OSAKA -- An online charity event to help foreign children in Japan attend high school will be held on Nov. 13, as financial and language barriers prevent many such children from receiving education in the country.
The nonprofit Kobe Foreigners Friendship Center (KFC) in the west Japan prefecture of Hyogo is organizing the event. Scheduled programs include a live music performance and a symposium on challenges the children of foreign residents in Japan face. The organizer is inviting people to sign up to join by Nov. 8.
Hyogo is home to many foreign children, but a number of them give up on receiving formal education after junior high school not just because of language and cultural barriers but also due to financial reasons. KFC aims to use the profits from the Nov. 13 event for scholarships to help the children go to high school.
The event will open with a live performance by young trio "ego department," whose members have foreign roots, followed by a keynote speech from Junko Kiyota, professor at Ritsumeikan University's College of Letters in Kyoto, on "Japanese language education needed today for children with foreign roots." A university student with family from abroad will join the symposium to talk about issues involving foreign children and school education.
The planning committee set up by KFC and other organizations started a scholarship program in fiscal 2008 for children of foreign residents and has since supported foreign children to attend high schools in Hyogo. The program pays 15,000 yen (roughly $130) per month each to a total of nine recipients -- three each in their first, second and third year in high school. Since the program started, 42 children, whose home countries include China, Peru, Vietnam and the Philippines, have received the scholarship, and many have reportedly graduated from high school and gone on to university.
KFC's Yoshiko Shiki told the Mainichi Shimbun, "More and more families are struggling as the coronavirus has affected parents' jobs. I want to create educational opportunities for many children through the event."
The online event will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is 1,000 yen (about $8.76), and up to 300 people will be accepted. To register for entry, call KFC at 078-612-2402 (in Japanese), or fill in the application form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScXfqEwFqT-xDfswCy0Ki-dkCBYi3Kj_AAEAwg4RFN-ztT1IQ/viewform (available in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Ken Uzuka, Osaka Photo Department)