Calendar project utilizes 365 people

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Calendar project utilizes 365 people

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A relatively new initiative has taken 365 people and put their personal mark in a daily calendar dedicated to helping the homeless and other disadvantaged groups.

In the Write a Day project, 365 people from different walks of life take turns handwriting one date in the calendar, the proceeds for which go to charity.

Choi Sung-mun, 44, a radio script writer, launched the venture in 2013, establishing the art dream-lab, which aims to spread awareness through the arts and works to support projects that help disadvantaged multicultural households and enable the homeless to become self-sufficient.

Two years later, her ideas have come to fruition. By selling the calendars, Choi was able to open a small take-out dumpling shop in October in Bomun-dong in Seongbuk District, northern Seoul.

Choi started volunteering in 2009, distributing food in the Baha Soup Kitchen for the homeless. In thinking how she could volunteer in other ways, she got the idea for the Write a Day project.

“I hope that the homeless can think of each day not as a loss, but as precious,” Choi said. “I also want to spread the message that 24 hours a day is given equally to everybody ? everyone has equal value.”

Choi gathered designers, photographers, writers among others to open the dream lab, and the calendar project started in January 2014. The homeless were the first group to contribute their penmanship.

Then for seven months, Choi visited foreign laborers in Ansan, Gyeonggi, North Korean defectors at the Yeomyung School in central Seoul, children with developmental disabilities, cancer patients, farmers and artists. She filled up 365 days for the 2015 calendar, the cover of which was written by the late Shin Young-bok, formerly a distinguished professor at Sungkonghoe University who was renowned for his calligraphy.

Designers and artists at the lab cooperated in producing the online advertisement for the calendar, even composing an official song, “Write a day.”

In total, 11,000 copies were sold, with some of the profits given to the Baha Soup Kitchen and the remainder used to open the dumpling store.

“The profits aren’t much, but there is larger meaning in that the 365 people who participated in writing the dates were able to have the pleasure to donate,” Choi said.

For the 2017 calendar, Choi last year visited Nepal, Japan, Turkey and other nations in Asia to gather 365 people.

“My role is only to think first and imagine,” Choi said. “I just want to do something good for others. Pure passion touches the heart, and those hearts gather together to bring about a much stronger force.”

Write a Day’s second calendar will go to helping marginalized groups in Korea.

BY LEE JI-YOUNG [kim.hyangmin@joongang.co.kr]

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