Sep. 2011, I went back to Ho Chi Minh after half a year. Within only 6 days stay, I could still have meaningful new experiences.
Supporting from Mr. Binh, who has been interested in Furoshiki project, and the owners of Overland Club, Mr. and Mrs. Tomizawa, we could organize Furoshiki exhibition and Workshop. We had about 50 participants and most of them were Vietnamese youths. I started as introducing history of Furoshik, how to develop my humanitarian works from fundraising to Furoshiki project. I also show how to hold Furoshiki to them and we practiced it together. I was glad to see they like our unique products, which are made by hand with recycled fabrics. Many ways of usages of Furoshiki made Vietnamese people interested and my social work inspire them. Some of them even asked me how to join our charitable work! I really hope people in Vietnam will use Furohsiki in daily lives more in the future to save the environment. Thank you Mr. Binh and Mr. and Mrs. Tomizawa for supporting us to make great workshop happen!
Next, as same as last year, about 10 students and 3 professors of Carrier Design course of Hosei University visited our Furoshiki
project. Like the Furoshiki workshop, I introduced why I jumped into the humanitarian work, and how I could have developed the way
to support people in need from fundraising to encourage them to be independent. Moreover, I explained our project, which is focusing on
“ECO” and “Fair-Trade” and every single Furoshiki is only one with hand-made. It was a great opportunity for the students to meet
people facing up to difficulties such as poverty and HIV. On that day, 4 workers came ; 1 male has HIV+, 3 women struggle with poverty.
(total :about 10 people in our team) For the Japanese students, the meeting place, which was one of the nunneries, Quan Am, was
interesting as Vietnamese culture. Since 2008, the nuns and monastery existence saved me a lot to continue my humanitarian work. I
truly appreciate and respect them and the place a lot!
Right before my departure from Japan to Vietnam, I found a treasure.「Ten Years from now… By Maiko Takenaka, Koyo Senior High School, January 2001, Wakayama Prefecture Essay contest（No.2）」Yes, it is an essay which was written when I was 17 years old! I was shocked to read it because what I had written is about what I have done till now! At the end of the meeting, I introduced it to the students to convey the message through my real experience “No matter how hard obstacles come to your life, and it takes time to make your dream or goal come true, please don’t give up!”
Looking back, time goes by fast, it has been about 10 years after I took an action for my dream. As I was born in Japan where I were
given the chance to have education, objects and food more than enough, I was eager to understand what street children think everyday
under the circumstances of wars and HIV/AIDS. It became my dream.
At the age of 19, my first year of the social work, I was crazy into its activity more than anything. I felt pain and cried by a gap between my hope and the reality in the society. Also, I felt angry at unfairness of the society and sometimes had negative thoughts when my wills were unaccepted. Nevertheless, I could overcome the difficulties as people encouraged me even though they were poor, prostituted, HIV infected or orphans. In Vietnam, I luckily had a chance to think about “the meaning of life” a lot. When I experienced Dengu Fever, I realized seriously that I could not keep up this work unless I had my healthy body.
Honestly, 10th year of my charity work, I have been feeling to change my direction. During the recent visit, I was happy to see Furoshiki members supporting each other and the Japanese supporter living in HCM, Ms Sari, enjoying the activity, I felt positively, “It will be fine without me in Vietnam (: “ I tasked Sari if she can maintain Furoshiki project as her style and told that I will have a right distance from Furoshiki project and just support when she needs. She said she will continue announcing and selling maiko Furoshiki at her shop, ”SHOKO”（87 LeThanhTon St, Dist.1, HCM-City： firstname.lastname@example.org ）, and at her atria, they continue the monthly meetings to check the products and pay the salary. Thank you, Sari!
Since we started this project, I have shared this motto; it is better to have flexibility for changes of the activity and products instead of attaching to our decisions at the beginning because everything is changing! Yet, I always hope they remember these in their mind,” 1st compassion to others, animals and environment, 2nd appreciation, 3rd gentle to objects, 4th right attitude at work.” Of course everyone needs money to live, and money itself is not bad, thus I wish they choose meaningful ways to spend money and bring positive results. Doing social work for long term, it is very important that both sides, supporters and people in need, can “ENJOY” the process.
The reason why I chose a snail as the project logo is because there is Gandhi’s phrase in my heart,” Good things come as a snail’s pace.” I especially want to send the message to people living with high standard. Please do not sacrifice what is crucial for only one life time by running after objects or jobs all the time, but bring awareness back to your body and mind at first, and have a enough space in your mind to give a hand to help others in need naturally, and let’s share our better future for the next generation together!
Without everyone’s help and encouragement, I could not have done any of my humanitarian work. I really appreciate all of your warm support! People who’d joined to help Furoshiki project in Vietnam, Mrs Akiyo, Lucie and Aki, all of them had babies and has been raising their beautiful babies. Isn’t it awesome that most of supporters of this project had babies (: ? Thank you to all, and I look forward to meeting you again with your babies!
In 2011, Japan got unbelievable affections by natural disasters like Tsunami and Tyhoon. However, we should not forget people are struggling everyday in all over the world. What I can do is very small, but I try my best to support our friends in need because we share same planet at the same period I am human being like others and I want to continue this activity as who I am.
Once again, thank you for your support and I always pray for the peace.