SUFFOLK, United Kingdom — The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is a country in East Asia bordering North Korea. In 2021, South Korea’s population stood at 51.74 million. Among the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, South Korea has the second-highest poverty rate at 17.4% as of 2022. In South Korea, the groups most vulnerable to poverty are single mothers, the elderly and orphaned children whose care will soon end. Several philanthropic celebrities in South Korea have come to the aid of low-income families through donations and funding.
The Humanitarian Work of IU
Solo-singer IU has donated a total of ₩4.3 billion ($3.038 million) since her debut in 2008. IU has donated profits from fan meetings and debut songs. IU also created the IU Scholarship to support students and families in need of financial aid for education. Ranking as one of the most philanthropic female celebrities in South Korea, IU’s donations have supported children, students, families in need and victims of disasters in South Korea.
In May 2021, IU donated ₩10 million ($7,062) to Yangpyeong county to provide financial support to impoverished single-parent and grandparent-led households. In the same month, she donated ₩500 million ($354,827) to support single parents, “elderly people living alone,” children who need financial aid and young people with rare illnesses.
For the 13th anniversary of her debut album in September 2021, the singer donated ₩850 million ($603,783) worth of supplies to South Korea’s disadvantaged people. The donation included “1,000 pairs of New Balance sneakers to support the first steps of young people facing the end of protection,” 2,000 pizzas for children in shelters and 300 blankets from Evezari. IU also donated 2,000 first aid kits from Kyungdong Pharmaceutical for single mothers and elderly people living alone and 30,000 bottles of water for “public health centers in 20 districts of Seoul,” Naver reports.
Lastly, on Christmas Eve 2021, IU donated ₩100 million to the Green Umbrella Children’s Foundation to support the “Dream Tree Scholarship.” The scholarship provides aid to students from low-income households run by grandparents or single parents, who would like to pursue a college education.
In 2022, IU donated ₩100 million to Hope Bridge Disaster Relief Association to support victims of disasters, such as wildfires and floods. In September 2022, IU donated ₩100 million each to the Asan Social Welfare Foundation and the Seoul Children’s Welfare Association to help pediatric and female cancer patients.
Bae Suzy the “Donation Angel”
Dubbed a “donation angel,” Bae Suzy, from the group Miss A, has a long history of charitable donations. Since 2014, she has donated to many different causes, ranging from disasters to poverty, and is even an organ and tissue donor. In 2021, on Children’s Day, Bae donated ₩100 million to the Association for Happiness Sharing to help orphaned children and children who will soon leave the care of shelters.
In the same year, she donated ₩100 million to help premature infants who need heart surgeries, to Life Sharing Practice Headquarters. In 2022, Bae donated ₩100 million to the Hope Bridge Disaster Association to help victims of floods in the central region of South Korea.
Philanthropic Idol Kim Se-jeong
Singer-turned-actress Kim Se-jeong is another one of the female philanthropic celebrities in South Korea using her platform for the greater good. The Gugudan group star has made several donations to different causes.
In March 2022, she donated ₩10 million to Hope Bridge Disaster Relief Association to help victims of the wildfire. Also in March, Kim donated ₩10 million to help Ukrainians displaced as a consequence of the Russia-Ukraine war. The donation will go toward providing water, food and first aid medical supplies.
In August 2022, Kim donated a further ₩20 million ($14,124) to Hope Bridge National Disaster Relief Association to support those affected by the floods arising from the monsoon season. Lastly, in September 2022, she donated ₩10 million to the same charity to help those affected by the typhoon in South Korea.
Though South Korea has dealt with many disasters over the past decade, philanthropic celebrities in South Korea are stepping in to support the country’s most disadvantaged people.
– Deanna Barratt