Indonesian fans donate 8735 mangroves for BTS star’s birthday

The power of ARMY (fans of South Korean K-pop group BTS) should not be underestimated, particularly when it comes to charity.

Several philanthropic activities related to the South Korean boyband have been conducted, including raising more than $1 million for a campaign by UNICEF and BTS to end violence against children and young people.

The group, which debuted in 2013, consists of seven members, namely RM, Jungkook, V, Jimin, Suga, Jin and J-Hope.

To contribute to a birthday project for Jimin, who will turn 26 on Oct. 13, 1,873 members of the Indonesian branch of ARMY collected mangrove trees to be planted in Bedono village in Demak, Central Java. The project ended two days early as the group received 8,735 mangroves in the span of nine days, exceeding its target of 1,000 mangroves.

“I never expected that the project would be this big,” Asabell “Asa” Audida, the project’s initiator and an author, told The Jakarta Post on Oct. 5. She said she collaborated with online crowdfunding platform Lindungihutan, which specializes in forest conservation and the environment.

At first, the 24-year old fan had planned to celebrate Jimin’s birthday by featuring him on a billboard in South Korea, but that plan was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She later discovered Lindungihutan when she was searching for activities she could do to mark the star’s birthday in Indonesia. She chose the platform for its commitment and the accessibility of its payment system, especially for younger fans.

As for the planting location, the Lindungihutan team recommended Bedono village, which had been plagued by severe erosion for the last 20 years. The erosion resulted in the submergence of two villages, forcing more than 250 families to move from the area. In addition to the the environmental perspective, the village was chosen because of its proximity to Lindungihutan’s base for easy monitoring and conservation.

Awalnya cuma target 1000 pohon tapi melambung jauh ke 8735 pohon 🌳😭 hanya dalam 9 hari 🥺👍 ini adalah salah satu hari terbaik dalam hidup aku, mulai dari aku bangun sampai aku akan terlelap lagi, aku sangat bahagia. . . Terima kasih untuk semua pihak yang sudah turut serta dalam donasi. Semoga pohonnya bermanfaat untuk alam, tumbuh dengan baik dan bermafaat bagi lingkungan. Terima kasih kalian semua, yang berpartisipasi dalam bentuk share, donasi maupun doa 🥺💜 warga sekitar dan petani di sana sangat senang dengan project ini. Makasih juga tim @lindungihutan yang sudah memfasilitasi wadah untuk berdonasi. Semua ini karena kalian, ini dari kalian untuk Bumi dalam rangka ulang tahun BTS Jimin 😭💜 semoga kegiatan ini bisa jadi inspirasi teman-teman yg lain juga dalam melakukan kegiatan yang bermanfaat, atas nama siapa pun itu. Makasih ya semua, maaf kalau masih jika masih ada kurangnya dalam project ini. Makasih udah percaya sama aku untuk handle ini💜 terima kasih semua yang selalu berpikir positif, maaf gak bisa respon semua pesan luar biasa kalian, sehat selalu untuk kita semua 🥺👍 borahae 💜🌳

A post shared by Asabell Audida (@asabelliaa) on Oct 4, 2020 at 6:38am PDT

“Sometimes the number of people who spread [news about] a project can be higher than those who actually donate. So I encouraged fans [to donate] by giving away free [fan-made] Jimin wallpapers as mementos,” said Asa.

Because of the number of seeds collected, the team started planting on Oct. 3. Although Asa was unable to participate as she lives in Makassar, South Sulawesi, three ARMY members volunteered in the process. “They said that they were happy and they felt moved by the activity,” Asa said.

Asa plans to hold more environmentally conscious charity initiatives for other BTS members, particularly Jin and V, who will celebrate their birthdays in December.

Through the fundraising, Asa said she sought to show the force of ARMY and to break any negative stigma. She said she realized that the fandom was often considered “toxic” because of their unrelenting bearing on social media and wanted to show another side of the fans. “We’re not new to good causes. We just never get the recognition,” Asa said.

Asa said that to be recognized by the group’s management Big Hit Entertainment was never the idea. “I did it for fellow fans and the community. If it gets recognition [by the management], Alhamdulillah [Thank God]. If not, that’s ok. It’s from our hearts, after all,” she said.

Asa, a proud ARMY member since January 2018, is no stranger to organizing projects for BTS. In April, for instance, she collaborated with the Generaksi Aksi community to build public hand-washing facilities decorated with BTS quotes in several locations in Indonesia. She said it was her way of expressing gratitude for the pop group and ARMY, which had inspired her writing. (wng)

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