Once upon a time, Eunkoo Lee worked at two different institutes in which she 1) interviewed North Korean refugees about abuses they suffered in North Korea and China and later 2) helped North Korean refugee youngsters with adjustment into South Korea.
Like a lot of other South Koreans who have worked with NK refugees, she thought the refugees were passive. In addition to her experience, one of her master’s degrees is also in North Korean studies. She and her colleagues were used to setting up everything for the refugees, then doing their best to make sure enough refugees showed up.
Then an earthquake shook her world. She began collaborating with an American who had completely different ideas. He challenged her expertise. He insisted, like a character out of a Field of Dreams: If you build the project correctly, they will come.
Even when it started happening, she didn’t believe her eyes. Now she has no choice!


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Jason Jung, editor of T-Club, has published excerpts from his interview with TNKR’s co-founders.

Support TNKR: https://www.paypal.me/loveTNKR

A reporter visited the TNKR office, and stayed for about 9 hours. He conducted interviews with staff and refugees, analyzing from every possible angle. We set one hour limits for interviews with refugees, but the rest of us will talk all day long…

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TNKR held what felt like a press conference at its office. Yes, we had 13 Danish reporters at our office. Eunhee Park was the featured refugee they interviewed. She was delightful, of course, engaging them with thoughtful answers mixed in with humor.

The reporters had so many questions that I actually had to be a moderator controlling them, the questions were coming in waves with subparts to each question! 

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서펌장학재단은 TNKR 학생들 중 영어성적이 향상되었거나, 전체 교과성적이 향상된 탈북 대학생들에게 장학금을 지급하고자 합니다.

  1. 지원대상자: 현재 TNKR에서 3개월 이상 영어공부하고 있는 학생 혹은 3개월이상 공부할 예정인 현재 재학중인 탈북 대학생 (*현재 휴학중이나 2018. 9월학기 복학예정대학생)

(Eligible Students): The students who are studying TNKR for more than 3 month, or The students who will study TNKR for more than 3 months

  1. 신청기간(application period): 2018. 6.1 ~ 6. 30
  2. 제출서류: 구글신청서(온라인작성) 장학금 신청서, 2018 1학기 성적증명서(*휴학했던 학생은 휴학 전 최종성적증명서), 북한이탈주민확인서, 기초수급증명서, 재학증명서, 가족관계증명서 각 1부(첨부파일 참조:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LEVruPpt0B86CJjjyMXqCUMIs59Ix5v2/view?usp=sharing (신청서)/ https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GvpR6BAhHqGCcfyYHILhBkRnrR18nx65/view?usp=sharing (개인정보동의서) )
  3. 장학금 종류(Type of scholarship)

1) 영어교육장학금(English achievement scholarship): 총 10명(Total 10)

:  영어성적 향상장학금(The scholarship for English achievement) 한학기 250,000 원

:  영어과목성적: B- 이상 (English Subject more than B-)/ A는 A 유지해야합니다. (A should maintain A)

2) 교육장학금(Education achievement scholarship): 총5명(Total 5)

: 성적향상장학금( The scholarship for grade achievement) 한학기 400,000 원

: 전체평균성적: C-이상(Overall grade more than C-)

  1. 제출방법

– 구글 신청서 작성한 뒤, 나머지서류는 다음과 같은 방법으로 제출


– 방문제출(TNKR 사무실 광흥창역 4번출구)

–  우편제출( 서울시 마포구 독막로180-8)


  • 2018년 12월초 장학금수여(필참)
  • 영어성적향상장학금 동점인 경우, 전체성적이 높은 학생에게 수여함
  • 교육장학금동점인 경우, 영어과목이 높은 학생에게 수여함

서편탐 장학재단선교는?

서편탐은 라틴어 Serpentem Aeneum 이란 단어를 음역한 말로서 놋(구리) 뱀을 의미한다. 이는 구약성서[Old Testament] 민수기21장 9절에서 처음으로 소개되었다.


놋뱀은 육체의 치유와 영혼의 구원을 상징한다. 그 뜻을 따라 서편탐 약품 대표 이정호 이사가 평소 자신의 기독교적 정신으로 더 많은 사람들에게 예수그리스도의 사랑과 위로를 나누기 위하여 2001년도에 개인재산 약12억 원 상당의 금액을 기부하여 공익법인 [재단법인 서편탐 장학 선교 재단]을 설립하여 17년 동안 꾸준히 실천해 왔습니다.


설립자의 뜻을 이어 받아 이사장 조병헌 목사를 중심으로 6명의 이사들이 뜻을 모아 금번에 TNKR 과 협약을 하여 더 많은 이웃을 만나며 섬기게 되는 기회가 된 것을 매우 기쁘게 생각한다.


본 재단의 기부금은 장학생 지원과 어려운 이웃을 지원하는 목적에만 사용합니다.



It was a great luncheon. Former UN Secretary General was the keynote speaker, the Acting Ambassador of the US Embassy offered Congratulatory Remarks, Renaissance man Park Jin was the man in charge. The topic of Mr. Ban’s speech was: “Recent Situation on the Korean Peninsula and the ROK-U.S. Alliance.”

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A few months ago, I received an email from a professor saying that she, a colleague and a few students wanted to interview me and do some volunteer work at TNKR. Of course, I immediately killed the idea of volunteer work, and of course expanded the interview beyond myself. What started as a 90 minute meeting became three extended Q&A discussions.

Meeting 1, at the start of their trip: A 3 1/2 hour discussion with me. The only reason we stopped was because some refugees had arrived, ready for the initial interviews with us.

Meeting 2, a week into their trip: Almost 2 hours with Senior Fellow Tony Docan-Morgan, plus other time with me and a refugee studying in TNKR.

Meeting 3, the final full day of their trip: Almost 2 hours with Academic Coordinator Janice Kim, about an hour total with two different refugees studying in TNKR, 30 minutes with TNKR co-founder Eunkoo Lee, more than 90 minutes with Youngmin Kwon, project manager of the Bring My Father Home project.

I did my best not to answer every question. It was interesting to talk with them because they know TNKR! They read articles about us, watched videos, and had a good understanding of what we are doing, but they couldn’t always get the reasoning.

Very often, when I have interviews with researchers or reporters, they will know only basic information about TNKR. The conversation starts and can get to a deeper level, with sharper questions. The good thing is that I know everything about TNKR’s history and evolution so I can answer every question. When Eunkoo and I were developing, I insisted that we should not benchmark other programs, we were going to make our own way. One reason I didn’t want to benchmark from the beginning is that other organizations sometimes have trouble explaining why they do what they do. Sometimes they do things a certain way because they got funding. Or someone with money had a dream. In some cases, they might not want to explain their secret sauce to you, a potential competitor. So as I argued more than five years ago, let’s just make our own way so we can explain everything we do, and why. Talking with our new friends from Roanoke, we were able to explain everything we do, and why.

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Jasmin Fosse wrote on Facebook:

On Tuesday May 22nd we went to visit the organization that I have volunteered for over a year now named TNKR (Teach North Korean Refugees)! It was so nice to finally meet all of the crew members in person! We had a long evening with a lot of deep conversations about North Korea, North Korea’s human rights situations and TNKR. Thank you for welcoming us so warmly into Korea!

Yesterday on May 25th we went for lunch with TNKR’s co-founder Casey Lartigue and two North Korean refugee students! It was a very meaningful experience and we got to hear the refugees’ story and insights on North Korea first hand and up close. Not only did we simply go for lunch but we made good friends too with the refugees. These refugees have gone through a lot, but still keep thriving! Truly inspiring people and I wish them all the luck in the world! 💖🇰🇵 It was an honor to meet them both!

Jasmin Fosse and her friend Samantha Cianfrone Livson brightened up TNKR’s office last week, visiting us twice! They were coming from Finland. They had an energetic trip, visiting the many sites in Seoul, and making the trip to the DMZ. But they stopped at TNKR twice, staying for extended periods. Jasmin has been volunteering with TNKR for more than a year, our first teenager to become a Representative. She shares our many messages on Facebook, has raised money for TNKR, and even gave part of her graduation gift to TNKR!

She brought her delightful friend Samantha along with her. We had some delightful discussions about North Korean refugees, TNKR, life.

Two TNKR students joined us over lunch that probably lasted about three hours. It was a bit crazy for me, as I met two volunteers dropping off books, did a BBC interview as I was running back-and-forth.

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TNKR Book Sale, May 2018

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I am not, nor have I ever been, a student at the University of Michigan. I joined last night anyway and had a great time. Many of the attendees expressed interest in TNKR, and two who are musicians have agreed to perform at a charity benefit for TNKR. Stay tuned!

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I’m not an alum, but I was in the front row!
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