My boyfriend, Michael and I, joined this organization a couple of weeks ago, and recently got matched with 2 North Korean refugees (and 3 refugees for Michael). Over the next 3 months, we will tutor these refugees at least 2 times a month (or more if you are able to) for 90 minutes. Michael and I both had our first tutoring sessions this week, and we felt so lucky to be able to help these amazing individuals that want to are putting their all into learning English. Their determination and dedication to learning English and improving themselves is really inspiring. Some of these individuals are willing to come from all over Seoul and meet for very long periods of time in order to learn English. One refugee that was previously participating in the TNKR program is Yeonmi Park, and she has gone on to write the now famous book In Order to Live on her life in North Korea and her journey escaping. I find it truly rewarding helping these individuals learn English, because I know this might help them one day do public speaking (in which several of our refugees in the program now expressed interest) or write books to get their story out there and get the general public all over the world more knowledgeable about the truth and horrors of North Korea.
In order to raise money for the organization, and to raise money for our tutoring expenses, I set up a GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/helpustnkr. Please consider donating whatever you can. Every little bit helps!
In addition to TNKR, there are so many other great organizations to volunteer for in Seoul. Here is some information on some similar volunteer organizations that I've personally heard of or know friends who volunteer/work with.
1. The Mulmangcho school in Seoul https://www.facebook.com/mulmangchoschool/?fref=ts is an organization where you can help tutor and volunteer with North Korean refugee children.
2. BEAN Seoul: An organization where you can help children in orphanages. https://www.facebook.com/BEANSeoul/?fref=ts
3. Finally, the Kuensaem School for North Korean Refugees is yet another place where you can volunteer to help tutor North Korean children English. https://www.facebook.com/KuensaemEnglish/
This list is certainly not all of the places you can volunteer at. If you know any other great organizations, please, feel free to leave a comment below! Volunteering is truly a great way to help you feel more connected to your community and make your time in Korea more fulfilling. Please, contact me if you have any questions!!