On April 16, 2014 the Sewol ferry going from Incheon to Jeju Island unexpectedly sank. The Sewol ferry was carrying about 470 people. Out of the 470 people on board 330 of them were students from Danwon High School in Ansan, a suburb of Seoul. With each day that passes there is updated information that many of the passengers are missing or dead.
A student organization of 30 university students from different university campuses formed an organization called “Autonomous, Alter, Active Life Together” (ALT). ALT started a yellow ribbon campaign for the students of Danwon High School. The yellow ribbons symbolize solidarity for the families, and hope that the missing students will be found and come home safely. ALT and the yellow ribbons also represent support to the grieving families, and a “hopeful message to the Korean public that the missing passengers could still be found alive.”
The yellow ribbon campaign has grown on social media. Many Facebook and Twitter profile pictures have changed to a picture of a yellow background with a drawn black bow, and a Korean sentence that means “A small move makes big miracle.”
Korean celebrities such as G-Dragon, Park Shin-hye, Kim Jae-Joong, Shim Eun-Jin, Ha Yeon Soo, Yoo Eun Ho, FeelDog, Han Ji Woo, Jo Kwon, Hye Park and Park Eun Ji have changed their Facebook and Twitter profile pictures to the yellow ribbon, or have drawn a yellow ribbon with a thoughtful message for the passengers of the Sewol ferry.
Figure skater, Yuna Kim’s tweet translates to “earnestly praying for a miracle to happen.”
LA Dodgers pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu, Korean Men’s National soccer team player Park Chu-young, and Olympic figure skater Yuna Kim have all donated 100 million won to the Korean Committee for UNICEF. The donated money, and money that is raised from yellow ribbons will go towards the families of the victims. Naver, a popular South Korean online search engine, has an area on their website where people can send messages and make donations (http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?mode=LSD&mid=shm&sid1=102&oid=424&aid=0000000029&cid=984894&iid=23113724). The fund was set up by the National Disaster Relief Association and hopes to raise 500 million won. So far 350 million won has been raised.