
Help bring TNKR to the UK - (Jihyun Park)
Help this great organization last forever (Jinmi)
"Dear Leader" author recommends TNKR (Jang Jinsung)
탈북민 영어교육프로그램 모금 - (Cherie)
당신이 바로 탈북민들의 운명을 바꿀수도 있는 멋진 사람이란걸! (Eunhee)
탈북민들에게 무료로 원어민영어 가르치는 TNKR을 격려 해 주세요 (Chanyang)
Thae Yong-ho praises TNKR (태영호 공사가보는 TNKR) - YouTube
Amy Kim, Teach North Korean Refugees - YouTube
What is Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR)? - YouTube
[Interview] Volunteers teach North Korean defectors in South Korea - YouTube
[Heart to Heart] Ep.62 - 'TNKR'(Teach for North Korean Refugees), Casey Lartigue & Lee Eun-koo - YouTube
#신지은의 통일공감 11회 케이시 라티그 (TNKR 창립자) - YouTube (Interview in English)
Teach North Korean Refugees (rap, short version) - YouTube
Testimonials from volunteers
What is it like to volunteer with North Korean refugees? (Minwoo Kim) - YouTube
TNKR volunteer Victoria Otter - YouTube
Testimonials from refugees to FSI's co-founder
Happy Birthday Casey Lartigue! - YouTube
꽃미남 KC (Pretty Flower Man) <--Facebook (The video at YouTube has sound problems because of Sony Music)