2015-07-22 North Korean Defectors’ Concern (HK)

I have messaged with Owen Lau of 脫北者關注組 North Korean Defectors Concern for at least 2 years, but today was the first time for us to meet in person. He has a wonderful volunteer group based in Hong Kong. Despite lacking resources, his organization gets things done.
NKDC will be hosting a film festival in Hong Kong highlighting movies about North Koreans from (Augut 8-10 or so).

TNKR Testimonials

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2017-07-18 World-famous among refugees

We were visited today by four different NK refugees having feedback and orientation sessions with TNKR National Director Eunkoo Lee. One reason that TNKR is better than ever is that we have more staffers committing themselves to TNKR. And that starts with Eunkoo! She quit her paid job earlier this year to focus on TNKR.

In my case, what a great feeling it was to have the refugees visiting talk about how great I am. One of the refugees said she has watched every video in the TKNR YouTube channel. Another said she is one of my fans. And other testimonials that would have made an average man blush.


Media coverage of Hansarang Rural Cultural Foundation awards ceremony

2017-03-16 You Can’t Have Everything…

I love it when TNKR tutors and students study together at TNKR’s humble office.

  • Tutors feel more connected to the program.
  • Refugees are more likely to give us feedback when they see us more often.
  • We have a better understanding of the needs of the students.
  • Tutors are also more likely to share concerns as well as successes.

Everything is great, except for the fact that we don’t have enough space. There’s an old saying, “You can’t have everything.” As comedian Steven Wright later added: “Where would you put it?”

We have more students and tutors coming to the office, but where will we put them?




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2017-03-09 My kind of meetings!

Eunkoo Lee is now volunteering at the TNKR office full-time. Sounds great, but I expected to have some conflicts. I’m a leaf floating in the wind, she likes structure. She had a couple of staff meetings, but I was so uncooperative and grumpy that she finally decided to cancel regularly scheduled staff meetings. I like meetings to get something done, not a meeting with a checklist of items that we will get done later. If we need to talk about something, then let’s talk about it! But not wait for the staff meeting at 1 pm on Monday.

Some dense people might conclude I’m saying I’m against meetings, but that’s not true. I’m against meetings for the sake of having meetings, and especially meetings that don’t get anything done except to develop great plans for future meetings.

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2017-02-23 “Please, make us pay”

How often do people say: Please, charge me money.

Three weeks ago, Eunkoo Lee quit her paid job in order to volunteer at TNKR full-time. That means that she now more time to counsel and meet with refugees. Before, she was holding down a full-time job while also trying to be co-director at TNKR. So she can get more feedback from refugees. One thing she has been hearing from many of them: We should charge refugees a membership fee.

They are aware of our failed strategy of attracting support from business, individuals, volunteers.


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2017-01-17 TNKR at the DMZ

The Asia Leadership Trek invited me to join for a trip to the DMZ. It was a surprising moment when the US military person giving us a special tour recognized me. He he loves the work that TNKR does. He also said that with the use of facial recognition, the North Korean soldiers may be able to identify me.

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2016-12-23: Five hours of interviews!

We had a lovely reporter visit the TNKR office to conduct more than five hours of interviews:

  • 2 tutors
  • 2 refugee ambassadors
  • 1 assistant academic adviser
  • 2 co-directors

Would you be surprised to learn that she is a great listener?

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2016-12-19 #BringMyFatherHome 47th anniversary (and counting)

Comment and video by Karin Hanna, TNKR board member and an executive member of a new organization being started by Hwang In-Cheol:

This month we had 3 events related to the ‘Bring my father home case’.

I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Hwang’s wonderful wife and one of his 3 lovely and talented daughters, who finished the event by playing the meaningful song 가고파 “ka go pa” on her violin. All I wish for this family is to find their peace and happiness and not having to stand alone to fight for justice.

Mr. Hwang had no help for many years, only his family stood with him. TNKR, which as an NGO has enough of its own challenges and struggles, however stood up and offered support through volunteers. We have become a strong team of friends all over the world!

Thanks for reading this, keep us in your minds and don’t turn your back to this just by saying it’s an “old story”. It is only old because it has been neglected for so many years! We also shouldn’t be afraid of speaking our minds! As WE are lucky to live in a free world!

Enjoy the short video of photo memories…and thanks to all my friends who also supported Mr. Hwang but aren’t tagged. He is happy and greatful about every single one of you.

2016-12-15 Eunkoo’s fundraising campaign

(TNKR) Teach North Korean Refugees Crowd-sourcing Manager Briana Reha-Klenske is suddenly getting busy!

* Eunkoo Lee has set up an online fundraiser, raising $160 in the first 24 hours!

*Two other tutors have expressed interest in doing so.

* According to a conference call I was on a few days ago, about 31 percent of all giving is done in the month of December.

* More than 60% of online giving is done after people see a friend or relative donate. It would be great to have more online fundraisers set up during the month of December. Check with me or Briana if you would like to set up an online fundraiser for TNKR.