This past weekend TNKR wrapped up a busy month of activities. On Saturday, we held our 78th Language Matching session. It is hard to believe because when we first started matching refugees and volunteers back in March 2013, it was just a hobby for me and Eunkoo Lee.

July is usually a tough month because many people are traveling abroad and others are leaving after finishing studying or one year contracts, but that is a GREAT time for refugees to study because they are on break from school. Despite having a smaller pool of applicants, we managed to hold three different language matching sessions, many orientation sessions, a planning meeting about the information campaign, a donor appreciation event featuring former NK diplomat Thae Yong-ho, joined fundraisers hosted by volunteers, and held many meetings.

TNKR Academic Coordinator Janice Kim had the challenge of dealing with more than 30 volunteer tutors and coaches across three different Language Matching sessions and TNKR co-founder Eunkoo Lee was coordinating with more than 20 NK refugees.

At Saturday’s Track 1 Language Matching session:

  • 8 refugees and 10 tutors joined the session.
  • On average, the refugees chose 2.7 tutors. They are now expected to meet with each tutor a minimum of twice a month.
  • Unfortunately, 1 tutor applicant canceled the day before and another tutor applicant canceled shortly before the session, so the refugees had fewer choices.
  • We have now had more than 800 tutors and coaches volunteer in TNKR.
  • The session started at 2 pm. The first refugee to arrive showed up at our door at 9:10 a.m. Yes, almost five hours in advance. The only reason she didn’t arrive earlier is that we tell students not to come before 9 a.m.

We will be having a “Re-matching” session on August 12, for refugees who have lost their tutors and have been asking for a chance to return.

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