The Teach North Korean Refugees project met and talked with high school students visiting from the USA. It was our second event in the last week, and both times were elegant and poignant.

Three of the refugees are in Track 2 (“Telling My Own Story”) and two are in Track 1 (“Finding My Own Way”). Three of them were first timers so they had jitters but told us that they are glad they did it.

Another speaker began her speaking career five weeks ago–she has now given 7 speeches. I can REALLY see her improvement (of course, she thought she was terrible). Another speaker is an expert, she was clearly at ease.

We were encouraged and inspired by all of the speakers. It is easy to forget how dangerous it can be for refugees to speak out. Many still prefer to remain anonymous or even avoid speaking opportunities.

Thanks to the TNKR team (co-Director Lee Eunkoo, Operations Manager Suzanne Atwill Stewart and Special Ambassador Cherie Yang) for coming out on a Tuesday afternoon to cheer on our speakers and to help make the event even more special.

One of the teachers was particularly touched by what he heard. He had many questions during Q&A, then followed up with me later with a GREAT idea. So we are going to be in touch, to make it happen.

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Last November, one of our volunteer tutors made a big mistake: She suggested a way she could help the Teach North Korean Refugees project have smoother English Matching sessions.

It wasn’t long before Suzanne Atwill Stewart had become such an important part of TNKR that we couldn’t remember what it was like before she joined us.

Ah, but what was going to be her title? We initially disagreed–she was happy to be our secretary, I wanted to name her “Special Assistant.”

Well, a few days ago, she got upgraded: Operations Manager. That accurately describes what she does with TNKR. I am a generous guy, so I doubled her pay. Let’s see, what is 0 x 2? When that didn’t seem to be enough, I instead tripled her pay. Yes, 0 x 3.

She is a volunteer Operations Manager, but she takes it so seriously. She stopped by my office today with her long to-do-list of items, and did her best to give me some assignments (HA!). She actually tracks what I say, reminds me of it, then follows up like a gentle stalker.

And… she has made it clear to me that I must set aside time each week to meet with her, to discuss my many ideas, so that she and Eunkoo (co-director) can turn those ideas into reality–in an organized way…

The other TNKR internal change: Cherie Yang joined TNKR recently, but she has already had a great impact. First was our mini-speaking tour in the USA as her introduction to public speaking. She took on the challenge with very little prep. In just five weeks, she has given her first seven speeches in English.

She is one of the members of TNKR, I think she has five or six coaches and tutors that she meets and talks with weekly. She is really focused on studying, learning, enjoys being corrected and learning new things.

But the other thing that she has done: She recruits other North Korean refugees to our project and praises our project without us having to ask her.

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March 14, 2015 at the Freedom Factory office near the National Assembly

1) Track 1 orientation from 12 noon-1:30 pm, in preparation for 3/21 Matching sessions. Track 1 is the English language section of TNKR in which students and tutors meet for a minimum of three months, twice  month. Joining this session will qualify you to be a tutor in the next TNKR Track 1 sessions. We have found that having separate orientation sessions gives us time to explain the project and to answer questions without the time pressure of getting to the Matching session.

Then on March 21, 2015 at the Mulmangcho Human Rights Institute near Bangbae station

2) Track 1 Matching session with 7 NK learners. This session is intended for those tutors who attended the 3/14 orientation. You will have the opportunity to tutor as many NK refugees as you can handle. We have a waiting list of refugees, so we hope to have as many tutors as possible so refugees can have the opportunity to study with as many tutors as possible.

3) Track 1 Matching session with an NGO, 4 NK learners with 4 SK study partners. This session is for those tutors who attended the 3/14 orientation. We are having a special session for an NGO that has matched four refugees with four South Koreans to study in pairs.


4) Track 2 Matching session from 2-4 pm with 4 NK Ambassadors. Track 2 is the part of the project that helps prepare refugees improve their public speaking skills. Not all refugees seek to become public speakers, and that’s fine with us, this is only an option for those who seek to improve their public speaking (for work, personal enrichment, to become public advocates, or for whatever reason they have).


It all makes perfect sense to me, but if it doesn’t to  you, please ask questions in advance so I can add more detail to this.

Apply online at Our Special Assistant is now traveling so please understand time delays.

“Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.”

The volunteers of the Mulmangcho School and Teach North Korean Refugee project did it. They raised 2 million won in two nights. I hope they can take a break to recover and rejoice, but I heard that some will be trying to make it to the Mulmangcho School this morning.

I’m the International Adviser to the Mulmangcho School, so I don’t have any real power except to send out threatening messages. But as the co-director of TNKR, I can direct our share of the loot to an internship program we are setting up.

Thanks from co-organizer Injee Lee: “Thanks to the bands (Sons of Tiger, Lions on the Beach, Decader, The Killer Drones, Boss Hagwon, Les Sales, Pentasonic, Colin Phils), the volunteers (Aaron Grommesh, Nina Stearns,Kristen Lefebvre, Rida Hamdani, Ben Haynes, Ren Haynes, Angie Ahn), Rachel Stine who emceed and co-organized, special guests Casey Lartigue and Eunkoo Lee who spoke about the plight of the refugees and what we can do to help, and especially Dwayne Robertson and Kirk Kwon at Thunderhorse Tavern.”

The team of volunteers started arriving a 7 pm on Friday to get set up and I heard that some remained until 3 am both nights.

Holding this kind of fundraiser is something we have been talking about for quite a while, but Injee and Rachel made it happen. They led the effort, but of course it took the team helping them to get it done.

And it isn’t too late to donate.
(domestic) Standard Chartered Bank
364 20 030012
Recipient name: Mulmangcho
Standard Chartered Bank
364 20 030012
Korea LTD.
Swift code; SCBKRSE.
Branch code; 233644

Double your donation to Teach North Korean Refugees through the Atlas Network. Click ” I would like to designate my gift to a specific Atlas Network program,” then type in “Freedom Factory” or “TNKR” or “Teach North Korean Refugees.”

3) DONATE TO TNKR (domestically/internationally/paypal)
-Bank account: (Woori Bank) 1006-201-405817
-Name on account: TNKR
-International bank account: (Woori Bank Seocho Umyeon Branch) 1006-201-405817
-Name on account: Eunkoo Lee(TNKR)
-Swift code: HVBKKRSEXXX
-Bank address: Taebongro 70, Seochogu, Seoul, South Korea
-Bank phone number: 02-3463-9596
* * *
paypal (just mark that you want it to go to TNKR)

Volunteering for Mulmangcho (group)

Mulmangcho School (page)

Teach North Korean Refugees (page)

Teach North Korean Refugees (group)

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English speech contest set for NK refugees

By John Redmond

A volunteer group, Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR), will host an English speech contest for North Korean refugees at Euljiro-dong Community Center in Seoul, Saturday.

At the event, 10 North Korean refugees who are students and alumni of the (TNKR) project will give speeches in English, answering the question “How can you help North Koreans?”

The participants are members of TNKR’s Track 1 “Finding My Own Way” and Track 2 “Telling My Own Story,” parts of the project co-founded in early 2013 by South Korean Lee Eun-koo and American Casey Lartigue, Jr.

Started in March 2013, TNKR has regular monthly sessions. It has so far held 24 sessions ― 22 in English and one in Spanish. The program boasts 156 refugees with 216 volunteers.

“Refugees can study English with as many tutors as they can handle. Park Yeon-mi was in the project last year, she had 18 tutors in eight months,” said Lartigue, Jr. in an email interview.

The prizes will comprise a grand prize of 1 million won, a second place prize with 500,000 won ($450), a third place prize of 100,000 won and an honorable mention prize with 50,000 won.

Co- director, Lartigue Jr., a fellow of Atlas Network since 2013, lives in South Korea where he is the director for international relations for Freedom Factory Co. In addition, he is the international adviser to the Mulmangcho School (for adolescent North Korean refugees) in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province.

The contest will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 28 and 10,000-won donations are suggested.

To get to the Euljiro-dong Community Center, leave Euljiro 3-ga Subway Station at exit 3. Turn right at the first alley (about five seconds after you exit the subway and turn left at the first small street and the center will be on your left across the street, you will see Staz Hotel.

To attend the contest or join TNKR as a volunteer English tutor or speech coach, email Pay for tickets at Woori Bank account number 1006-201-405817 (account name TNKR).

For more information, visit


TNKR Ambassador Cherie Yang and TNKR co-director Casey Lartigue spoke in three U.S. cities in the last week.

We had a great time, the audiences were receptive, we definitely raised awareness about the violation of human rights in North Korea and the challenges of North Korean refugees resettling elsewhere.

Thanks to the Atlas Network, Florida Gulf Coast University, Foundation for Government Accountability, the John  Locke Foundation and the Frederick Douglass Memorial & Historical Association for hosting us.

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These days, I can barely keep track of Teach North Korean Refugees students, alumni, tutors, coaches.

Feb 9, Cherie Yang to Florida Gulf Coast University and the Foundation for Government Accountability.

Feb 12, Cherie Yang​ to the John Locke Foundation in North Carolina.

Feb 13, Joo Yang will be speaking in Washington, DC to the RobertF. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Feb 14, Yeonmi Park in Washington, DC, to the International Students for Liberty Conference.

Feb 14, Cherie Yang to the Atlas Network and Frederick Douglass Memorial & Historical Association.

Feb 20, Joo Yang doing a Tedx talk.

Feb 24, Yeonmi Park at Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy

Feb 27, former TNKR tutor Joseph Steven Van Dorn​ will be leading up a fundraiser at which Sungju Lee will be the main speaker.

Feb 28, TNKR English speech contest.

March 6, fundraiser for the Mulmangcho School​ (I’m the international adviser), being organized by TNKR tutors Rachel Stine and In-Jee Lee​.

Plus, Jihyun Park​ is being featured in numerous places, including “The Other Interview.”

These are the things I happened to stumble upon. They are now all proving to be “magnets for freedom.”

Directions to the TNKR English Speech Contest on February 28 at 2 pm. I left the office a bit early today to make sure we have the correct directions.

Euljiro-dong Community Center, Euljiro subway station 3, line 2 or 3, exit 3 을지로3가 exit 3 을지로 주민센터

1) Exit subway.

2) Turn right at the first alley (about 5 seconds after you exit the subway.

3) Turn left at the first small street.

4) Walk about 7 seconds. 을지로 주민센터 will be on your left (across the street, you will see such refined landmarks as Staz Hotel, BnB, 7-11.


Euljiro-dong Community Center, Euljiro subway station 3, line 2 or 3, exit 3 을지로3가 exit 3 을지로 주민센터


Exit 3 from the subway is next to the Tous les Jours.


You’ll see this small sign pointing you to exit 3. Which means if you aren’t paying attention that you may miss it.


If you get lost, you can show this to people in the subway.


Subway exit 3.



After leaving exit 3, walk straight. This will be on your right. You want to turn right immediately after this.


turn into the alley before this store.


turn left here.


Assuming they are still there on 2/28, you will see the “Staz Hotel” and “Bn B” across the street from the building holding the speech contest.


That’s it!!!! The speech contest will be held on the 4th floor.


The address on the building.

Feb 28 speech contest