from News Letter vol 2.
In summer 2008, I made step to Vietnam as the place for me to challenge how much I could make a real action. My first time to visit Vietnam was when I was 19 years old, since then I have continued to support children and adults who are disadvantaged. As I speak my Vietnam’s experiences to people, they always ask me,” Why Vietnam? What made you to start doing humanitarian work?”
I met a Vietnamese woman when I was in the United States as a student and she shared me about the reality in Vietnam, many people were poor and needed help. I was looking for the opportunity to see the reality in developing country as having been born and raised in Japan. It was common to go to school, have choices to buy clothes and to eat, sleep in the house and have parents. However, as I was a child, I doubted about what I had been able to do as normal. I was curious about other children who were born and raised in developing countries. “Don’t they think to commit suicide? What’s in their mind everyday? If I were them, how possible I could live… ” I just wanted to find the true answer by myself, not just from media.
In 2001, I began to go into the humanitarian work. Same as now, I do not like to work under any organization. However, Thao Dan dropping center for street children was the place for me to understand about those children’s real lives. Some of them were orphans; some came to city to find a job from poor provinces. Poverty made them become street children. I had tried to spend time with them to build a close relationship as much as I could. I cared and loved them because I felt what they want was that. To research about the reality of street-life, and poverty I often walked around the street. Many people from very young age sell lotteries, flowers, being robbers, being a shoe-shiner, or prostitution. The issues of drug-users and HIV/AIDS have never been gone. Moreover, I visited many locations of those people’s places to live. Every time, it was hard to accept what I saw is real. If I did not go out from Japan, I could not understand there are so many people live without having clean running water, enough food, cloth, space to sleep, to cook and hygiene.
The more learning about the reality of people who were born next to poverty, the more I felt pain
as realizing of helplessness. Also, I often felt anger to the society of unfairness.
In 8 years, I have learned a lot about what is the reality in this world and what is the fate for my life. I do not want to conclude after my experiences that I have a passion to share what I have seen and felt from my true experiences.
In Japan, I have many opportunities to share my experiences, at schools, events, newspapers, radio and just in my daily lives. It is very important to make them what we can do in our daily lives is miracle. Many people have complains all the time, but once they know about the fact of Vietnam, they remember what important caring about others and appreciating for what we have.
Although thinking to move to Vietnam to challenge how much I could devote my energy to people who extremely need help. However, I found the positive possibility to make their future better by Vietnamese people; I could realize Japan has much more serious issues. Because I am Japanese, love my tradition and beautiful nature, now I have a strong will to devote my ability and energy to my people. Nevertheless, I do not mean I completely leave the connection from Vietnam; I love and appreciate Vietnam a lot, without true experiences in Vietnam (including Dengue fever!hahaha) I could not be who I am now. I support people, who are extremely poor by providing the chance to work to make Furoshiki. That is “Furoshiki project.”