Originally summarized on Twitter here.
Hug It Forward is a multicultural organization operating at the grassroots level in the region of Latin America, with an emphasis in Guatemala. They facilitate education and awareness around improved trash management methods via the construction of bottle classrooms. Bottle classrooms are constructed using eco-bricks, which are plastic bottles stuffed with inorganic trash. During the project process, entire communities come together to build a more environmentally responsible educational space for their future.
Hug It Forward also raises awareness about the importance of community empowerment as a driving force towards long-term ownership of every bottle classroom project, proper trash management and the reduction of inorganic waste that plagues communities. Raising awareness is as much a priority to Hug It Forward as facilitating community-led bottle classroom constructions.
During the month of September, 645 ARMY from 39+ countries raised $7,935.09 USD in honour of Namjoon's birthday! This is enough for Hug It Forward to build a 3-classroom middle school out of recycled material in the community of Maria del Carmen in Guatemala! The community has 52 middle school aged students who will finally have a school of their own!
Construction of the school began in mid October and we hope to be able to provide ARMY with photo updates as the school takes shape. As always, our friends at Hug It Forward have mailed a letter to Namjoon and Big Hit Entertainment to give them a full report of all the good ARMY accomplished in September. We encourage everyone who participated in the campaign by donating, retweeting, or sharing links to save a copy of the letter. Everyone who participated can share the credit for the praise in that letter!
The overwhelming response of 62.7% from the 643 ARMY that participated in choosing the cause for Namjoon's campaign wanted to support a project centred on the environment. Hug It Forward was a great fit as it also accommodated the 12.8% of ARMY who wanted to choose education as a cause for Namjoon's campaign.
Deciding which aspect of environmentalism to focus on was a difficult choice for the team. The majority of our info threads are focused on recovering from human-made and natural disasters, which made us very aware that changing our way of life to one that's more sustainable is paramount.
Our non-monetary bonus mission for September, Recycle With Namjoon, challenged ARMY to up their recycling game and to start upcycling instead of discarding old items.
We provided ARMY with some examples of upcycling like:
Turn old jeans into bags or tool belts
Create birdhouses, wall art, or jewelry holders out of wine corks
Turning old t-shirts into a quilt
Make milk jugs and other plastic bottles into planters and desk organizers
Turn k-cups into miniature lanterns
Knitting out of plarn
As expected, ARMY showed us their crafty side and told us their tips for recycling and upcyling.
We also recirculated our environmental advocacy backgrounder to remind ARMY that recycling and upcycling can only take us so far in combating waste. The backgrounder was originally written for the We Purple Earth project, something we do in the 48-hours surrounding each member's birthday.
During Namjoon's 48-hour donation window, more than 674 ARMY joined us to plant 8260 trees! With just two birthday projects, BTS ARMY has become the top fundraiser for One Tree Planted! The combined number of trees from Jungkook and Namjoon's flash campaigns are enough to cover Wembley Stadium 19 times! As with Jungkook's We Purple Earth fundraiser, ARMY voted to plant Namjoon's in Peru to help regrow the Amazon rainforest.
September is a busy month as many ARMY are returning from summer vacation and heading back to work and school, but as always they came through with amazing results! Thank you for supporting the students in Maria del Carmen, Hug It Forward, and environmental projects all over the world in honour of Namjoon's birthday!
November 2020 update: The construction of the school in Maria del Carmen is now finished! You can see photos of the construction process and finished school in Hug It Forward's blog.