The Korea Herald


Elderly vendor donates W10b to Yonsei University

By Kim Young-won

Published : Sept. 5, 2012 - 20:25

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An 89-year-old vendor has donated her 10 billion won ($8.8 million) fortune she had saved for 60 years to Yonsei University to help poor students.

Kim Soon-jeon visited the university on Aug. 14 and said she hoped to set up a scholarship program in her name with her assets, including her house and buildings.

“I hope the money can help students who cannot pursue their academic careers due to financial difficulties,” Kim said. 
Kim Soon-jeon Kim Soon-jeon

Kim herself has been maintaining a frugal life.

When the Korean War had broke out she and her family fled to the South from her hometown in Hwanghae Province, North Korea.

All she and her family had left were a blanket and some pieces of cloth. She brought up her children and started selling goods in Dongdaemun, northeastern Seoul.

In order to save money, she walked every day to her workplace four or five bus stops away from her home. Skipping meals was another way to save.

She still stitches up her old clothes and underwear so they’ll last longer.

“My family and I have enough money to put food on our table. We just hope that the scholarship can help students,” she said.

As a devout Christian, Kim decided to donate her fortune to the Christian university.

The legal process of transferring the ownership of the buildings and bank accounts was completed in late August. The university president, Jung Kab-young, presented her with a plaque of appreciation and the university provided her with a free medical check-up and a hearing aid.

By Kim Young-won (