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 have both quit their jobs to focus on building TNKR’s capacity to help North Korean refugees.
Who We Are
Put simply, TNKR is a nonprofit organization that aims to assist North Korean refugees in preparing for their future and transitioning to life outside of North Korea by providing them with free English learning opportunities.
TNKR’s program is built around a student-centered learning model, one that emphasizes student choice and self-accountability. By allowing the refugees to choose their own tutors, coaches and mentors, we have found they are more motivated to study, less likely to give up when the lessons get difficult, and to be partnered with the language helpers whose teaching style best suits them.
In addition to one-on-one tutoring, TNKR also holds fundraisers, hosts refugee speaking contests, and participates in humanitarian conferences. Our mission, as always, is to empower North Korean refugees to find their own voice and path through education, advocacy, and support.
Mission and Vision
TNKR’s mission is to empower North Korean refugees to find their own voice and path through education, advocacy, and support. Our core values include access to education opportunities for refugees, a positive experience for volunteers, practicality and authenticity of action.
Our plans for future expansion include sponsoring overseas scholarships for refugees and providing more practical opportunities for refugees to adjust to living outside of North Korea.
In 2020, TNKR launched Track 3 Employment and Education Opportunities for North Korean refugees.
Casey Lartigue Jr., International Director
Lee Eunkoo, National Director
Janice Kim, Academic Coordinator
Daniel Cashmar, Volunteer Advisor
Board of Directors
Jang Jin-sung, North Korean refugee
Cherie Yang, North Korean refugee
Ken Eom, North Korean refugee
Eunkoo Lee, South Korean
Casey Lartigue, American
Webmaster: Kesner Yepez
Web Designer: Stephen Hattersley
Content Creator: Lindsay McEwen
Web Designer: Shinae Bahk
Janice Kim, Academic Coordinator
Dan Cashmar, Volunteer Adviser
India Meyers, Assistant Academic Coordinator
Outreach Coordinator: Eben Appleton
Outreach Coordinator: Jasmin Fosse
Outreach Coorindator: Ken Stuart
Outreach Coordinator: Reinier Van Hofslot
French: Alexia Andrieux
Korean: Dahae Noh
Korean: Lydia Lim
Korean: Saria Lee
Korean: Youngmin Kwon
Korean: Steve Chai
Korean: Goeun Gil
Finnish: Jasmin Fosse
French: Elodie Thiriez
German: Karin Hanna
Spanish: Rachel Kim
Turkish: Meruyert Didar
Russian: Meruyert Didar
Graphic Design Manager: Kiyun Sung
Graphic Design: Allison Fry
Computers: Mike Ashley
Fundraising Manager: Anna Martinson
Development Manager: Oliver Brown
Grants Outreach: Penelope Noel Baggs
Jackie Cole (Instagram)
Alonso Cruz (Twitter)
Youngjoo Yoo (Naver)
Kim Noriko Durinick
Research Assistant: Erica Kelble
“Bring My Father Home” Campaign
Hwang In-Cheol (Fellow in Human Dignity)
Casey Lartigue (Chairman)
Youngmin Kwon (Project Manager)
Peter Daley (Web Content Manager)
Saria Lee (Translator)
Jean Chung (Editor)