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2020-11-26 Seriously having fun!

Yes, TNKR does serious work!
Yes, TNKR has fun!

Despite the virus, we have had a couple of busy fun days!

In this blog post:

* Eunhee Park gives speech to UN Society of London School of Economics
* TNKR co-founders meet with leaders of Korean foundation
* Interview with a researcher
* TNKR office life
* One year later!
* South Korean supporters gear up for Giving Tuesday Korea
* P.S.: I still love hoops

* Eunhee Park gives speech to UN Society of London School of Economics

Probably the highlight of the week was TNKR Development Coordinator Eunhee Park giving a speech to the UN Society of the London School of Economics. More than 40 people were consistently on the call.

* The Academic Chair welcomed everyone to the webinar.
* TNKR's cofounders Casey Lartigue and Eunkoo Lee gave an introduction.
* Eunhee gave a speech, then engaged in Q&A with the audience. Eunkoo and I added some context or additional information.

Zoom, of course, can't compare with in-person events, but it was still a nice time. But next time, I hope we can make it to London.

* * *

* TNKR co-founders meet with leaders of Korean foundation

We don't get out as much as we did before the virus began destroying the world, but today Eunkoo and I did meet with the leaders of a Korean foundation. They have been watching TNKR for a while, and finally are prepared to give TNKR seed money.

It takes time to build up trust with foundations and organizations giving out money. They don't want to deal with fly-by-night associations or organizations. In this case, many of our students have talked us up to the foundation leaders. 

The organization will be giving us some support next year, then if the relationship continues to grow, we could get more support in the future. Back in 2015 when we were trying to make TNKR into an official organization, I was told by a fan that we wouldn't be able to get support from Korean organizations. It has certainly been difficult, thankfully we were able to survive thanks to donors from around the world. And now we have strong enough of a reputation that even some Korean organizations are taking us seriously.

* * *

 Interview with a researcher

She had many many questions! It is good to have such interviews, it gives me a chance to answer questions that people have about TNKR. We will be having another interview tomorrow, I think it will be our third one this week.

* * *

TNKR office life

We are an official NGO, which means we have a lot of reporting to do. Sometimes, it feels that the paperwork is more important than the real work. When we receive funding from an organization, then we must report many things to them. 

It was a lot easier when we were poorer and relied on fundraising, but of course we could have less of an impact. The more money we raise from organizations and foundations, the more we can lose control of our mission, which is why it remains important for us to continue engaging in grassroots fundraising.

And then of course there is the mountain of paperwork dealing with government.

Despite that, we have a happy office atmosphere! Sharon works so hard sometimes that we must remind her to eat. It is joyful to have her with us. She started as a student in TNKR, began working with us part-time in 2018, and returned to us last year when we were able to raise enough money to bring her back.

* One year later

She joined us one year ago as a student. She is one of the wonderful and optimistic people that I have ever met, we are so lucky she is with us.

We met a few days ago to catch up on things because we haven't had a chance to meet in quite a while. TNKR recently made some internal changes, giving me the chance to meet more often with North Korean refugees. In our early freelance days, I could meet with North Korean refugees as a senior mentor. When we had to institutionalize operations as part of our application process to become an official NGO, we lost part of our soul. With recent internal changes we have made, I should be able to resume mentoring refugees. I expect TNKR to be more dynamic in 2021 as I work more closely with TNKR participants.

Meeting with her reminds me why I first started engaging with North Korean refugees!

* South Korean supporters gear up for Giving Tuesday Korea

Giving Tuesday is starting operations in South Korea, and TNKR is leading the effort. We will be kicking off Giving Tuesday Korea with an event at the Korea Press Center on 12/1.

We have many South Koreans who have joined the effort!

If things go well, then the event at the Press Center will be livestreamed over YouTube.

I am the one who came up with the idea of bringing Giving Tuesday to Korea, but the one getting it done is TNKR co-founder Eunkoo Lee! She will need a break after December 1st, so I hope the world will leave her alone after that.

* * *

* P.S.: I still love hoops

This morning my aunt Annette shared a photo of me from my younger days. I wrote a really long post about it. I'm the one with the really cool Afro, which I will be asking Santa to give to me this year.

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