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2017-07-12 TNKR interviewed about volunteering

Researchers who usually contact us at TNKR want to talk to refugees studying with us. But today was a bit different:

  • According to the researchers who interviewed us today, TNKR is seen as a pioneer in the field of volunteering in South Korea. So they wanted to learn about our process, history, and development. They hope to highlight us so more South Koreans can know about what we are doing. Their focus isn’t on us helping refugees, but on our approach when it comes to volunteering. In many programs, volunteers just drop in, there is no real registration process, but we have high expectations for volunteers. As one of our previous volunteers said, “Volunteering doesn’t have to mean no standards.”
  • The researchers wanted to know about the volunteers. It went a step deeper than South Koreans surprised that foreigners are helping North Korean refugees. Their focus was more on what motivates people to volunteer when they come to South Korea. If South Koreans are more aware of what we are doing then they may be motivated to volunteer.
  • I also let them know that 25% of TNKR tutors also raise money for the organization.

So it was a nice interview!

***

We were visited by TNKR Special Ambassador and Board Member Ken Eom. It is always good to see him, and today was even better because he has wrapped up his first year of grad school! We talked about some of our upcoming projects.

***

We were visited by a new refugee in our program. She loves it! She has studied English in many places, but she says those places can’t compare to TNKR arranging 1:1 tutoring for refugees. Her English is already at a high level, she is confident she can really improve. We expect she will become a refugee in the program who gives us solid feedback about ways to develop TNKR.

***

This meeting was on Saturday but I didn’t post it earlier. She is so special to me–the first refugee I ever met. She was so friendly and patient, answering my many questions. We have stayed in touch over the years. She treated me to lunch, she says that I pay every time and say that she can pay next time. In knowing her several years, I have never heard her say a negative thing about anyone, including me!

I also had dinner with another refugee I knew before TNKR. Her experience in the program helped shape some of our policies, especially when it comes to preventing tutors from treating TNKR like a friendship society. She felt that she missed an opportunity by not having higher expectations for herself. When she joins TNKR this time around, she will have higher expectations for herself and her tutors.

***

Today wrapped up with us attending a funeral.

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