The world? second wealthiest man, Warren Buffett has received a great deal of media coverage recently due to his heavily-contested donation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. More and more prominent figures such as Buffett are contributing to society by donating their wealth to charitable foundations. Nonetheless, South Korea seems to lag behind in the ?onation culture,?despite some improvements.
According to the survey ?iving Korea?conducted by the Beautiful Fund Foundation, the number of donors, as well as the size of the donations themselves have been increasing in Korea compared to the past. However, donations are usually made by the same people and contributions from private companies are still used as a way of gaining public support and securing their own interests.
Donation can sound like an irrelevant term especially to university students who often do not have a regular income of their own. However, there are various programs students can join in order to experience the true meaning of sharing. One way is to participate in a child sponsorship program. If you become a regular donor at World Vision by donating 20,000 won every month, you can sponsor not only a Korean but also a foreign child. The 20,000 won contributed each month to the sponsored child will be used to help provide food, water, shelter, and give a chance for the child to receive education. Above all, the sponsors can become friends with the children, connected on a one to one basis, by exchanging letters.
Kim So-jung (Sangmyung University, 1), who recently began sponsoring a child abroad, came to know about the child sponsorship program through reading a book written by Han Bi-ya, a team leader of the emergency relief plan at World Vision Korea. ?he book conveyed the reality of children who are suffering from hunger and disease. I could feel the pain and the urgent necessity of help that those children need.?Although, Kim has not yet met the child she is sponsoring, she feels an overwhelming sense of warmth and pleasure.
In the past, money was the main means of donation. Nowadays, donation is not just about sharing money. There are no more boundaries in what to give and share with others. Kim Ji-sun (Environmental and Science Engineering, 2) has been teaching the use of software programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to low-income group children to enhance their capability in using computers. Volunteering as a ?unny?at the Sunny IT Voluntary Group at SK Telecom, she and three other members visit Ewha Welfare Center every Saturday. ? have been participating in voluntary activities since middle school but that was just to fill the required time. After entering university, I wanted to help others with genuine purpose and heart. That? when I decided to join it.?Through spending time with children she realizes how pure they are. ?he happiness and pride I receive is more than I have ever imagined.?Donations have also been adapting to the changing lifestyles as well, especially to the rapidly evolving Internet age. Cyworld, Korean? most popular social-network service with blog-like features, has recently launched a donation program. Cyworld users can donate to one of several social institutions by donating their acorns or dotori?he cyber currency of Cyworld.
Professor Han In-young (Social Welfare) says, ?fter all, having and not having lies within one? cognizance. Being able to help others with what we?e got: money, time, physical labor, and talent is a crucial skill in our lives that we must learn in advance during our school days?