About This Fundraiser
Over the coming summer I will have the special opportunity to teach English to North Korean refugees in Seoul.
Since the end of the Korean War, over 31, 000 North Koreans have risked death to defect to the South. Of those who’ve escaped, 72 percent have been women. Almost all go through China where, as illegal migrants, they face the threat of deportation to North Korean prison camps or, in many documented cases, become victims of human trafficking.
For those who successfully escape, they arrive to South Korea as strangers, to a world that from a very early age they were educated to hate. They arrive as second-class citizens that struggle to understand or speak their own nation's language that has changed so much over the past 70 years. They fall behind in university courses, with almost half of defectors ending up either unemployed or working menial jobs. It comes to no surprise that about half of all defectors suffer from some sort of psychological illness - not only from their life in North Korea, but from the struggle of readjustment in a world so different from what they had once known.
Defectors come from one of the most isolated nations on earth to one of the most well-connected and developing in the 21st century. In this increasingly globalized world, one of their most sought after desires is to learn English. Learning English is a freedom that will grant North Korean defectors the opportunity to complete university, seek opportunities abroad, and - perhaps - share their stories to an audience.
This immersive program will offer free one-on-one language lessons to defectors. With limited government-sponsored programs for defectors, opportunities such as these will help low income refugees acquire an education that they desperately seek.
100% of the proceeds will go to funding private study centers where the refugees can have a safe and comfortable space to study.
About General Fund
In November 2016, the Ministry of Unification in South Korea reported that the number of North Korean refugees escaping to South Korea had surpassed 30,000. Various media report various challenges that refugees face in adjusting to South Korea. An estimated 35 percent of refugees are unemployed, 80 percent work in menial jobs, and refugees who are employed earn 50% of what South Koreans earn.
Escaping North Korea is the first battle many refugees face. Many report that English is a major barrier for many of them, as they struggle with "Konglish" words that have seeped into the South Korean language. TNKR helps refugees by connecting them with volunteer tutors. Since its founding in March 2013, TNKR has connected 315 refugees with more than 650 volunteer tutors and coaches.