English speech contest set for NK refugees (The Korea Times, 2/25/15)

English speech contest set for NK refugees 

By John Redmond

A volunteer group, Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR), will host an English speech contest for North Korean refugees at Euljiro-dong Community Center in Seoul, Saturday.

At the event, 10 North Korean refugees who are students and alumni of the (TNKR) project will give speeches in English, answering the question “How can you help North Koreans?”

The participants are members of TNKR’s Track 1 “Finding My Own Way” and Track 2 “Telling My Own Story,” parts of the project co-founded in early 2013 by South Korean Lee Eun-koo and American Casey Lartigue, Jr.

Started in March 2013, TNKR has regular monthly sessions. It has so far held 24 sessions ― 22 in English and one in Spanish. The program boasts 156 refugees with 216 volunteers.

“Refugees can study English with as many tutors as they can handle. Park Yeon-mi was in the project last year, she had 18 tutors in eight months,” said Lartigue, Jr. in an email interview.

The prizes will comprise a grand prize of 1 million won, a second place prize with 500,000 won ($450), a third place prize of 100,000 won and an honorable mention prize with 50,000 won.

Co- director, Lartigue Jr., a fellow of Atlas Network since 2013, lives in South Korea where he is the director for international relations for Freedom Factory Co. In addition, he is the international adviser to the Mulmangcho School (for adolescent North Korean refugees) in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province.

The contest will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 28 and 10,000-won donations are suggested.

To get to the Euljiro-dong Community Center, leave Euljiro 3-ga Subway Station at exit 3. Turn right at the first alley (about five seconds after you exit the subway and turn left at the first small street and the center will be on your left across the street, you will see Staz Hotel.

To attend the contest or join TNKR as a volunteer English tutor or speech coach, email TNKR.secretary@gmail.com. Pay for tickets at Woori Bank account number 1006-201-405817 (account name TNKR).

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/317168611817513/.

jan 24 group photo
Members of Teach North Korean Refugees pose for a picture with the volunteer group’s co-founder Casey Lartigue, Jr., third from left on the front row, in the Mulmangcho Human Rights Institute in Bangbae-dong, southern Seoul, Jan. 27. / Courtesy of Casey Lartigue Jr.