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Fans donate with unusual birthday gifts

People traditionally receive gifts on their birthdays, not give them. But Korean celebrities and their fans are changing this practice by replacing birthday gifts with charity donations. The idea being that “to give is to receive.”

Celebrities’ birthdays are big events for their loyal fans. Fan clubs often come up with birthday gift ideas ranging from electronic goods to even furniture and cars as a tribute to their beloved stars’ talents.
‘I Donate My Birthday’ campaign. (UNICEF)
‘I Donate My Birthday’ campaign. (UNICEF)

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund is making it easier for fans to show their generosity with the “I Donate My Birthday” campaign. The initiative seeks to promote a donating culture through small events like sharing birthday wishes.

So far, about 8,000 people have signed up, with gifts to be delivered to children in developing countries through UNICEF.

South Korean figure skating queen Kim Yu-na and her fans celebrated her birthday on Sept. 5 by donating 1.4 million won (around $12,200) to UNICEF. Other participants include actor Ahn Sung-ki, and group 2PM, and fans of Michael Jackson in Korea. The trend has taken birthday gifts to a whole new level with donations paying for items including mosquito nets, malnutrition treatment, and insecticides.

Although the gifts may not seem fancy, giving fans the chance to sponsor children in third world countries helps them pay tribute to their idols while feeling good about themselves at the same time.

Korea Herald Youtube