Thanks to Facebook memories, I come across posts from the early days when TNKR was barely surviving as an organization. One of the notifications today was from four years ago when I was offered a fantastic job that would have had me on easy street. In contrast, TNKR then looked like a dead end road littered with potholes.

In 2012, TNKR did not exist. When we humbly began in March 2013 with a session at a TOZ business center, we didn’t plan on any of this. The last week we have had refugees calling so they can join and visiting to thank us, volunteers contacting us to tutor or help in other ways, organizations and governments seeking to partner with us, fans asking how they can help, and refugees speaking out.

We created something out of nothing, and that something is expanding.

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Something out of Nothing: Track 2

We have now established a nice public speaking program in which we have volunteers willing to spend time helping NK refugees who are getting prepared to give speeches. Not every case is a success story, but it isn’t for a lack of trying, by coaches or refugees.

* We helped a North Korean refugee with a crash course in public speaking in English, but I heard that he spoke in Korean that time. We will continue working with him so he will eventually give an international speech in English. One of our volunteers spent at least 10 hours helping him get prepared.

* We should have another North Korean refugee studying in TNKR giving TEDx Talk, in English.

* On Wednesday, I spoke at KAIST College of Business, and invited NK refugee Scott Kim to share the stage with me.

* My Korea Times blog post yesterday highlighted NK refugee James Lee commenting on the NK refugee English speech contest.

* I’ll be speaking at the TESOL Institute at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies on Tuesday November 13.

* In 2019, I would like to expand our Track 2 team, to include team members helping us to develop that project. If you’re interested in helping with that, then contact me, drop by the TNKR office to talk.