In recognition of International Refugee Day, the U of A and Edmonton chapters of Amnesty International are teaming up with the Teach North Korean Refugees Project (TNKR) and Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) to bring you a one-of-a-kind event that will give you a direct window into the human rights abuses in North Korea from people who’ve lived there, as well as sharing the hope they have for their lives now that they’re free.

Two North Korean refugees will be speaking (via Skype from Seoul) about their experiences escaping North Korea and transitioning into a life of freedom, as well as several other speakers discussing the political situation in North Korea and their work helping North Korean refugees.

Our speakers will be:

• Sharon Jang, a 24-year-old North Korean student who fled North Korea in 2011. Sharon travelled for two months, covering 2300 miles through China and Laos, in order to reach safety at the South Korean embassy in Thailand. She had previously worked 15-hour days in a coal mine only miles away from the Hoeryong concentration camp (also known as Camp 22).

• Ken, who served for 10 years in the North Korean military, before escaping the country in 2010.

• Casey Lartigue, Jr., co-founder and co-director of the Teach North Korean Refugees Project, which provides North Korean refugees with English-learning opportunities and helps them determine their place in society, free of charge. Casey will be joining us over Skype from Seoul with Sharon and Ken.

• Dr. Kyungsook Kim, Korean Program and Language Coordinator for the U of A Department of East Asian Studies

• Esther Park and Dani Lichota, regional managers for Liberty in North Korea, a US-based organization that works to rescue North Korean refugees who are hiding in Asia and resettle them in South Korea. Esther and Dani are in charge of LiNK’s Nomad program, which has representatives travel around the US educating about North Korean human rights. Esther and Dani will be speaking via Skype from Los Angeles.

After the speakers, there will be time for a Q&A with the audience.

The event will be in the Natural Resources Engineering Facility (NREF) room 1-001 on the U of A campus (right next to ETLC).

In the interest of keeping things affordable, tickets will be $5 at the door for the general public, and free for students with student ID. All proceeds will be donated to the Teach North Koreans Refugees project in order to fund their programs and help North Korean refugees learn English and get accustomed to life in South Korea. Any additional donations to the TNKR program will also be accepted at the door and are greatly appreciated. Founded in 2013, it’s a young and growing program, so we’re trying to promote them and get them all the support we can.

As well, all proceeds from both ticket sales and donations will be matched by the Atlas Network!

Please invite your friends!

More information:

The Teach North Korean Refugees project: http://teachnorthkoreanrefugees.org/

Liberty in North Korea: http://www.libertyinnorthkorea.org/

Amnesty International Canada: http://www.amnesty.ca/

Amnesty International’s North Korea resource: https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/north-korea/

University of Alberta Department of East Asian Studies: http://www.eastasianstudies.ualberta.ca/

According to Arirang: “A survey of North Korean refugees shows that the toughest challenge they face while adjusting to the life in South Korea is the language. Although the languages used in the two Koreas share the same roots, defectors often face difficulties in the South where there are frequent use of foreign words and widespread English education. In particular, it is a struggle for young refugees to study and find a job due to a gap in English language ability from their South Korean peers. While many of them cite English as what they want to learn most, we meet young defectors who have taken a strong interest in studying the language.”

Today, Sharon is one of a number of defectors who are telling their stories with the help of Teach North Korean Refugees, a Seoul-based volunteer group founded by American Casey Lartigue and South Korean Lee Eun-koo.

Full article and photos at the Daily Mail.

28E4DFAC00000578-3089313-Brave_Sharon_Jang_traveled_for_two_months_to_reach_Thailand_afte-m-18_1432126506717 28E4DFDF00000578-3089313-image-m-27_1432126619330


Another first in Teach North Korean Refugees​ history! On our TNKR Internet page, there’s a short comment that was posted last night.

First North Korean refugee financial donor to TNKR!

It is a donation from a North Korean refugee. Yes, it is true!
We have now had two North Korean refugees volunteer for us and now our first NK refugee DONOR! Thank you so much, Jenny!

From what I have heard, there is no such thing as civil society in NK. Volunteering there is at the point of a gun.

Several of our refugees have said they have been inspired by the volunteers in our projects. Sometimes when they come to the sessions, the refugees want to know WHY the volunteers want to help them. One young man wasn’t satisfied with their generic answers, he wanted to know the really real reason they wanted to help strangers like them.

* * *

Jenny made a donation, you can do the same!

You can also make a donation to  TNKR.

Donations page

Via Atlas Network (Donations matched, designate it to “TNKR”)

Gofundme fundraising drive by Sean Massenburg through June 6

TNKR bank account




TNKR(Teach North Korean Refugees) English Contest에 여러분을 초대합니다. 현재 TNKR은 일반영어(회사, 공부, 여행 등) 공부를 할 수 있도록 기회를 제공하는 Track 1(Finding My Own Way)과 본인의 이야기를 영어로 이야기할 수 있도록 도움을 주는 Track 2(Telling My Own Story) 를 진행하고 있습니다. 현재까지 150여명의 북한분 들과 200여명의 선생님들이 TNKR에 참여하였습니다.

그리고, 2015년 8월 English speech Contest로 여러분을 만나고자 합니다. TNKR을 통해 향상된 여러분의 영어실력을 English speech Contest로 발휘해 보시기 바랍니다. 또한 콘테스트 준비를 위해 TNKR 에서 만난 선생님들 및 코치선생님들과 준비하실 수 있습니다.

그리고 이번 TNKR English Speech Contest 는 법무법인 세종과 공동주최로 개최됩니다. 관심있는 많은 분들의 참여 기대합니다.

  • 참여대상자(Participators):                                                                                   현재 한국에 거주하고 있고, TNKR에 한번이라도 참여하였던 북한 분들 누구나 (단, 2015년 6월 TNKR 매칭에 참여한 학생까지 참여가능)
  • 일정(Schedule)
  • Step 1                                                                                                                                    ① 참가 신청서 (TNKR English Speech Contest application)및 영어스피치 동영상 제출(5분) (1-2분 자기소개 포함)

          영어 스피치 주제: “What freedom means to me”

② 제출마감일: 2015년 7월 1일(수요일) 오후 6시까지

③ 제출방법: tnkr.secretary@gmail.com

  • Step 2 

① 7명의 최종결선자  발표

② 1차 발표: 2015년 7월 10일(금요일), 개별연락

  • Step 3                                                                                                                       

   English Speech Contest: 직접 영어로  말하기 (10분)

일시: 2015년 8월 22일(토) 14:00- 16:00                                                 

  –장소: 법무세종(Shin& Kim) 강당  


* 영어 스피치 대회는 관객들 앞에서 진행됩니다.

  • 시상내역(Rewards)

★ 1등(1명): 100만원 상금

★ 2등(1명): 50만원 상금

★ 3등(1명): 20만원 상금

★ 장려상(4명): 10만원 상금

  • 문의 (Contact)

– 궁금하신 분들은

Casey Lartigue (English)

Eunkoo Lee (Korean)

phone: 070-4006-0942

<제1회 TNKR English Speech Contest>

05-04(221)IMG_0862 other viewcropped-1.jpg



Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR), in conjunction with the law firm Shin & Kim, will be holding its second English speech contest in Seoul on August 22 from 2-4 pm.

Seven North Korean refugees will each have up to 10 minutes to address the question, “What freedom means to me.” Participants will prepare and deliver original speeches in English.

Participants are encouraged to prepare with volunteer coaches and tutors in Teach North Korean Refugees. For many of the contestants, it will be their first time to give public speeches in English.

The contest is open to all North Korean refugees who currently or have previously lived in South Korea and who have joined TNKR by June 20. The final contestants will be chosen from a pool of applicants who will be asked to submit a video.

First prize: 1 million won.

Second prize: 500,000 won.

Third prize: 200,000 won.

Honorable mention: 100,000 won each.

The contest will be held at the Shin & Kim office in Seoul.


Peninsula Inside:  English Programs for North Korean Defectors 탈북민 영어교육 지원 프로그램 6/5/15


* * *

North Korean Defectors Learn English to Communicate
Al Jazeera


Volunteers to hold meeting for NK refugee program
Korea Times
April 29, 2015

Korea Times april 29

Defecting from North Korea’s Middle Class

Groove Magazine



[대전MBC뉴스]한국 정착, 영어로 돕는다

MBC News



The American Known in North Korea
Catalyst Asia

american known in North Korea


Radio Free Asia
March 31, 2014

Project helps defectors adjust to a new society
Joongang Daily

Joonang English


탈북자에게 영어 무료강습 … 정착에 큰 도움되죠
March 13, 2015

Joonang Ilbo


Speech winner says North-South unification realistic goal
The Korea Times
March 12, 2015

Korea Times--speech winner


A Beautiful Speech Contest
The Korea Times
March 11, 2015

Korea Times--KC


Defectors call for better awareness on their plight

The Korea Times
March 5, 2015

Korea Times--speech contest


Tiger Times Online

February Briefs

Tiger Times online



English speech contest set for NK refugees
The Korea Times
February 25, 2015

Korea Times--English speech contest set


Black History Month Guest Editorial: “What Would Frederick Douglass Do?” : Teaching North Korean Refugees By Ashley Chenault
Baltimore News
February 9, 2015

Baltimore News



탈북자들 “외래어·줄임말 몰라 말이 안 통해요” [출처] 본 기사는 조선닷컴에서 작성된 기사 입니다

Chosun ilbo
January 18, 2015



“제자 가르쳐 북한인권 세계에 알린다”
Future Korea
Jan 6, 2015

Future Korea


Radio Free Asia

SR Wire
October 16, 2014

SR wire


케이시 라티그 물망초학교 국제자문
Radio Free Asia
August 25, 2014



Casey Lartigue: An Advocate for Freedom 
Nubian Drifter
August 6, 2014

Nubian Drifter


꽃미남 KC (about TNKR co-founder Casey Lartigue)
Radio Free Chosun
June 4, 2014



Casey Lartigue Jr., co-founder of the Teach North Korean Refugees project, will be one of the speakers at the “Building Global Learning Community through Communication, Trust and Networking” conference on May 30th 2015, at Korea University in Seoul, Korea. 30,000 won for adults, 20,000 won for students.

May 30 conference


North Korean Defectors Learn English to Communicate


Volunteers to hold meeting for NK refugee program By John Redmond

The co-founders of the Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR) program invite volunteers who wish to learn more about the project to a meeting in Yeouido, Seoul, May 6.

“We have had so many people ask how they can help,” the group’s website says.

“TNKR will be meeting with interested volunteers who would like to find out about what we are doing, and would like to find a way to get involved.”

Volunteers are asked not to show up expecting to be assigned tasks, but “come with your thinking cap on, use your brain to find your own role.”

Normally held on Saturdays, this session is to reach those with weekend schedule conflicts.

The non-political and non-religious humanitarian organization focuses on providing assistance to those who have escaped North Korea.

“The primary focus of TNKR has been to provide English learning opportunities to refugees and to provide them with more options for determining their place in society. All tutors involved in the project are volunteers, and there is no cost for the refugees,” the Web page states.

TNKR provides two different tracks for refugees to choose to join and is a learner-focused project which encourages them to take charge of the way they learn and improve.

“Every refugee is given the choice of what direction their language learning will take by deciding upon their own study goals and selecting their own tutors.”

The meeting will take place at the Songu building from 7:15 p.m.

To get there leave the National Assembly Station on subway line 9 at exit 3 or 2 and make a U-turn. Walk between the KB bank buildings. As you reach the street it will be the building slightly to the right. The meeting will be in Room 805. For those who get lost, the office number is 070-4115-9600.

Please take the regular train and not the express train. The express train passes the National Assembly Station.

For more information visit http://teachnorthkoreanrefugees.org or the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TeachNorthKoreanRefugees?fref=ts.