03/22/2014, 00.00
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Korean teen idol drops music to be a missionary in Haiti

For years, Sunye led the Wonder Girls, a musical group with legions of fans all over Korea. Now her life has changed after marrying a Christian missionary. "During a short week that I spent volunteering in Haiti [. . .], the direction of my life completely changed," she wrote in a post online, in which she also thanked her fans.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - One of South Korea's best-loved music idols has decided to quit the limelight for a new life as a Christian missionary in Haiti, a land devastated by a terrible earthquake in 2010 that is still reeling from its effects.

"During a short week that I spent volunteering in Haiti while living abroad, the direction of my life completely changed," said Sunye, leader and founder of the Wonder Girls, a South Korean pop group with hundreds of thousands of young fans.

"After much thought," she wrote on her group's official fan website, "I have decided to live a second life devoted to missionary work".

The earthquake that hit Haiti was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw event. Its epicentre was located some 25 kilometres west of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 13 km. The main tremor struck on Tuesday, 12 January 2010, killing some 222,000 people.

A final damage estimate has not been fully carried out. However, according to the International Red Cross and the United Nations, more than three million people have had their lives turned upside down. Even now, many are still coping with the aftermath of the quake, fighting diseases as well as hardships due to the pace of reconstruction.

In her announcement, Sunye said that she and her husband James Park, a Korean-Canadian missionary, plan to establish Global Whitestone, a non-governmental organisation, to raise money for Haitians.

In view of this, she plans to remain in Haiti for five years. Therefore, as her life takes such a completely different turn, "all of my activities as a celebrity will be an extension of this goal as well".




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