Frequently Asked Questions

What is my donation concretely impacting?


Your donation will fund the programs at Empower House by allowing the refugees a place to live, food to eat, textbooks to study with, healthcare, and every single minute detail that allows these refugees a safe and nurturing environment in which to become acclimated to their new surroundings and achieve their goals. Your donation will help provide the supportive services that the refugees need in order to have a successful life in the US, not to mention provide them with the means to become productive citizens and to build relationships within their community.


What will happen if someone decides to quit the program?


This program has a minimum of a one-year commitment to living in the home and actively attending lessons. After one year, if a refugee decides to leave the program, we will discuss options with them and assess why they want to discontinue working with us. We can problem solve with them to make the program work for them. If they still do not want to stay, we will help them find transitional housing and plans for the future. We will work with them to find a stable situation. We are committed to the overall success of this program and seriously engaging with as many North Korean refugees as possible. Therefore, if someone decides to quit the program, we will work to fill the individual’s spot as soon as possible.


What if a participant can’t get into college?


If an individual participant does not get into college, this will be taken on a case-by case basis. Because Empower House is a small, local program working one-on-one with individuals, we will be able to collaborate with the participant to find the best solution for their needs and interests. Although the ultimate goal is for all participants to attend and succeed in a four-year college, we recognize that the “process” is just as, if not more, important as the “product.” Throughout the program, we will use smaller benchmarks to measure participants’ success, and if an individual is unable to reach this larger goal after 5 years, we will consider different options. For example, we may encourage the participant to attend a two-year community college first.


How do you measure success?


We measure the success of three major goals of the program: English language skills, college readiness, and acclimation to this new culture. Based on these main programmatic goals, we have determined the following impact metrics:

· TOEFL Scores

· Improvement in practice SAT/ACT

· Short survey rating comfort levels

· Number of hours spent doing cultural activities or events

· Quarterly essay about future hopes

Overall, we hope to empower the refugees to succeed in their new lives by developing personal relationships with them and supporting them academically and financially.


What if something goes wrong in the programming? What if Empower House can’t achieve its goals?


ENoK recognizes that Empower House is a new program. Because it is a small, program, it is crucial to work intensely with the refugees to understand and rectify any concern that arises. The policy of early intervention will be important in the process of preventing conflicts.


What if ENoK loses its funding in the middle of the program?


Some staff of ENoK have agreed to donate their personal funds to meet the ongoing financial needs of the program. ENoK will always hold ongoing fundraising projects and look for new funding sources.


What if ENoK does not have enough money by the time participants show up?


ENoK will hold a continuous, sustainable fundraising process to try and salvage the programmatic qualities of the program that are still operational.


What if ENoK loses tax exempt status?


ENoK would strive to understand why such an occurrence would take place and then promptly reapply as quickly as possible.


What if the sister Registered Student Organization ENoK loses funding?


RSO leaders would then reapply and fundraise money accordingly.


As demand for services increases, would ENoK just turn people away?


Programs that are part of ENoK are heavily bound to how much money is donated. The amount of funds will directly determine how many refugees will be taken into the programs. While ENoK would love to embrace all refugees who need this service, it would be impossible to support everyone without the proper resources.


How does the education of two refugees justify the amount of money I am donating?


Not only does ENoK wish to educate the refugees, ENoK also wishes to grant them a new home both physically, socially, and emotionally. There are little more than one hundred North Korean Refugees living in the entirety of the United States. Therefore, two refugees accounts for a significant portion of the demographic. In addition, the arrival of these refugees will bring a new cultural identity to the Hyde Park community and spark the interest and fascination in the stories of the refugees.


What is the process for obtaining participants?


Participants are chosen on an application process. The process itself is not affiliated with any government entity or international NGO.


Has ENoK ever undertaken a project of this magnitude? How can I be assured these refugees will be competently taken care of?


ENoK has not attempted a project of this magnitude. However, the team behind ENoK is comprised of the most dedicated, passionate, and inspired people. ENoK is well accustomed to Hyde Park and will utilize all the resources, human capital, and expertise necessary to allow these refugees to thrive in their new environment. RealPal allowed ENoK to get to know the refugees and know what they need to be successful. So, while ENoK has not carried through a project of this magnitude, they have the knowhow and it’s only natural that they expand at this point in the organization.


I am unable to donate money, but I wish to donate my time and volunteer. How do I do so?


ENoK thrives on community outreach and volunteer power! If one wanted to offer talents, services, or anything related, directly contact the ENoK team and discuss what it is that you wish to share with the Empower House Program and ENoK as a whole. Language tutors, technology tutors, etc.

For UChicago students, they can get involved by joining the Registered Student Organization of the same name. There are many roles one could play such as ESL teacher, Business development intern, Study hour proctors, and Mentor-buddies to name a few. To apply, please send your resume and statement of interest (fewer than 300 words), including the position(s) in order of preference, to


How much money do I have to donate to become a recognized donor?


ENoK appreciates all levels of donation and wants to acknowledge ones who support the organization to an exceptional degree.

· Empowerment Ally – ($50)

· Empowerment Advocate – ($200)

· Empowerment Achiever- ($500)


What does teaching them American culture entail?


Empower House aims to educate the refugees regarding the cultural, aesthetic, idiosyncratic, and all mannerisms involving American life. We want the refugees to understand their new homes as well as feel a renewed sense of identity, safety, and belonging in an otherwise different and jarring new experience. Not only does ENoK wish the cultures of Americans be understood by the refugees, ENoK also wishes the histories of the refugees be understood by their surrounding community.