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2017-03-24 Be Nice to Your Favorite NGO

Meeting #1: South Korean professional visiting from Hong Kong. He wanted to find ways he could help from Hong Kong.

Meeting #2: Feedback session with a North Korean refugee who arrived in South Korea in December 2015 and joined our program December 2016 after waiting for a few months.

I imagine that some of my peers who are involved in advocacy, abstract or analytical work about North Korea rarely or never have NK refugees seeking them out to thank them. Some of their work may be valuable, but it isn’t the type of work that leads to the people who benefit from what they are doing to praise them.

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2017-03-22 Pam Davidson, TNKR volunteer forever!

Back in March 2013, “English Matching” began quietly. One of the biggest changes occurred when Cho Joo Yeon joined us. She brought us so much energy that for the first time, we could think about expanding as an organization. She recruited volunteers for us. One of them who has remained with us, no matter where she goes, is Pam Davidson.

Whenever we were holding a meeting, Pam would come from “The End of the World” to join the session. She was then living several hours away from Seoul, apparently on the last road before you would land in water to the south of South Korea. Matching sessions, speeches, special events. It didn’t matter, she would join, or apologize. She even attended one of our events in North Carolina back in 2015.

She was the first TNKR volunteer to donate to us. That was at a time that we didn’t have an office, website, phone, or future!

Pam returned to the USA a while ago, but she has remained one of our cheerleaders. She is always saying on Facebook that she wishes she could watch our events. I have held off on recording events until we had a team in place that could do it in a professional way. We are not an organization with Internet buzz, we haven’t had a marketing or social media team in place, so we might put a lot of effort into it but only get 800 clicks. When refugee speakers in our program are ready to present, we want to do it in a professional way that they can be proud of!

Finally, because of donations from supporters, we finally have enough money in the bank that we can think about an expansion I have had in mind for a long time: A TNKR video project. If we are successful, we will finally be able to present stories of TNKR speakers in a professional way. Unlike many people, Pam doesn’t just give praise! As soon as I told her that we were setting up a video project, she set up a fundraiser to support it!

Pam Davidson joined TNKR as a volunteer in early 2014. Read more

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2017-03-18 “Don’t Make Me Fly!”

This morning we coached a refugee who is getting prepared to give her first public speech in English when TNKR presents at the 13th KOTESOL Seoul conference. She was an English teacher in North Korea, but she lacks confidence to give a speech in English. So this morning we gave her feedback on her speech.

Step 1, she wrote her speech in Korean. We like it so the speakers deliver their speeches with as much of the original flavor as possible.

Step 2, TNKR volunteer translator Lee Saria translated it into English.

Step 3, I edited it.

Step 4, Eunkoo Lee and I gave her feedback today. She felt encouraged after the session. Before, she had been worried that we might want to cancel after hearing her speak. We tried to make it as realistic as possible by having her stand up to give the speech. Today I convinced Eunkoo Lee that we should buy a mic stand so that speakers can practice without holding the microphone and their speech text. She felt like she was flying her confidence was soaring.

Step 5: I will record the speech so she can follow the intonation and also use correct Texas pronunciation.

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2017-03-17 Inspired by Eunhee

Eunhee Park visited the TNKR office yesterday for classes with tutors Debbie Roberts and Kaina Ortiz. It is amazing to see her speaking in English. She joined TNKR almost two years ago at a basic level, and now she is laughing and joking in English! Those of you who haven’t read my Korea Times column about her, please do so, to see how incredible her story is. You can also read it in her own words at her fundraiser for TNKR.

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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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2017-03-12 Hottest Seat in Town (TNKR Matching 54)

At our speech contest on Feb 25, we squeezed 130 people into a room fit for 80, with some attendees at the back of the room having to stand. Yesterday at our Matching session, we squeezed 31 people into a room fit for 20. That means that the late-comers had to sit on the floor yesterday.

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2017-03-07 “I have responsibility in TNKR”

One key principle for TNKR: Students in the program must take charge. We put the burden on them to choose their tutors, to choose an appropriate number, to negotiate and book appointments with them, to come to class prepared.

It is a wonderful moment when a refugee admits he or she struggled with that initially, but now loves it! The challenge is convincing tutors to let the refugees stumble through English until they find their way, rather than translating or trying to baby them.

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2017-03-04/06 All Quiet at TNKR… Except for the Baby Invasion…

It was kind of a slow weekend for us, just one tutoring session, one meeting with a documentary team, one mini-orientation… it was so quiet… except when Eunkoo’s sisters visited with their children. 🙂

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TNKR Study reports, February 2017

Based on reports sent by TNKR’s volunteer tutors in 2017. Numbers are subject to change based on when additional reports are received.

2017 Tutors Refugees Sessions Minutes Hours Classes per day (Overall) Classes per refugee (monthly) Classes per tutor (monthly)
Jan 61 39 154 14,137 236 5.0 3.9 2.5
Feb 67 45 201 19,475 324.5 7.2 4.4 3.0

Since beginning in 2013, TNKR has had 264 refugees and 539 tutors study in the program. Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR) volunteer tutors sent in the following reports for February 2017 classes.

<2017 2 TNKR 수업 보고서>

*본 보고서는  TNKR  선생님들이 제출한 온라인 레포트를 바탕으로 작성되었습니다.

OVERALL

     

English Korean Statistic
TNKR Tutors submitting reports 온라인 레포트를 제출한  선생님 수 67명
Reports submitted by TNKR tutors 제출된 온라인 레포트 수 201수업
Total number of minutes tutored 2월 진행된 수업 19,475분
Total number of hours 2월 진행된 수업 324.5시간
Refugees studying in Feb (based on tutors who sent reports) 2월 한달 공부한 학생수 (선생님이 온라인제출한경우만) 45명
Average number of classes studied per refugee 한명 학생 평균 수업시간 4.4수업
Average number of classes taught per tutor 선생님 평균 가르친 수업시간 3.0 수업
Average number of classes taught per day 한명 학생 평균 수업일 7.1
At 50,000 won ($43.62 US), free tutoring 한 수업비용: 5만원    16.2 million won ($14,154)

<수업  많이 가르친 외국인 교사 순위>

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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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