We are not talking about military soldiers when we refer to the ARMY today. It is about the BTS fans, the ARMYs who support and protects BTS just as actual soldiers who protect their countries no matter what happens.
With the 2013 Melon Music Awards on November 14, winning the first-ever award as ‘Best new artiste’, BTS started filling their bags with trophies. The group is the first K-pop group to have an RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) certified single in the United States. Which is given based on the number of albums and singles sold through retail and other ancillary markets. Additionally, BTS has four albums that topped the Billboard 200 album chart and won four American Music Awards and six Video Music Awards. Additionally, their new song, ‘Dynamite’ debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first all-South Korean group to hit the top spot.
The music video broke several world records, including the most viewed music video in its first 24 hours on YouTube, with over 100 million views. They’ve been invited onto late-night talk shows, sold-out stadiums, they’ve around 34 million Twitter followers, and whatnot. Also their upcoming song ‘Butter’ is going to be released in 21 May 2021. These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t know who these guys were or haven’t heard at least one of their songs.
The success of the BTS is worldwide. They have fans everywhere. And their fans not only vibe on their songs and dance all day, but they also represent BTS to everyone as their heroes in their own ways. But their most admirable way was to help people in need. For years ARMYs has supported various initiatives in the group’s name or the member’s names. Like in 2019, for Jungkook’s birthday, fans donated to ‘We Purple Rain’, a project that raised enough money to plant more than 8,000 trees in the Amazon Rainforest. Fans donated $6,400 to almost 70 organizations in Busan, including those helping kids with disabilities.
For J-Hope’s birthday, they donated and participated in projects on his behalf. Vietnamese ARMYs donated 15,000 notebooks to charities, helped to raise money for 14 children in need of palate surgeries. They donated to the Black Lives Matter movement, where they surpassed their target and even got personalities like John Cena to join in. Recently, in India, a BTS fan club donated more than Rs. 20 lakh in less than 24 hours for Covid-19 relief. Do you understand the ARMY power now?
Bangladesh also has thousands of BTS ARMYs who are ready to help the people in need of BTS. Many fan clubs are already starting this type of project now in our country. One of them is ‘BTS BANGLADESH ARMY’. They are the first official page for BTS from Bangladesh created in 2015. At first, they started the fan page to represent Bangladeshi BTS ARMYs and their love for BTS to the whole world. Slowly they started to help people using the power of BTS. One of the BTS member J-hope’s birthday was the first step to donation. The amount collected from their donation helped leukemia patients. From 2018 to till now they have done more than 30 successful donations by collecting Tk 402,531. As they were the first fan page for BTS and everyone knew them so people didn’t have any trust issues with them. They also provide every detail of the donation after it’s done.
And one of the best things they do is, they don’t use the extra saved money for themselves. They gave created a fund. Whenever some money is left they save it in their fund to use it in the future. When there’s no project going on and someone wants to donate, they tell them about the fund. They have worked with several famous foundations like SHUNTE KI PAO, PROBORTON FOUNDATION, Animal Welfare Club of Dhaka University, POTHER ISHKOOL and many more. Not only in the capital Dhaka, but they are also now trying to help people everywhere in Bangladesh.
Some of their future plans are about participating in an international event. The admin of ‘BTS BANGLADESH ARMY’ named Dishika Zaman Tasnim said, “In our latest project, ‘Project Shopno: Dreams in the Shadow’ in Suga’s birthday we spent the whole day with 40 underprivileged kids, we played with them, drew with them, we talked about their dreams and it was one of the best days.”
‘BORAHAE BD ARMY’ is another fan page of BTS. When asked what was the reason behind this page they replied that they are inspired by other international Army fan bases who help the needy people of their country through various projects. And they also want to use our Army power for the greater good of the people of our country. Their project "INNER CHILD CHARITY PROJECT" for BTS member Kim Taehyung's birthday was very successful. All thanks to the Bangladeshi ARMYs who donated whatever amount they could in that project that ‘BORAHAE BD ARMY’ were able to arrange nutritious lunch for 115 children in an orphanage called “MEGHER BARI” under ‘BIDYANONDO FOUNDATION’.
In this time of Ramadan and with the Covid-19 pandemic going on, they combined the Army power to help the unfed, unemployed people altogether. That’s why in their latest project ‘The light of Ramadan’, they collaborated with some other fan pages of BTS. They have already successfully donated to the non-profitable organization ‘Mojar School’ under the “Odommo Bangladesh Foundation” for the iftar of helpless people. The birthdays of BTS member Jin, Jimin, Taehyung, RM, Jungkook, BTS’s anniversary, and BTS ARMY Day is coming soon. So, they are planning something as always.
With the initiative of helping others through BTS, many are coming forward now. Like, the pages ‘WEVERSE BD’ and ‘Echo of BTS BD Army's Heart (E.O.B.B.A.H)’. Both pages collaborated with ‘BORAHAE BD ARMY’ in the Ramadan project. It was their first project but they are eager to do more in the future. As many K-pop fans know Weverse is an international platform for all ARMYs and other fandoms, where fans can interact directly with their idols. That’s why ‘Weverse BD’ wants to represent Bangladesh and Bangladeshi ARMYs in front of BTS and the whole world through Weverse. Their main motive is to let others know that Bangladeshi ARMYs are not just some fan girls who love their idol's songs. They can also do things to help others. That's the motto of our donating project. The page ‘Echo of BTS BD Army's Heart (E.O.B.B.A.H)’ started its journey in March of this year. Basically when BTS donated $1 million USD for the purpose of Love Myself campaign through which they through the message of love and togetherness among the Army which motivated and inspired them to help others.
Since our country suffers from poverty too, they decided to work together to help the destitute. The group’s admin Shanjida Rahman Maria said, “We are not doing this for publicity only. We should know that a small donation can create hundreds of smiles.”
These pages build the trust of people by giving the money received in a screenshot regularly and after donations, they post the receipt which is provided from the organisation they have donated to. They also do the same projects on different social media platforms. We all should remember that BTS is the reason behind all of the donations made by the ARMYs. BTS taught them to love themselves and spread the love to others. They are not just a band but also kind-hearted human beings and fans want to highlight it. And that's why these pages represent BTS.
The BTS members may be some of the highest-earning idols of all time, but they don’t keep all those wealth to themselves. Instead, they do so much for charity. As of right now, BTS’s donations are over millions and millions USD—which doesn’t even include non-cash donations and times they’ve donated privately. According to Forbes, the group contributes $4.65 billion to South Korea’s gross domestic product. Moreover, BTS contributes to poverty relief and reduction efforts, both in South Korea and internationally. Several BTS philanthropy efforts and charity donations have been administered in secret and reported after the fact.
One widely known BTS philanthropy effort is the Love Myself campaign that began in 2017. According to Love Myself’s official website, all funds raised go to supporting youth victims of school, domestic and sexual violence and provide anti-violence education to communities.
Many national and international ARMYs’ donations’ main inspiration was South Korea’s Sewol Ferry disaster which happened in 2014. In that incident, 304 passengers died and around 250 people of them were high school students from Danwon High School, on the way to a sight-seeing field trip. The ship had been loaded with twice the legal limit of cargo on its decks, and the ship’s crew had lied about the boat’s total weight. BTS’s 2017 hit song “Spring Day” is dedicated to the children who died that day. The nostalgic, longing tone of that song subtly helped keep the memory of the disaster alive in the minds of young Koreans and the media in the years after the tragedy. Many might not know that BTS and Bang Si Hyuk, the founder of Big Hit Entertainment, met with family members of the victims back in 2014. Approximately 200 days after the Sewol sank, BTS and Bang Si Hyuk paid their respects in person. They burned incense, comforted the families, and were polite throughout the visit. They also donated 100 million won (approximately $85,000) to the Sewol Ferry Disaster 416 Family Council.
We all should be generous like BTS and ARMYs. We should make donations too. Our small donations can help many lives. Since our country is also taking up this initiative, we should support them from the bottom of our hearts.
*Rumaiysa M Rahman is a 10th grader at Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, Dhaka