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TNKR English Speech Contest #7: My Little Big Heroes

[특파원 리포트] 탈북자 영어 말하기 대회…갈고 닦은 영어 실력 맘껏 발휘 by 김현진.
(reposted by Korean Headline News)
By John Max Redmond
The Korea Times
Elizabeth Shim
United Press International
Join the Teach North Korean Refugees Book Club



English Speech Contest #7

Teach North Korean Refugees will be holding its 7th English speech contest on February 24, 2018 from 2 pm at the Kim and Shin law firm near Myeongdong station (line 4).

7 North Korean refugees have been selected to give speeches in English.

Each speaker will have up to 10 minutes, addressing the theme, “My ‘Little Big’ Heroes.” Refugees applied for the contest by submitting short videos explaining their speeches. They are planning to discuss their ‘little big heroes’ they knew in North Korea, or met while they were escaping through or living in China, or special people they have met as they settled down in South Korea or other countries.

The speeches are moving and promise to open your eyes up to the struggles, experiences and challenges facing North Korean refugees. You will see even small support from people from around the world can encourage them as they make their way in the world outside of North Korea.

To join this uplifting event, see the payment details below:


Payment option 1: Eventbrite

Volunteers, donors and fundraisers: $10, bring one friend for free.

General admission: $15


Payment option 2: Bank transfer

Volunteers, donors and fundraisers: 10,000 won, bring one friend for free.

General admission: 15,000 won

-Bank account: (Woori Bank) 1005-802-774890

-Name on account: 티엔케이알(TNKR)

Email CJL@alumni.harvard.edu to have your RSVP confirmed


Payment option 3: PayPal 

Volunteers, donors and fundraisers: $12, bring one friend for free

General admission: $17 at Paypal https://www.paypal.me/loveTNKR


Support this contest by making a donation to our “Matching donation” opportunity.

Previous speech contest winners:

Contest 1, February 28, 2015: Sungju Lee, author of the memoir, “Every Falling Star.”

Contest 2, August 22, 2015: Sehyek Oh, North Korean refugee activist

Contest 3, February 27, 2016: Eunsun Kim, author of “A Thousand Miles to Freedom.”

Contest 4, August 20, 2016: Chulman Choi, entrepreneur

Contest 5, February 25, 2017: Cherie Yang, TV personality

Contest 6, August 26, 2017: Youngmi Park, college student

Contest 7, February 24, 2018: ?


Step by step directions:


(Myeongdong exit 4, walk straight about two minutes, State Tower (Namsan) will be on your left.

English map


Korean map



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2017-08-26 TNKR’s 6th English Speech Contest, “A Woman is a Flower: The Lives of North Korean Women.”

So many great stories, wonderful people, fantastic feelings at yesterday’s 6th TNKR English speech contest.

The theme of the contest: “A Woman is a Flower: The Lives of North Korean Women.”

Support TNKR

Random moments and observations from the contest:

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2017-06-25 Speech Coach Orientation & Open House

Today is the 67th anniversary of the Korean War starting. We marked the occasion at TNKR by holding two planning sessions to help TNKR become more effective at helping North Korean refugees.

  • At 2 pm, we held a Speech Coach orientation for coaches who will be helping refugees entering TNKR’s 6th English speech contest. Tomorrow I should be holding one or two more orientation sessions for applicants who couldn’t make it today. If they all get their applications completed then we can start matching them together.
  • At 3:30 pm, we held an Open House session to discuss ways for applicants to get more involved with TNKR. It was one of our most productive sessions. If just half of the participants follow through then you can expect some big changes within TNKR!

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2017-06-19/21 Be a magnet

Years ago a former supervisor of mine gave me a fantastic compliment. He told me that I was an energy center. He added: “Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad, but there is always SOMETHING going on around you. You seem to be a magnet.”

These days, that SOMETHING is Teach North Korean Refugees. We are attracting volunteers, donors, fans, media. It has gotten to the point that we have staff volunteers rotating shifts in the office because we don’t have enough space to accommodate them all at the same time. I am amazed that we get so much done with such a limited budget and office space.

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2017-03-16 Not everyone at McDonalds cooks hamburgers…

Something I hear very often: “Teach North Korean Refugees means that only teachers can volunteer at TNKR, right?” Another version: “But I’m not a teacher. Can I volunteer?” They are usually surprised to learn they can do things other than tutoring. As I often say in speeches: “Not everyone at KFC kills chickens. There are drivers, accountants, marketing specialists, salesmen, many other positions.”

Join us for TNKR’s Open House on April 1 to learn about many ways you can get involved.

Such as:

Tony is a professor in the USA teaching speech and communication. He has volunteered to analyze the speeches of refugees. He was at TNKR today for more than 7 hours, spending quite a bit of it analyzing the speeches from TNKR’s English speech contest. So much detail, I have already ordered him to avoid critiquing my speeches. As I told him: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

By the way, if you would like some nice Korean stickers, Tony will send them to you, if you donate at least 10,000 won to TNKR.

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탈북민들, 북한 탈출하게 된 사연 영어로 나눠

탈북민들, 북한 탈출하게 된 사연 영어로 나눠

2017-02-27 : 19:21

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2017-03-03 Hello, Konglish!

I’m pleased to announce that the next TNKR English speech contest will be held on August 26, 2017, from 2-5 pm. We had a meeting with our contact at the law firm of Shin and Kim. We discussed both the great and terrible things that happened at the most recent contest. We also had a visitor from the USA to talk shop and one study session at the office.

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2017-02-21 People are everywhere at TNKR!

Sometimes people ask me what we would do if we had more money. Somehow, even though we do so much with so little money, I guess they think we would not know how to spend new money?

The answer is easy. Hire staff. Get a bigger office with numerous classrooms. I have other ideas, but those would come after we stabilized the organization.

Today is one of those days that I am reminded about our lack of space. As Maaike said, “Wow, there are people everywhere.”

Unfortunately, those people don’t know how to WHISPER. And that’s a problem when you have three classes simultaneously, phone calls, media, guests dropping by, staff working at the same time…


TNKR Special Ambassador Eunhee Park with tutor Kaina. I had no idea what Eunhee was doing, so this was my LOL moment of the afternoon after I saw the photo!

Here is Eunhee’s fundraiser for TNKR. Yes, I know people rarely donate when I link the fundraiser, but it is still important to acknowledge when students and volunteers take an extra step to try to help TNKR become sustainable.


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2017-02-20 Blast from the past

We were visited yesterday by one of the first refugees to study in TNKR! She has remained a friend of TNKR, and of course I love her because she constantly praises me as a hero of NK refugees. Well, that’s the official reason I love her.

The unofficial reason is that she always says I am so handsome. 🙂

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