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2017-05-01 “I can speak English now”

Yesterday at TNKR:

  • Feedback sessions with two refugees
  • International reporter visits TNKR
  • Refugee designs bag for TNKR
  • In-house tutoring
  • Children taking over TNKR

Feedback session 1:

One of the refugees who came by for a feedback session with TNKR National Director Eunkoo Lee talked how much confidence she has gained since studying in TNKR. She had previously studied at a language institute but she felt lost in the classes.

  • She never studied English when she was in North Korea.
  • In South Korea, she had taken English classes at language institutes, but felt lost. The South Koreans in the basic class clearly had studied English, whereas she was at the very beginning.
  • She studied on her own, but wasn’t really sure how to study.
  • Then, she saw Yeonmi Park’s One Young World speech. She thought about speaking out, but because of family still in NK, she decided against it, but continued cheering for Yeonmi.
  • She found out about TNKR, then she began chasing me, asking me to meet.

She joined TNKR a few months ago, she has been studying with three tutors since then. She has continued studying on her own, but feels she has some guidance after studying with native and fluent speakers. She says that her friends are amazed (“envy”) that she has three tutors who are helping her to improve her English.

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Feedback session 2:

When she first came to us, she only spoke Korean. She even seemed a bit suspicious of us at first. She hasn’t said it, but it seemed that she was wondering, “What’s the catch?” She began studying hard, then her tutor realized that he wasn’t helping her by speaking Korean to her. Then, a few few months later when their class was going to end because she was going to join the Matching program, she said the key thing for her was when her in-house tutor stopped using Korean to translate things for her. For the first time, she had to start thinking in English.

She says she is now active in her classes at school, that she has gained confidence her studying with two tutors.

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TNKR student Joseph has designed a new TNKR bag (on the left). He is one of the first refugees I met, we lost contact a few years ago when I lost my flip phone, but he later found me on Facebook!

He said he likes our current TNKR bag, but he thought he could add our new logo to a bag that we could sell at events.

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TNKR Special Ambassador Sharon Jang was interviewed yesterday by an international reporter visiting South Korea. Sharon has been with us for two years, it is always great to see her!

The reporter interviewed me also to find out about a bit about me.

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TNKR super volunteer Youngmin Kwon was at it again yesterday!

  • He arrived at 6:30 a.m.
  • He worked on Mr. Hwang’s “Bring My Father Home” campaign.
  • Translation work when we need it.
  • Plus, tutoring a student. In March, he and TNKR Assistant Director taught the most classes by any TNKR tutors and have raised the most money since we launched a new crowd-sourcing site.

 

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2017-03-18/19 Active, not busy

A bit earlier, a friend I haven’t seen since September asked me if I’m still busy. I said: “I’m not busy. I’m active!” That means that I’m doing many things, meeting many people. But I can always squeeze fun into my schedule, no matter how busy I may look to some people.

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TNKR’s upcoming schedule.

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TNKR 북한이탈주민 글로벌교육센터 “인간 존엄성 특별회원” 임명

TNKR 북한이탈주민 글로벌교육센터 “인간 존엄성 특별회원” 임명

서울— TNKR 북한이탈주민 글로벌교육센터 (TNKR; Teach North Korean Refugees Global Education Center)가 납북피해자 가족 황인철 씨를 “인간 존엄성 특별회원”(“Fellow in Human Dignity”)으로 임명했다. Read more

TNKR Names “Fellow in Human Dignity”

SEOUL—The Teach North Korean Refugees Global Education Center (TNKR) is pleased to announce the addition of Hwang In-Cheol as its inaugural “Fellow in Human Dignity.” (“인간존엄성 특별회원”).

Hwang has been conducting a 15-year campaign to bring his father home from his 47-year captivity in North Korea. On December 11, 1969, a North Korean agent hijacked a domestic flight KAL (Korean Air) YS-11 from Gangwon to Gimpo just 10 minutes after take-off. All 50 people on board (46 passengers and 4 crew members) were abducted. The North Korean government eventually released 39 people, but held the other 11, including Hwang’s father.

Hwang joined forces earlier this year with TNKR when he joined as a student in the program and as a team leader in the “How to Help North Koreans” project. “Team Hwang” launched the #BringMyFatherHome project and has assisted Hwang’s efforts, including at a rally at Imjingak’s Freedom Bridge (June 17); a panel with North Korean refugees (July 30); an event marking the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances (August 30); a talk show concert (December 4); and an event commemorating the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 (December 10).

“Without TNKR, I would still be on the streets, hopelessly pleading for someone to hear my voice. Thank you, TNKR,” Hwang said. “I feel truly flattered. The fact you are standing with me is more than enough, but to be named as your new Fellow in Human Dignity truly solidifies my feeling of gratitude.”

Hwang was named a fellow at an event on December 11 marking the 47th anniversary of the hijacking. That same day, Hwang announced the launch of his new organization, “KAL Abductees’ Repatriation Committee” (“KAL기 납치피해자 송환 대책협의회”). Its purpose will be advocating with international institutions and governments that are state parties to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft (1970) to urge North Korea to return Hwang’s father and the other abductees.

“TNKR mainly focuses on helping North Korean refugees find their way and tell their stories, but we also have a special ‘How to Help North Koreans’ project that includes people with a deep connection to North Korea,” said Casey Lartigue Jr., International Director of TNKR. “We hope this appointment can bring attention to Mr. Hwang’s cause, motivate others to join his team, and demonstrate our commitment to his campaign.”

If you want more information about the #BringMyFatherHome project, please contact Casey Lartigue Jr. cjl@post.harvard.edu (English) and Youngmin Kwon friendsofhwang@gmail.com (Korean).

1969 KAL Abductee Family’s Association & TEACH NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES

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DailyNK: 47th anniversary of KAL hijacking (Korean language)

‘인권 불빛 밝혀라’…납북자 송환 염원 촛불행사 열려

황인철 ‘1969년 KAL기 납치피해자가족회’ 대표 “北납치 전세계 공감…더 이상 혼자 아냐”
김성환 기자  |  2016-12-11 14:50

2016-12-07 Stress is Thy Name

This man is under a lot of stress. Why? He is in charge of two events this weekend. He usually eats a moderate amount, but he INHALED half of this pizza even before the pizza man had left the office.

It is now 10 pm on a Wednesday night, and he is now focused on arranging many things. I guess it doesn’t help that I have threatened to fire him if there is a poor turnout this weekend. Which will mean no more late night pizzas…
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2016-12-04 #BringMyFatherhome Talk-show Concert

TNKR hosted a “Talk-Show Concert” featuring Hwang In-Cheol discussing the #BringMyFatherHome campaign. In all, we had 23 people in the room. That is a major accomplishment for an incident that occurred in 1969. Media can sometimes get interested enough to write about stories from decades ago, but they usually want a round number, like the first, fifth, 10th, 20th or 50th anniversary or some sexy breaking news. We weren’t sure that anyone would show up, but we planned it anyway.

The talk-show was hosted by Jieun Shin and Casey Lartigue. Youngmin Kwon translated everything, Karin and Sophie Hanna brought the cookies, Peter Daley, Amy Shin and Steve Chai recorded the event, Eunkoo Lee did else everything behind the scenes.

Mr. Hwang will be leading two events this weekend, at the TNKR office and at Sookmyung Women’s University. http://teachnorthkoreanrefugees.org/event/bringmyfatherhome-47th-anniversary/

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2016-11-29 Reporters and Meetings

Yesterday I didn’t leave the TNKR office after I arrived. We had several meetings and many things to do. The Christmas season is coming, but we have several events planned.

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Late night meeting with an international freelance reporter and photographer about a possible newspaper article.

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#BringMyFatherHome (Thailand speech)

Hwang In-Cheol joined TNKR earlier this year, with one goal in mind: To be able to share with the world the story of what happened to his father. In 1969, his father was kidnapped to North Korea when a North Korean agent hijacked a South Korean airplane. When he isn’t working or taking care of his own family, he is studying English with tutors in TNKR.

You can meet Mr. Hwang and him give his speech in English

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For more information, check the following links: