Korean celebrities, including actress Shin Ae-ra, second from right, participate in a fashion show, featuring designs by Park Yoon-soo, for the children’s charity Compassion Korea, at KT Art Hall, Gwanghwamun, Tuesday. / Yonhap
By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Celebrities like Shin Ae-ra, Lee Yoon-mi, Hwangbo, Park Si-eun, and Ricky Kim cheerfully walked down the runway wearing colorful oversized tops and shirts specially designed by Park Yoon-soo.
But this was no ordinary fashion show, since Park's designs were inspired by the drawings of children who are sponsored by the charity Compassion Korea. The Korean celebrities took part in the ``2009 Friends of Compassion'' event for charity at the KT Art Hall, Gwanghwamun, Tuesday.
Shin, who is a public ambassador for Compassion Korea, was at the event with her husband and fellow actor Cha In-pyo. The star couple, who have been deeply involved in the charity since 2003, are sponsor parents to 33 children around the world.
The celebrities who participated in the fashion show were also members of the Compassion Band, a musical group led by Cha. The Compassion Band will give a special performance at 12- 1 p.m. at the KT Art Hall, Saturday.
Aside from the fashion show, a photo exhibition and daily performances by various musicians are also being staged through Sunday.
The fourth annual exhibition features photographs taken by fashion photographer Ho Huh. Ho traveled to the Philippines, Haiti and Thailand to take photographs of the lives of children sponsored by Compassion Korea.
Ho's photographs show children living, studying and playing in dilapidated homes, surrounded by squalor and poverty. Yet, the children's faces are filled with smiles, hopes, and dreams of a better future.
``I may have captured the reality of children's lives too beautifully. I can't show the terrible reality to the people who have never seen them with only one picture. I can't deliver the terrible stinking smell of poverty,'' he said, in the exhibition essay.
The photos show the positive impact the sponsors have on children and their families who are living in poverty. Ho was touched by the children's dreams of being a teacher or policeman, or simply to take good care of their family.
``Children are dreaming at this moment. Compassion's children hold on to their dreams with the support and encouragement of the sponsors and their family,'' he said.
The ``2009 Friends of Compassion'' events are a way to thank the organization's sponsors and donors. The photo exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at KT Art Hall.
Through these events, Compassion Korea organizers hope more people will be encouraged to sponsor children from less fortunate countries.
American evangelist Everett Swanson founded Compassion International in 1952. It was a ministry and charity focused on helping Korean orphans during the war. In 2003, Korea, now a developed country, joined the organization as a sponsor. Compassion Korea currently helps 60,000 children in different countries, including Haiti, Philippines, Bangladesh, Thailand and Africa.
To get to KT Art Hall, get off at Gwanghwamun Station Line 5, Exit 2. For information about Compassion Korea, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.compassion.or.kr.