Charity concert to raise fund for NK defectors
by John Max Redmond
The Korea Times
An NGO supporting North Korean refugees is presenting a charity concert titled "2016 Hold Hands, Love Concert" at the Seocho Hanwoori Rehabilitation Center in southern Seoul, Saturday.
The concert run by (TNKR) Teach North Korean Refugees aims to raise funds and awareness for the education of North Korean refugees in the South. It features cellist BoumJun Bae, gayageum (12-string zither) player Bae Ji-soo, orchestral music from the Hanwoori Eins Baum Chamber and musical actress Kim Na-hee (김나희).
"We have been working more closely with refugees who are seeking to tell their stories to the world," said Casey Lartigue Jr., co-founder of TNKR.
"Last August we had a matching session with several refugees who let me know they have things to say in English. In addition to engaging in more public speaking, three are hoping to pen memoirs."
Most recently, Lartigue and several refugees addressed U.S. military members for the first time, as they discussed their escape from North Korea, adapting to life both here and in the U.S., life in the North Korea military and the poor state of healthcare in the North.
"We are also strengthening English language study options in our program," Lartigue said.
TNKR's tutors have been devising a curriculum for refugees seeking structured instruction, Lartigue said. Refugees can customize their own education programs according to their own needs, but will also soon have the option to follow a set curriculum.
"So far we have focused on preparing refugees for academic and employment opportunities," Lartigue said. "Now we are organizing to connect them with those opportunities. They enjoy studying, but actual opportunities will motivate them even more."
Since March 2013, TNKR has been organizing a community of volunteer tutors, staff, mentors, coaches and specialists to help North Korean refugees adjust to living in South Korea. More than 250 North Korean refugees have studied with and been mentored by more than 450 volunteers.
The group was established under the leadership of Lartigue and vice director Eunkoo Lee.
The concert is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with entrance fees of 10,000 won for students, 20,000 won for TNKR volunteers and students and 30,000 won general admission.
TNKR will have guides from exit 4 of Nambu Bus Terminal Station on Line 3 ready to escort guests to the location.
Visit teachnorthkoreanrefugees.org/event/tnkr-concert for more information.