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Warm “Charity Going-out”

Posted September. 08, 2005 07:28,   


Community Service Gathering of “Women in the Business Community”-

Miraehoe is a community service gathering of “women in the business community”: wives, daughters, and daughters-in-law of business leaders. Formed in 1999 mainly by some 10 such people who attended Bible study together, the club has grown to consist of more than 20 members. Members are of various age groups, from 30-somethings to 50-somethings.

Among those participating actively are Roh So-young, director of Art Center Nabi and wife of SK Corp. Chairman Chey Tae-won, is heading the club. Cho Ok-hyung, daughter of Lee In-hee, the advisor of Hansol Paper; Ahn Young-ju, wife of Cho Dong-gil, the chairman of Hansol Group; Gwon Eun-jung, wife of Hong Sung-won, the president of Nextour; Lee Soo-youn, daughter-in-law of Cho Yang-rae, the chairman of Hankook Tire; Park Min-jung, daughter of Park Jun-hyung, the chairman of Shilla; and Park Sun-jung, daughter-in-law of Cho Nam-wook, the chairman of Sambu Construction.

All of the members are mothers. The club was established with the aim of helping poor children with the love of their own children. The members hold a regular charity bazaar twice a year and support various charity events, such as today’s fashion show. As the fashion show was supported rather than organized by Miraehoe, not all the members attended.

In the fashion show in which some 600 people participated, announcer Hwang Hyun-jung was the master of ceremony. The entrance fee was 130,000 won. Adding the auction of works by Kim Jeom-sun, approximately 10 million won was collected in no time.

Pursuit of “Nobles Oblige”-

The motto of Miraehoe is to practice “nobles oblige” silently.

In 2003, the club donated 100 million won to the “Finding Hope on the Road” program that the Beautiful Foundation operate to provide cultural experience to teenagers from low-income families in provincial areas. Last year, it established the Leftovers Love Sharing Community, a children center, in Naengcheon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul. It also sends medical supplies to North Korean children every year through the Eugene Bell Foundation’s.

Gwon Eun-jung said that she could never forget the moment that she went to Cambodia to do community service with other members and donated $1,000 to a local child welfare agency.

“When I gave pastel crayons to Cambodian children as a present, they just gave me a blank stare because they did not know how to use them. That was heart-rending. I hope that children across the world will be happy.”

One of main projects of Miraehoe, which collects 200 million won in annual profit, is the bazaar. Its regular bazaar is mainly held at the Sheraton Walker Hill Hotel in Gwangjin-gu, Seoul. As the bazaar sells bags, shoes, and accessories, which wives of business leaders used, for reasonable prices, there are women waiting in line before the event begins.

“Please Look at Us without Prejudice”-

Sometimes, wives of politicians and rich women join the club to “increase human network” but withdraw after discovering it is purely a community service club. As the club does not have an office, members discuss their plans in a small group in a coffee shop.

Kim Heung-nam, former chairman of Miraehoe, said, “We can do community service because we are better off than others,” adding, “I hope that society will not give a distorted look at our pure purpose. ”

Sun-Mi Kim kimsunmi@donga.com