Schoolgirl Supports Family by Collecting Waste, Netizens Moved

The collection of waste cardboard boxes is a sight usually associated with an older Korean generation who finds it hard for ends to meet – receiving a minimal monetary reward in exchange of their collected waste.

Recently though, a heart warming story of a middle-school girl collecting scrap paper and boxes has been trending on HumorUniv. The stills are from an SBS human interest story called “Yoon-mi’s Winter Tale,” which gave an insight into Yoon-mi’s life, from her ill grandmother to her unique way of supporting her family.

Aside from the expected name calling, netizens reacted positively were moved by her home life and enlivened by her spirit.

From HumorUniv:

Discovery: A cart loaded with waste paper!

Kim Yun-mi and her cart, together attracting much attention online.

16 year-old Yoon-mi’s winter tale.

Kim, mid-interview with SBS.

Litter collecting middle-school girl Kim Yoon-mi (16): It’s not too hard. Unless there’s a lot to do.

Yun-mi explains her motivation.

Because my grandmother is so ill, I get so uneasy if I stay at home.

Yun-mi turns the tables and starts grilling the interviewers.

(Asks producers) Do you know any celebrities?

Despairing at the responses

(Producers) Erm.. There’s Park Mi-sun Lim Sung-hoon Pak So-hyeon. The celebrities our production team knew.

Looking saddened by the results

Yun-mi reveals some of her sad back story.

I’d like to just hang around and play, but because of my grandmother’s illness I must help.

Rice, you know rice right?

Dinner is Served!

Enjoying some cooking with the family.

Noodles, that is all.

Encouraging people to drink.

Just drink, I beg you…

Some dinner table chat.

Among ourselves (Yoon-mi and her sister) we usually only cook one pack of ramyeon

The family meal.

Home-based interview

Kim Yoon-ji, her 18 year-old sister: Collecting boxes makes my hands feel cold, that’s probably why I was given these gloves.

Doing a bit of make-up.

A Mirror Princess, according to SBS.

Yoon-mi: Mirror princess!

Working away and studying dilligently, no doubt.

A quick chat with a classmate.

A classmate: Mum says I should be half as good as Yoon-mi…

Getting back to work.

I’m quite busy today, so I plan to work quickly…

A heavily laden cart of recyclables.

A trip to the shops.

It’s my first time, but I’ll give it a go

Making food together as a family.

Just at the tricky bit.

Some final words on her grandmother.

I’ve never lived separately with my grandmother so I really want see as much of her as I can.

Yun-mi's family, an idyllic image.

The grandmother in question, and an idyllic image of the family together.

Comments from HumorUniv:




I’m the national sexy mother symbol of Korea.


The guardian of peace, defender of justice, the reserve military security protecting the school grounds ~! Every time I make the first comment, it picks up my mood! Haha! [user was presumably the first commenter]


(in response to 민국엄마) 민국엄마님 you must be new here, posting such crap on this website is an open invitation for a ‘down-vote’.


Ah, an angel from heaven….


Personally, I’d really like to say something naughty and provocative about this article, but I’ll refrain myself.


Volunteers, rise up! Go and help her!


You guys must marry good girls like her.


(In response to 까리하나) Yeah, brother!


(In response to 까리하나) Yeah, stepdad!


(In response to 얼룩호랭이) Yeah, Sister!


(In response to 지랄발기) Yeah, Grandad!


(In response to 까리하나, 지랄발기 and 얼룩호랭이) Have you thought of marriage from the girl’s point of view? People seeing this kind of girl and saying she should marry to one of HumorUniv members seem so cruel ㅠㅠ.


Yeah, brother.


Ne [ne means ‘yes’ in Korean] ne, chicken! [Ne-ne chicken is a Korean chicken franchise]






It’s so cold her cheeks have reddened… I feel proud of her and sorry for her; there’re millions of feelings and thoughts criss-crossing in my heart. 


If I say ‘I would rather date a girl like her than one of those boseuls, even though it’s not going to be easy,’ then do I get arrested under the Child and Youth Protection Act?

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  • dim mak

    Wow I didn’t know they made sushi rolls like the japanese!

  • vincent

    Awww that’s nice, kids these days are so selfish, it’s nice to see there are still people like her. @disqus_AVYWdcFcAd:disqus sushi rolls…lol

    • dim mak

      nobody took the bait :<

  • A Lu

    That sure is a good girl.
    But, normally high school students can easily get part-time jobs in restaurants or MacDonalds or supermarkets and stuff like that. That would be much better than what she’s doing now, wouldn’t it? Warmer and better paid

    • krzyart

      She’s a middle school student though, not high school. Most students are too busy studying to have a part-time job anyway (just based off of the students I’ve taught anyway).

    • chucky3176

      I don’t know how old she is, but if she’s too young, she would not be legally allowed to work due to child labor laws. These are the type of people that Korean social services should be targeting to help with income supplements. But they’re too busy helping out growing number of migrant foreign workers to care about the real Korean citizens.

  • Jung

    Someone needs to learn how to translate.Whoever is translating is translating it via software. “A classmate who resembles Yoon-mi: Mum says I look like I’m half Yoon-mi…” Correct translation would be “A classmate: Mum says I need to be half as good as her” Half the other captions are translated totally incorrectly as well. It’s great you guys are conveying foreign media to the western audience, but not so much when the translations are incorrect. Wouldn’t be a problem if it was minor wording, but as in the case above it has a totally different meaning.

    • Sillian

      Yea….I don’t wanna sound rude but I checked Huw’s other translations and found many errors. Wish I could proofread for him.

    • Thanks for bringing that to our attention Jung, it appears this particular article slipped under the radar. Small errors are often unavoidable, and ultimately forgivable, but you’re right that this one had an unacceptable level of translation mistakes.

      These mistakes have now been corrected, and Huw is aware of this – I’m sure he doesn’t wish to incur my wrath. I should point out that 99% of the time our translations are accurate and it’s something we take very, very seriously, lest we appear to be misrepresenting or altering the perception of any Korean news story or blog post.

      We can therefore only apologise for dropping the ball on this one.

      • I should apologise here too, I’m afraid just didn’t translate to standard, sorry. James has let me know, and it won’t happen again.

        • oops, I’m posting through my comedy twitter, but yeah it’s me, Huw.

  • Sillian

    I found many critical translation errors. Maybe Huw has to get proofreading from other translators. No offense. Just for the integrity of articles.

  • dk2020

    What a wonderful girl .. but this was normal for Korean kids back when I was growing up. If your parents owned a shop you usually work there on the weekends or what not .. for free .. hopefully kids aren’t too spoiled these days ..

    • RegisterToPost

      Too late. Since corporal punishment was banned in schools, kids have become whiny and self-entitled without any thought of what their parents went through.

  • lonetrey / Dan

    D’awww, what a sweet girl! <3

  • Fire

    a lovely girl, a hardship a smile
    beauty and pain goes hand in hand

  • 1. If it wasn’t for all the Hangul, I would have sworn this occurred in China.

    2. This might just be the sanest, most feel-good article I’ve seen on kBang. I actually feel *happier* after having seen it, rather than the usual mix of being disturbed, perplexed, and/or infuriated.

    3. In absence of having seen the actual video (it seems like the comments are responding to the stills/screenshots, though I haven’t checked), I’m somewhat doubtful that this footage is actually recent. It looks like it was filmed in the early 2000s.

    4. The girl is/was only 16, which means there unfortunately still is/has-been plenty of time for her to become corrupted by the cynical, materialistic pressures of modern Korean society. :(

    5. She’s got an adorable, cute face. Not only should she never go under the knife for aesthetic purposes, but maybe others who do ought to consider trying to look like her, for a more natural, “wholesome” look.

  • Kate

    Whatever man she meets when she grows up will be lucky. If I were a man I would much, much rather meet and marry a girl like her (sweet, responsible, selfless, caring, frugal) then some materialistic pretty diva whose only concern is her face/weight and the latest LV bag to show off to her friends.

  • Your Sexy Cousin Rex

    Obviously, she’s saving up for her plastic surgery operation.

  • Digitalsoju

    I never understood why people do this. Collecting cardboard boxes surely can’t be paying better than a part time job elsewhere.

    I give her credit for at least not selling her body like a lot of women seem to be doing these days in some sort of fashion, whether it’s online brokering for dirty ajushis who want HS girls, kiss bang, room salon, or anma.

  • PixelPulse

    Such rosy and full cheeks~
    Its nice to see kids put hard effort in helping family.

  • 3arlyBoy

    Hardworking girl. The last photo is the best. I love my grandma so it’s nice to see others indulging in grand-love too. :)

  • nyinyi
  • ultimategore

    they steal newspapers!! fucking scumbags!!

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