Teach North Korean Refugees
" Who pays for study sessions?" That question is asked by many tutors and students joining TNKR for the first time.
* Some of the refugees have told us "I have no extra money." And we know that some of them are trying to save money either to help relatives still in North Korea or even to save up enough to rescue relatives, friends or other loved ones still in North Korea. Knowing their situations, we have done our best to keep TNKR tuition-free for refugees.
* Some tutors are in debt from college. One told me, "Casey, I'm $60K in debt, but I will do my best." This is on top of them already engaging in free tutoring, so we hate it when they must spend money in addition to volunteering.
One of our previous volunteers said people can "give a little or a latte." She's right!
Refugees and tutors in our program can study at business centers or cafes, but they can expect to pay at least 10,000 won per session. Some tutors have told us that they had to cut back on tutoring sessions with refugees not because of a lack of time or willingness, but because of the cost (transportation, costs of booking rooms).
At the most we can handle one or two study sessions at a time, but because we lack full-time paid staff, it is hard to keep the office open for study sessions or to accept appointments in advance. And we often need to use the office for our internal meetings and staff.
TNKR is now taking a big step: Converting our current office into a study center for refugees.
We hope to reserve the office for study sessions that can be held most of the day. To make this happen, we will be moving our operations into the office of a partner organization. It won't be as comfortable for our volunteer staff, we will lose some of our autonomy, but this can provide more opportunities for refugees and tutors to be able to study without cost being an issue for them.
You can help by becoming a monthly donor. We hope to have at least 100 monthly donors donating at least 10,000 won each (about $9) a month.
At cafes, TNKR students and tutors must battle loud music, loud customers, plus it can get crowded at times, and sometimes it is hard to get a good seat. Plus, it isn't a professional situation for refugees to be studying English, especially those who are studying it for the first time.
At business centers, they must pay at 10,000 won per session, leading back to the problems stated above.
* Study rooms are usually a cheaper alternative, but they are built either to be really quiet situations or there is a problem with being pushed out for the next customers.
* Refugees sometimes are embarrassed about beginning their journey into the world of English and would prefer not to be studying in open settings.
* Refugees getting help with public speeches sometimes discuss sensitive topics that may be uncomfortable discussing in a cafe or another open space.
We would like to get away from these problems by having TNKR students and tutors meet to study at our Study Center. It will give us a better chance to get to know them, they will feel better connected to TNKR, and they can study in a quiet study center expecting them. You can give a little or a latte. :-)
Donations to this project can be made anonymously and the amount you give won't be posted online, so a monthly donation can help us provide a safe space for refugees to study.
If you donate 150,000 Korean Won, you will receive a copy of Sungju Lee’s book, “Every Falling Star.” He will sign it, and write a personal message of your choice in the book. We will also mail the book anywhere in the world. After making the donation, please email Dave Fry to let him know what message you want in the book, and where to mail the book. We will be shipping out books twice a month on, or around the 15th of the month, and on, or around the last day of the month.
For any questions, please email Dave Fry, Assistant Director of TNKR:
You can donate via PayPal, the TNKR fund or the TNKR bank account.
North Korean refugee Jihyun Park: "One program that gave me hope was Teach North Korean Refugees in Seoul. I am proud to have been a student and now to be collaborating with it to bring more opportunities to refugees in the UK and around the world."
292 North Korean refugees have studied in Teach North Korean Refugees with 608 volunteer tutors and coaches. North Korean refugees in the UK have asked TNKR if we could connect them with volunteer tutors.
1) TNKR is recruiting volunteer tutors to help NK refugees in New Malden and parts of London that aren't far from it (the refugees already have had some nice Skype options, they are hoping for face-to-face study time now).
2) We will be holding an English language speech contest in London on Saturday October 21, the theme will be "That Moment: My escape from North Korea." We hope this contest will raise awareness about them in the U.K., and bring more volunteers to help them.
Here's a Korea Times column by TNKR co-founder Casey Lartigue explaining how this project started.
Please help our effort to help NK refugees in the UK by making a donation. Other donation options including direct donations to the TNKR bank account, PayPal, 501(c)3 deductions, CMS and others are here.
Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR) is a nonprofit organization located in Seoul, South Korea, dedicated to helping refugees adjust to living outside of North Korea. TNKR aims to assist North Korean refugees in preparing for their future and transitioning to life outside North Korea by providing them with free English learning opportunities. Since its establishment in 2013, the organization has provided free education to more than 260 refugees who are now building their own future in a free world.
Volunteer today and help us make a difference in the refugee community. TNKR volunteers keep education programs free for refugees by organizing fundraisers, host refugee-speaking contests and events, and participate in humanitarian conferences.
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