Back when Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR) first started in 2013, we weren’t very organized. But we have had some positive signs:
* After a few months, we heard that refugees who had been in the project were referring friends to us.
* Refugees began to return to us.
The latest development that we just heard about:
* Another South Korean has recommended TNKR to a North Korean refugee!
We take this to be a very good sign about the level of respect and increased name recognition for TNKR.
This week, my co-director and I had a few meetings with North Korean refugees who want to enter the project (including a male who declined to be photographed and asked us not to explain details about him). We heard many great things about our project.
And we got to hear some great stories from North Korean refugees who are determined to improve their English. In one case, a newcomer was so enthusiastic that I couldn’t help but to have an impromptu English lesson with her. I am not a real teacher, I did my best to teach her, but I made it clear that her real tutors and coaches would be 1000 times better than I am. She is so ready to study English, she is clearing her schedule in anticipating of focusing on English like never before.
And another one who just started with us is throwing herself into studying English. I tried to give her some advice, but made it clear that I am not an expert.
We also had a great meeting with a North Korea expert who is advising us about an organizational change that we will be announcing soon.
One of the refugees is not the least bit interested in being a public speaker, but she needs to be able to present herself in English for business reasons. It is good when they come to us with specific goals, it will make it easier for her to match up with proper English helpers.
I am especially proud because refugees have been reaching out directly to me. One said she wasn’t sure that I would answer her plea for help, then was so shocked when I quickly connected her with my co-director, and we moved quickly to get her into the project.
And the praise for me, wow. One called me an “angel.” Then she said the same thing about Eunkoo.
Another refugee said we are changing her life, making her feel that she can reach her goals (she has wanted to study English since she arrived, but hasn’t found the right situation). And a male refugee said he can’t believe an American is leading this kind of helpful project for North Korean refugees.
We also have some respected South Koreans in the NKHR field who have reached out to us recently to let us know how much they support what we are doing and offered their expertise to us.
It has been another great week for TNKR, and apparently next week will be even better…