TNKR quietly began operations in March 2013, as a hobby of the co-founders, holding the first matching session at a business meeting center. Since then, almost 400 refugees and more than 800 tutors have participated in the program. We have had many people suggest the millions of ways that we could expand as an organization, but we have resisted many suggestions, building slowly with a foundation under us at each step. We have so much going on day-to-day that it is difficult to keep track.
I went through more than 1,000 photos we have yet to post. Seeing them, I had one main thought: TNKR really looks like an education center for North Korean refugees. We have planning meetings, entry interviews, feedback sessions, tutoring and coaching sessions, plus many refugees drop by to say hello to drop off gifts or even donations.
I’m sure there are many better funded organizations with better facilities that don’t have refugees dropping in to see them and some of those organizations even struggle with getting enough refugees to participate in their activities. How do I know that? Because they still contact us asking us if we can recommend (in some cases, if we can “send”) refugees for their activities.
This post highlights some of the day-to-day activities going on at our office.
The “Steak” of TNKR: English Tutoring
The speeches and forums featuring North Korean refugees naturally get the most attention from people. But the heart of TNKR is still English tutoring. We have now had more than 800 tutors and coaches volunteer with TNKR since March 2013.
One day we hope to have a larger center so it will be much easier for more students and tutors to visit our office. We build better relations with both and learn more about ways that we can develop TNKR so it can be a better experience for everyone. Here’s our Building Fund.