TACOMA, Washington — J-Hope of the K-pop band BTS celebrated his birthday by reaching out a hand to help vulnerable children. The artist turned 27 on February 18 and marked the occasion by donating 150 million won (around $135,400) to ChildFund Korea. The organization is an influential, international NGO in the Republic of Korea working for the welfare of children. J-Hope’s birthday donation to ChildFund will go a long way in ensuring the safety and well-being of children supported by the NGO.
ChildFund Korea’s mission is to offer financial, physical and emotional support to children who have mental and physical challenges. Originally founded as the Korean branch of the Christian Children’s Fund in 1948, ChildFund Korea has been passionately serving vulnerable children for 72 years.
Today, ChildFund Korea is the oldest and largest child welfare organization in the country. It offers support to children living with challenges through a variety of projects. These projects include offering financial support to impoverished families, foster care, rehabilitation programs, parent education, psychotherapy, crisis intervention and more. As of 2018, the organization supported 613,226 children in Korea and 592,074 children overseas.
J-Hope’s donation to ChildFund Korea will go toward children with impaired vision and hearing who are struggling financially.
The Correlation Between Disabilities and Poverty
Individuals with disabilities have more difficulty going to school, working for a living and participating in daily life. This also makes them more vulnerable to the effects of poverty. In addition, studies show that people with disabilities — or families caring for someone with a disability — are more likely to have trouble affording basic needs, including rent, food and medical care.
Children with disabilities are more likely to die young or to be malnourished and impoverished. Studies have estimated that only 2% of people with disabilities in developing countries have access to rehabilitation and appropriate basic services. This makes going to school and then entering the workforce harder for those with disabilities, which in turn makes it more difficult for them to live without poverty.
J-Hope’s Involvement with ChildFund Korea
This is not the first time J-Hope has donated to the organization. In 2020, the artist donated 100 million won ($90,300) to ChildFund Korea for children affected by COVID-19.
“I heard that the number of families in vulnerable situations is increasing significantly due to the prolonged COVID-19 crisis, and support for disabled children is urgently needed,” J-Hope said in a statement to South Korean media. “I hope this donation will further expand social interest in supporting children with disabilities.”
Also, in 2019, J-Hope donated 100 million won to help low-income students in his hometown Gwangju. J-Hope’s donation was made through the foundation of Choontae Academy. The academy is an educational foundation that backs his own alma mater. Choontae Academy forwarded the funds to Jeonnam Girls’ Commercial High School, which will support scholarships for the next several years. Thanks to J-Hope, the school will give 500,000 won to ten students every year.
J-Hope was made a member of ChildFund Korea’s Green Noble Club for Children in 2019. This membership is reserved for individuals who have made significant contributions to the aid organization.
Contributions from BTS as a Whole
As a group, BTS has made several notable donations to vulnerable populations. Most significant is BTS’s partnership with UNICEF in support of the End Violence Against Children campaign. In addition to an initial contribution of 500 million won (around $448,000) to the campaign, the group donated 3% of income from physical sales of their Love Yourself album series. According to UNICEF’s Korean committee, these contributions reached more than $2.2 million by the end of September.
Other notable donations from BTS date back to 2014, when the group donated to families of victims of the Sewol ferry disaster. Then in 2017, they donated 100 million won to the Sewol Ferry Disaster 416 Family Council.
J-Hope Living Up to His Name
The 27-year-old rapper always introduces himself with the tagline, “I’m your hope, you’re my hope, I’m J-Hope.” J-Hope’s donation to ChildFund Korea this month is the latest in a line of efforts to bring hope and aid to children who are more vulnerable to the effects of poverty.
– Celia Brocker