, , , ,

2017-07-22 TNKR 61st Matching session


Student 1:
I am a student who attended the TNKR Matching Session on July 22, 2017.
I arrived at 1:00 pm.
It was very apparent that Mr. Casey, Ms. Eunkoo, and Youngmin teacher were very busy preparing for the session.
As the session began, the 12 volunteer tutors introduced themselves one by one. All of them had such warm smiles on their faces, and I felt honored to be given the opportunity to study with them as a North Korean refugee. Words cannot adequately convey how happy I felt to see so many volunteer tutors willing to help us improve our English.
It also dawned on me how much the international community was focusing on the situation surrounding the Korean peninsula, particularly in North Korea.
It was also fascinating to see all the students introducing themselves one by one and being given the power to choose their own tutors. It was a very special system unheard of in other organizations.
As a student, I was particularly thankful for the strict policy of only using English and banning the use of Korean in classes. I initially planned to choose 2 tutors, but I ended up choosing 4 tutors.
Two students even chose 5 tutors each.
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to all the tutors from various countries (USA, UK, New Zealand, etc.) for caring so much about us despite their busy professional schedules.
And I would like to sincerely thank TNKR for shining a light of hope to all the North Korean refugee students.
I also feel hopeful that all of this English support, big and small, will have a monumental impact on the Unified Korea in the future.
Hurrah to the Great Unified Republic of Korea! Glory to our elders from the United States of America!

Translated by: Youngmin Kwon

Edited by: Anna Martinson


TNKR began in March 2013 with co-founders Eunkoo Lee and Casey Lartigue matching a few North Korean refugees with volunteer tutors at a small “English Matching” session. Yesterday TNKR held its 61st Language Matching session. We have now matched almost 300 refugees with more than 600 tutors and coaches. We’ve designed sessions so that that tutors teach at least 2 refugees at least twice a month. That means that refugees can have a few tutors but volunteers won’t be overburdened. The result is that in a typical session, refugees select at least three tutors each and volunteers can have two refugees each. Yesterday worked out so that tutors accepted 2.5 refugees each and refugees hauled away 4.3 tutors each.

  • 12 tutors
  • 7 refugees


  • Overall made 30 selections
  • 5 selected four tutors each.
  • 2 selected five tutors each
  • Average of 4.3 tutors each

How did refugees learn about TNKR?

  • 3 from a friend
  • 2 from a TV show (이제 만나러 갑니다)
  • 1 from Facebook
  • 1 from the Internet

Refugee need for English:

  • 2 need help with college classes
  • 2 have international opportunities related to careers
  • 1 wants to study abroad
  • 1 for current job and hopefully can work abroad
  • 1 general conversation

12 tutors: Nationality

  • USA 4 1/2
  • England 3 1/2
  • South Korea 2
  • New Zealand 2

Main motivation for volunteers joining TNKR:

  • Want to help/volunteer 8
  • Can use English teacher skills 2
  • TNKR approach 2

How volunteers found TNKR:

  • Friend 3
  • Google/Facebook 3
  • Casey Lartigue 2
  • Meetup 1
  • TNKR’s Jang Jin-sung event 1
  • Kenneth Bae 1
  • Doesn’t remember 1

*** We will next have a Track 2 session for refugees who need help with public speaking: August 6 orientation from 2 pm, August 13 Matching session from 2 pm. Check here for more upcoming TNKR events.



0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *