Global Fund for Education Assistance

Everything Leads to Hope for the Future

Happiness to have more friends

I got good news. A university student who I met in one of the interviews is going to work in a TV station. A company consists of several departments, such as HR, accounting, event management, and advertising. I have no idea where she will be assigned. Her first choice is working in a news department. She will be a member of our field. That makes me really happy.

She is one of the alumni from BEYOND Tomorrow. I met her for the first time in summer, 2017 when she was in the second grade of high school. At the time, I got to know a new challenge by Global Fund for Education Assistance which people having experience poverty in their childhood. Eight students who have similar background and live in children’s home challenged to tackle social issues.

I had been interviewing human resources development projects of this fund “BEYOND Tomorrow” since 2016. The reason was the change of the age of the right to vote which was lowered to 18-year-old from the Upper House election that year. Because of this social issue, I wondered how much we, adults, know about young people in that age stage who are going to become voters. That was why I interviewed to people being involved in BEYOND Tomorrow.

I, as a newspaper reporter, did not have chances that much to listen to people in their late 10s or early 20s. When I was a newly-employed reporter, the first contact of coverage of issues and accidents was the vice-chief of police. In political coverage, influential and powerful politicians are key. In each case, the target of the interview was a much older senior citizen. They are of my parents’ or grandparents’ generation.

I was always confused when interviewing members of BEYOND Tomorrow. The most anxious moment in the interviews was talking about their upbringings. I used to be convinced that it would not be allowed to ask about their life before and after starting life in children’s home. That was one of your alumni who pointed out that it is more than ok to talk about their background. They said to me, “Why you are not digging in my background? I rather want you to get to know more!”

The word of realization

What is working as a newspaper reporter? That may be meant to report news based on the fact to people as much as possible. These words let me go back to the starting point of this job. I felt that I got closer with students in BEYOND Tomorrow. I accompanied them to one of their programs “Summer Retreat” in summer, 2018.

I took action by thinking about what elements are needed to open doors of future for children in children’s home during this 5-day program. The main event was interacting with junior high and high school students living in children’s home in Mie prefecture. The theme was to enable those students with similar background to have dreams and reduce anxiety for future. I clearly remember about the night before the event.

There was one student who was worried in tears whether I could not help them.
I interviewed the student. The student was raised in a single-mother household, and the mother regularly used verbal violence. The student escaped from home and ran into children’s home. “When I saw staff in the children’s home, I felt their eyes were shining.” That moment let the student have a dream to be a staff in children’s home. The student said “I want to work as a job which supports children in difficult circumstances.”

I concluded this interview by telling the student that “How about talking about your honest feeling like you talked to me now. Students in Mie will definitely feel something special.” I strongly believed that students in the same situation would reflect themselves with background and dream of the student. This was what I wanted to share with them.

This interview might be outside of the regular content due to my hope, I want students to realize their possibility and specialty. That even convinced myself doing something irregular. The day after the event, I was glad seeing students in Mie smiling. I reported about this summer program with a 15-article series.

Hope for the future

I did a lecture on “Koko Miryoku-ka Project (Let’s make high school more attractive Project)” to the third-grade high school students in Tokyo the day before. This was one of the activities as a sovereignty education advisor of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications due to the change of age of the right of vote. In this lecture, high school students will attempt to consider revision of the school rules and suggestion of the school facility maintenance for enhancing the quality of their school.

I wondered what I wanted to tell them. That may be that “You are hope for the future.” This can be said to all of the people in their 10s, early 20s and students in BEYOND Tomorrow. Because of the declining birthrate and population, Japan will be at danger of decline of its nation’s power. Does Japan have a future? You will be heroes in the next generation. Of course, we, adults, are tackling in our stage. I want to create hope for the future together.

What is the next step then? First of all, let’s think about how to relate to society.
For example, me as a newspaper reporter, I am involved in society by reporting news which I want and need to report based on the fact. As entrepreneurs, they may contribute to society by innovating technology to increase wealth.

Here, Beyond Tomorrow, is the place where you can think of the way to connect to society. Head of an activist organization that supports refugees and displaced persons in international conflicts, creator of spreading new values, and lawyer who maintains social discipline as a legal expert. ……
BEYOND Tomorrow has people who are involved in various ways with society as board members and mentors.

You will have many role models for the future in BEYOND Tomorrow. There was success, but also failure. Concerns and struggles will lead to the present. You can find your original way to relate to society by listening to their experience. That will be a creative and attractive process. There will be hope for the future which only you can create at the end of the exploring.


Chairperson of the Paper review Committee, The Yomiuri Shimbun

Yoshihisa Watanabe

BEYOND Tomorrow

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