Telling the Truth

Fundraiser by Michael Downey

This fundraiser supports University of Alabama EMBA for TNKR

$779 raised

About This Fundraiser


It may be a little early to be contemplating the end game but at sixty six years old, surely it can be seen from here. It is a point where, when looking back at the accumulation of events and experiences a pattern begins to emerge. The reality is that I can only live in one day at a time and that day is this today. The real question is how to use this one day to its fullest while moving into the future. It is not clear how many years remain to me, but of course it was never clear in the first place. From now, I'll set my sights on the highest star and see how close I can get to it.

One way that totalitarian governments control their population is by controlling what they say. Telling the truth is the enemy of totalitarianism and the lie is its fervent supporter.

As a volunteer English teacher and speech coach for TNKR (Teach North Korean Refugees) I've found a great deal of meaning in my life for this very reason. TNKR is an NGO headquartered in Seoul that was founded to give a voice to North Korean refugees that have escaped and now live in South Korea. TNKR matches teachers with refugees for one-on-one tutoring in English.

Most meaningful for me are the English Language Speech Contests that TNKR holds twice a year. At each contest seven to ten refugees stand up in front of an audience and give a ten minute speech entirely in English. They talk about their lives in the north, their escapes, and their hopes and dreams for their futures. On August 30th, TNKR will hold its eleventh speech contest.

TNKR is a volunteer and donation driven organization. In order to continue, we need your help. June 28th is my birthday so it is a good time to ask. If you are concerned with telling the truth about North Korea here is your chance to get involved. You could donate at this time or better yet, pledge to donate an amount you can afford on a monthly basis.

Thank you so much,

Recent Supporters

  • David 11 months ago
  • Josef 11 months ago
  • Jim 11 months ago
  • Eg 11 months ago
  • Joel 11 months ago
  • Jim 11 months ago

About University of Alabama EMBA for TNKR

Welcome to the University of Alabama Executive MBA fundraiser for Teaching North Korean Refugees (TNKR)! We’d like to thank you for visiting and tell you a little bit about why we are here.

During our international immersion we were introduced to two young ladies that escaped from North Korea. Listening to their stories was a very powerful and moving experience for all of us. On the lighthearted side we were told tales of them watching American movies in secret (Home Alone and Charlie’s Angels). They also told us, as you might expect, about the hardships they faced in North Korea and what it was like growing up in a country where their education system lied to them daily.

However, what really surprised us was when they told us about the difficulties and the traumas they have encountered after they escaped. While getting out of North Korea was good, we were unable to imagine the difficulties they experienced after… We don’t want to go into their personal details, but it involved indentured servitude, physical and emotional trauma. No eyes were left dry.

Thankfully, these ladies and many others have since connected with TNKR. In a very short amount of time, TNKR taught them English as well as many other life skills needed to survive in the free world. TNKR works and gives tirelessly so the refugees can make new lives with their freedom; a freedom that many of us were blessed with at birth.

Please open your hearts and your wallets to support TNKR as they continue helping North Korean refugees!

We also have an exciting announcement! All funds that are donated will be matched by a private donor!

Continue with


Log in with your email address

    Continue with


    Sign up for an account to track your giving, save your preferences, and more.

                Enter your full name as you want it to appear on receipts. If you are giving on behalf of an organization enter its name here.