How We Began
Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR) was founded in 2013 by co-directors Casey Lartigue Jr. and Eunkoo Lee. Both had prior experience working for other humanitarian causes, and both were deeply interested in the plight of North Korean refugees living in South Korea. They saw the obstacles that the refugees faced and recognized their need for support.
Casey, then the Director for International Relations at the Freedom Factory Co. Ltd., and Eunkoo, then a government researcher with a focus on young North Korean refugees in South Korea, met at a human rights conference in the fall of 2012.
What started as a simple exchange of ideas later turned into serious talk about implementing them, and in March of 2013 Casey and Eunkoo hosted their first “English Matching Session,” in which they paired a small group of volunteer English tutors with North Korean refugees. They quit their jobs to focus on building TNKR’s capacity to empower North Korean refugees.
Mission and Vision
TNKR’s mission is to empower North Korean refugees to find their own voice and path through education, advocacy, and support.