Today’s big events and activities at TNKR:
- PARTNERSHIP: The big news today is that TNKR finalized the details of a partnership that we will be announcing on Tuesday during an MOU signing ceremony. This will be absolutely fantastic for refugees studying in TNKR. We are thankful that a South Korean organization that is much larger than ours has found us and wanted to partner with us. Stay tuned! And separate of that, we had a second meeting about another possible partnership, but that one will take a bit more time.
- MEDIA: Another day, another reporter at the TNKR office. This time, the reporter recorded TNKR senior fellow Tony Docan-Morgan having a coaching session with a North Korean refugee who will become internationally known. We have already seen her improve really quickly, it will be impossible to stop her once she has sharpened her English.
- TUTORING: We had a tutoring session with one of our tutors who joined us last month but has had many tutoring sessions already. I love it that she and her student she tutored today make it a point to meet at our office. One day when TNKR is a large organization then we will be able to hold more study sessions.
- PUBLIC SPEAKING: Scott gave another speech. We weren’t able to make it, but I’m sure he was great. He has an incredible story and I can see how much he has sharpened his public speaking in the last couple of months.
- ACTIVISM: We couldn’t make it, but I heard that Hwang In-Cheol and Youngmin Kwon had a great meeting getting prepared for a press briefing at the Press Club in Seoul.
- OUTREACH: TNKR co-founders Casey Lartigue and Eunkoo Lee, and TNKR Senior Fellow Tony Docan-Morgan will be speaking at the 2018 Korean Association for Multicultural Education International Conference on May 24 from 4:20 pm at Korea University.
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The non-profit organization Teach North Korean Refugees held its 74th Language Matching session yesterday. We had 11 North Korean refugees and 18 tutors participate (1 tutor canceled and another was a no-show). The session started at 2 pm–the first refugee to register for the session arrived at our office at 9:50 a.m. That’s right, slightly more than 4 hours in advance!
Why was she so early? Simple! First-come, first-choose! The refugees get to choose their tutors based on when they arrive to the session. So the refugee who arrived first was able to choose first. She is a returning student with us who first joined us in 2015 at the ABC level.
The others were so disappointed, especially the ones arriving three hours early who found out they were already sixth and seventh in line.
One of TNKR’s underlying goals is to build a community of support around North Korean refugees. We do this by connecting them with volunteer tutors and coaches.
What happens when a community rallies around TNKR? That’s what it felt like at the Hidden Cellar when TNKR fans Sandra Durinick and Amanda Sheffy hosted a fundraiser for us last night. They rounded up a team that included Samantha Murphy, Kim Noriko Durinick, Jamila Charles, Reza Carr, Jay Wiltz, Hannah Ruppert, Renee Dupuis, Tom Moran, Jamie Kembrey, 송인환 and Hyeona Hong. (Thanks to Kim Noriko Durinick for adding the names.)
I should have said more about TNKR, but my entire speech was thanking everyone. TNKR volunteers, our new fans, everyone rallying around our humble project helping North Korean refugees.
It was a special night in TNKR history, one that we will never forget. In all, the team raised more than 1 million won. It was our special night, because we won an additional 340,000 won in a final raffle—I pulled the number of TNKR Academic Coordinator Janice Kim. She promptly donated the money—I can’t promise that I would have donated it if I had pulled my own number!
Today we were back to the grindstone, holding two orientation sessions for incoming tutors and students. It was tough, doing this on a Sunday, after working at TNKR for every day so far this year. But we were all walking on air after last night’s wonderful fundraiser.
TNKR’s Million Won Fundraising Club
Dave Fry, TNKR Assistant Director and tutor, “Help me help North Korean Refugees“
Youngmin Kwon, Academic Adviser and tutor, “Support North Korean Refugees & Human Rights!“
Janice Kim. Academic Coordinator and tutor, “Janice’s 30th Birthday Fundraiser for TNKR!“
Spencer Kim, Intern Coordinator and tutor, “Fund TNKR’s Future“
Renee Cummins, November 2016 party
Sandra Durinick & Manda Sheffy, January 2018 fundraiser
How often do you have a meeting, with both sides declaring, “I’m so inspired by you!”
It happened last night, when I met Rola Brentlin (recommended to me by Nigel Ashford and Kerry Halferty Hardy) during her short trip to Korea. She posted on Facebook that she was inspired to learn about TNKR. In my case, I was inspired that she took such an interest in TNKR, and then took that interest to the next level! She wants to help TNKR with funding!
“Inspiring meeting with Casey Lartigue Jr. who runs an organisation helping North Korean refugees. I would very much like to help them with funding, any ideas for how we could raise some funds for this important work is welcome!”
We now have more than 60 volunteers and fans who have set up fundraisers. Recently we have had well-connected people express interest in helping us build up TNKR. That is always inspiring!
TNKR was one of the beneficiary organizations of the “Korea’s Rivers Cross Country Cycling Road Tour.” The riders raised 1 million won to be split between two organizations.
I had the honor of handing out awards to riders and being treated like a VIP.
It was such a busy day, I regret that I had to leave early to get to another event. I felt like a politician showing up, shaking hands, taking photos, then rushing off to another event…
Thanks to volunteers coming together to raise money, TNKR can pay its rent and cover basic necessities! One day we may even be a sustainable organization, we have been building a community of support around NK refugees. Recognizing our unconventional approach of focusing on 1:1 tutoring rather than workshops or glamorous fact-finding trips abroad, we realized that we must rely on our volunteers and others who support our work, not big companies or goverment.
So far this year, 95 tutors and 60 refugees have joined TNKR. We strongly recommend that all tutors set up a fundraiser on our new crowd-funding website. We now have 4 months of results.
Based on entry into TNKR, here’s how our volunteers and fans have done at fundraising this year:
I’m proud to announce that 5 North Korean refugees in TNKR have joined our effort to secure a 4 million won matching grant gift! Our challenge? Raise 4 million (about $3,500) won by June 15, then we get the 4 million won gift. So every donation really counts.
They grew up in a country with virtually no such thing as civil society or NGOs engaged in fundraising. Now they are raising money for TNKR, learning the value of civil society.
Donate to the following fundraisers set up by TNKR students, the donations will be doubled!
Click the names below to view each refugee’s fundraiser (in Korean and English):
5) Jun, I Love TNKR
Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR) is a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing free English learning opportunities to North Korean refugees. For more information, take a look at our About page.
TNKR’s registration number with the Seoul City Government: 143-82-65155
US Tax ID: 82-2591748
Email: Please use this form
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There are no upcoming events at this time.