I am not, nor have I ever been, a student at the University of Michigan. I joined last night anyway and had a great time. Many of the attendees expressed interest in TNKR, and two who are musicians have agreed to perform at a charity benefit for TNKR. Stay tuned!

Support TNKR!

I’m not an alum, but I was in the front row!
Read more

TNKR presented at the 2018 Korean Association for Multicultural Education (KAME). I introduced about TNKR, then TNKR co-founder Eunkoo Lee discussed feedback she has received from refugees in TNKR. One of our coaches, Dongkeun Han, was in the audience, so I asked him to come to the microphone.

Missing was TNKR Senior Fellow Tony Docan-Morgan, who drafted the paper and PPT, but wasn’t able to join us.

We were on a great panel, Changes from North Korea and Voices from North Korean Defectors:

  • Analysis of NK’s Social Change & the Role of NGOs in Education, Sokeel Park (LiNK: Liberty in North Korea, Korea)
  • Strength of Integration, John Chon (Daum School, Korea)
  • Social and Economic Integration of North Korean Defectors, Hanna Song (NKDB: Database Center for North Korean Human Rights)
  • “Hello, Konglish!” North Korean Refugees Learning English to Adjust to Life Outside of North Korea, Casey Lartigue Jr., Eunkoo Lee (TNKR: Teach North Korean Refugees, Korea), Tony Docan-Morgan (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse USA)
  • Becoming Bridge Figures: Reimagining the Valued Citizenship in the Future Unified Korean Peninsula through Young North Korean Migrants’ Narratives, Stella Mi Cheong Cheong (University College London, UK)

Read more

Tonight Eunkoo Lee, Anna Tsoi and I got prepared for this Saturday’s Book Sale, moving a lot of books from our small study room to the large meeting room. Thankfully Anna and Eunkoo talked on Saturday at the Global Leadership Forum, Anna asked if there is anything she could help us with.

We hope the book sale will be successful on Saturday. Thanks first of all to Anne Marie for donating many books to get this started. @Cami next came through donating books, that made us feel more confident that we would have enough books to hold a book sale. TNKR volunteer and donor Dondi Lyons then donated books, that made sure that we had enough for a book sale.

Youngmin Kwon has made at least two trips to pick up books. As always, he is always ready to do what he can to help TNKR.

Thanks to Bruce EJ Lee for driving me back to the TNKR office the day I went to pick up books from Anne.

It took several people working together to make this happen, these events don’t happen on their own.


A few years ago, people would ask me if they could donate things to TNKR. At that time, we didn’t have an office, so it was like asking a man running down the street if he wanted a piano to push down the street as he ran numerous errands. We now have an office so we can accept donations, at least short-term.

The books will be priced from 1,000 to 5,000 won.

Noon-2 pm, refugees only.

2-4 pm, open to the public.

4-5 pm, all you can carry for 10,000 won.

5-5:15 pm: Quick, grab whatever you can for 5,000 won.

(BYOB) Bring your own box!

Read more

Monday May 7 is a holiday in South Korea. For most normal people, that meant many people went traveling over the weekend to take advantage of the three-day weekend. But for TNKR, a three-day weekend meant a weekend of work!

  • Speech by an NK refugee
  • 3 hour discussion with a group visiting from the USA.
  • Magazine interview with TNKR Special Ambassador Ken Eom.
  • Meeting forming an Event Planning Team.
  • Interview with a refugee joining TNKR.
  • Visit from an NK refugee.
  • NK refugee starting her first day in the TNKR office.
  • Tutoring session.
  • Visit from a model who loves TNKR.
  • Visit from a TNKR fan.
  •  Went to pick up four boxes of books from a TNKR fan.


Support TNKR

Read more

Thank you to the TNKR volunteers and fans who posted their fundraisers today!

Erin Sylvester, Help Empower North Korean Refugees with Erin

Jeffrey Villa, Help North Korean refugees learn English!

Janice Kim, Help NK Refugee Moms Learn English for Free!

Tony Docan-Morgan, I’ll Mail You Korean Stickers!

Simon Thyer, TNKR Moving Again

Marco John, North Korean Refugees Need Your Support 

Kayla Shea, Help North Korean refugees learn English

Vanessa and Larah, Lending Ears: Women Supporting TNKR

Dondi Lyons, 58.5, that’s a thing, right?

Eunkoo Lee, TNKR is my new life

Marie Boes, Get a handwritten postcard from Korea!

KC, Casey Lartigue’s Fundraiser for TNKR


TNKR held its 72nd language Matching session yesterday March 24. We have now had more than 1000 people participate in this volunteer project–more than 350 refugees, almost 800 volunteer tutors and coaches. Matching session #71 was the week before.

It means that this month, we had two Matching sessions with 32 tutors and 19 refugees. That is quite a lot for one month. Now comes the real work, with studying by refugees, teaching by tutors, and monitoring by our staff. This is in addition to keeping up with the previous groups.

These two groups are helping to build TNKR in a different way: 28 of the tutors have either become monthly donors or set up their own fundraisers. We have never had such active participation from volunteers. Some even griped about us asking them to do more than tutoring.

Most of the tutors are living in Seoul, but we do have one tutor coming from Gwangju to tutor. The week before, it was a tutor coming from Busan.

Special thanks to Janice Kim, TNKR Academic Coordinator, and TNKR co-founder Eunkoo Lee, for working together so well in managing the process so that we could have so many volunteers and refugees join us in one month. We have been trying to clear the long waiting list of refugees while also improving our quality control.

Support TNKR:
Create your own fundraiser


Read more

I was fortunate enough to attend a local KOTESOL chapter fall event in Daejeon and hear a message from Eunkoo Lee and Casey Latrigue, co-founders of the Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR) organization. TNKR is a life-changing program that raises money and helps North Koreans, who are able to escape the country, adjust to life in a democracy and tell their stories as a form of healing.

Check her blog for the rest of the post.




The following is the first blog post at the Korea Times by Casey Lartigue Jr.. The post reveals the New Year’s resolutions of three North Korean refugees.

Jihyun Park, a NK refugee and a widely known Human Right’s Activist in the UK, says there were no personal wishes or dreams when a New Year started in NK. In the 1990’s the New Year’s custom of sharing food and giving, disappeared because of the famine.
Her dream now is to help free her people from the oppression inflicted by the Kim regime.

Eunhee Park, remembers having no New Year’s resolutions in NK. She was just not thinking about tomorrow, but about having food for today. Her New Year’s resolution for the coming year is to settle down and keep improving her English and to live a happy life.

The third NK refugee stated that she had only one resolution for the New Year, and it was “to escape the hell” of NK.

In 2017, Sujin stated that she was struggling until she found TNKR (Teach North Korean Refugees). In 2018, she hopes to continue to learn English through their well known English teaching program.

In conclusion, I believe that TNKR’s New Year’s resolution is to help NK refugees in 2018, by teaching or helping them to improve their English, in order to better their lives.

More than a year ago, I began writing summaries on fb attached to the links of my dedicated friends at TNKR (Teach North Korean Refugees). This all-volunteer organization based In Seoul, Korea, teaches NK refugees English. In learning English, it offers those individuals from the darkest corner of the world, an opportunity to succeed in South Korea, a community that requires English in order for them to fully enjoy their newfound freedom.

In most cases, the links involve reading articles that at times are lengthy. In an attempt to raise awareness of the excellent English teaching program offered by TNKR, the group must constantly attempt to raise funds in order to sustain the NGO. Funds are their only source of income.

My goal has been to offer Cliff Note versions of lengthy articles to those who have chosen to disregard the detail of the original text.

Mr. Casey Lartigue Jr., along with Eunkoo Lee, co-founded TNKR. This versatile man along with his many other activities, writes a column for the Korea Times. I have enjoyed reading his excellent column along with the many posts telling about the activities that make the teaching program of TNKR a highly sought after organization by the refugees. “They find TNKR, TNKR does not find them”.

Director Lartigue states that he chooses to read my Cliff Note versions of his column, saying that many times he has forgotten much of the content. He feels that only his Editor and I read his articles in detail.