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2020-07-24 Pandemic Tutoring

The question comes in various forms, as a request, a recommendation, a plea, an insinuation, an accusation, and sometimes (or most of the time) it is a demand and complaint at the same time.
In my in-box yesterday: "And I wanted to know if TNKR also transitioned to online services as any other educational institutions globally under the pandemic."
This was from a previous volunteer who is now in the USA, so I took more time to answer him, and will expand it now so I can share it with others asking.
As context, TNKR started as an informal group connecting North Korean refugees with volunteer tutors. In 2016, we became an official organization despite lacking funding. Mainly because we have limited resources we keep focused on our main mission, but try to expand based on the needs of North Korean refugee learners. We have developed a learner-centered organization that has a great reputation among North Korean refugees. That means we are not a social club or referral agency for pe…
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2020-07-24 Matching Donation ending

It has been said that there are three kinds of people in the world. * People who make things happen* People who watch things happen* People who ask, "Hey! What happened?"We had some people who made this Matching Donation Challenge happen! These are the people who will storm the bastille with you! Our fans at the University of Alabama issued TNKR a challenge--and TNKR met it!* Donor Participation! We had almost 500 donations overall. At times we had so many donation notifications coming through that our Alabama fans felt like they were under attack! As I stress--participation. So many people seem to be embarrassed about the amount they donate, but I make it clear when I donate, as I slam the money down on the table. "And you're lucky you got that!"* Fundraising! We raised about $42,000, a few donations are still pending, so please wait before declaring the final amount, I will announce that after we RECEIVE it.* Sharing! I sometimes hear people say they don't…

Jade Kim joins TNKR as Academic Coordinator

Hello, my name is Jade. I was recently hired as the Academic Coordinator of TNKR’s education programs. As a North Korean defector who has been studying in TNKR since 2015, I feel this is an incredible achievement and I appreciate the opportunity to work in TNKR.It is a remarkable thing for myself because I was not confident when I joined TNKR Track 1’s English language program. Now, five years later, it is possible to work in TNKR, communicating with people in English. I truly want to thank the volunteer tutors and the co-founders, Casey Lartigue and Eunkoo Lee.Through TNKR, I have studied with more than ten teachers who were enthusiastic and loving. They led me to be here by sharing their time with me and I am so thankful to them. I am so thankful for Casey and Eunkoo’s leadership in building such a wonderful organization helping so many people.In TNKR, in addition to learning how to speak English, I have also learned the importance of having compassion to help those who are around y…

2020-07-23 What If?

What if I had not checked my spam folder? The evening of Friday February 21, 2020, I checked my email spam folder and found an email from a tour group organizer. She wanted to know if the group could meet with TNKR a few days earlier. 

Because Korea was then struggling with COVID-19, the group had decided to cut the Korea trip short. Instead of meeting us later the next week, they wanted to know if we could meet them Monday morning. When I talked on the phone with the organizer, she said we had to have the meeting at 11 a.m. on Monday. Or not at all. 

We already had speakers confirmed, so it was going to be an inconvenience to make a last-minute change. I contacted TNKR co-founder Eunkoo Lee, she contacted the TNKR students. Within about an hour, everything was confirmed.

Then a short time later, the tour group organizer asked if we could change the schedule again, to meet Monday morning at 9 a.m. After that, they would hop on a plane to get the heck out of South Korea. So again, Eunkoo h…

2020-07-21 The greatest fundraiser in TNKR history

The greatest fundraiser in TNKR history is coming to an end!
Friday July 24th, our Matching Donation Challenge will come to an end. Almost 450 people have donated to this campaign. Our Matching Donor Angel confirmed with me about an hour ago that he will match all of the donations.
The main links are at the TNKR site: My Instagram page: Blog:

For individual link options:
* Facebook:

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* 5-2 Foundation:

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* GoFundMe:

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* US bank account:

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* PayPal

Fundraisers for the Matching Donation Challenge!

Thanks to the flurry of TNKR fans, volunteers and donors who set up fundraisers this week to support our Matching Donation Challenge!
1+1 Matching Donation Challenge (Casey Lartigue)
Yeonmi Park's fundraiser for TNKR (Yeonmi Park)
자선 단체를 위한 기부 캠페인에 함께 참여해주세요 (Shi Yong Choi)
Give the Gift of Education to North Korean refugees (Nadia)
1+1 Matching Donation Campaign (Eunhee Park)
Telling The Truth (Michael)
Empower North Korean Refugees (Joanne)
21st Birthday Matching Donation Challenge for TNKR (Brooke Chong)…

TNKR partnership with public charter school in the USA

Why would a public charter school educating low-income black students in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, want to partner with a grassroots start-up non-profit in South Korea providing education opportunities for North Korean refugees? And vice-versa?

Tomorrow at 3 a.m. Korea time, I will be leading a brainstorming discussion on Zoom exploring the possible partnership between the unlikely allies. The school is much larger than TNKR, they have many reasons NOT to have such a partnership.

Let's see if we can brainstorm some opportunities for a partnership with the school, and even examine if this partnership would be worth pursuing.

If there is interest in this initiative, I would be delighted to have another call at a reasonable time for people in South Korea.

The link is here at Facebook as well as our main page.

Here's the Zoom link for the 3 am call I…