BEYOND Tomorrow March Orientation Program 2017 was organized for the participants of BEYOND Tomorrow’s Scholarship Programs: Japan Future Scholarship Program and Endeavor 2017. It was an opportunity for the select 30 students to think about what they can do for others and society, envision their future, and think about what they should be doing for the year ahead during the 4-day program. They also visited Tohoku disaster communities, where they deepened their understanding of the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami that hit the region 6 years ago and learned how youths lived their lives in the aftermath of the shocking disaster. At the end of the program, they presented their action plans on what they can do for society.
Organized by Global Fund for Education Assistance
Supported by Cabinet Office of Japan and Nippon Foundation
In partnership with Rikuzentakata City, Iwate prefecture
Dates & Location
Dates: March 19 ? 22, 2017
Location: Tokyo, Iwate and Miyagi prefecture
- 21 students enrolled in Japan Future Scholarship Program 2017(College-level students)
- 9 students enrolled in Endeavor 2018 (high school students living in foster care group homes)
|Day 1||Orientation, ice-breaking
Dialogue session: My story to date, my story forward
Tokyo city tour
|Day 2||Reading Session: “Yodaka-no-hoshi by Kenji Miyazawa”
Developing action plans
Guidance for Tohoku field work
|Day 3||Transfer to Tohoku
Session with Futoshi Toba, Mayor of Rikuzentakata city
Site visits in Rikuzentakata city: Temporary housing, Tapic 45, former site of Kesen junior high school.
Site visits in Kesennuma city: Fishing port and Fujita Seikanten
Dinner and onsen experience in Minamisanriku Hotel Kanyo
Discussion and development of final presentation
|Day 4||Transfer to Sendai
Sendai Forum and final presentation
Orientation: My story to date, my story forward
Upon the start of the program, students shared their stories. They talked about their happy memories and painful experiences, what made them who they are today, and what they hope to do into the future. The conversation covered a wide range of topics, and it was an opportunity for them to understand each other and also for each of them to look into himself/herself.
Reading session: Yodaka-no-hoshi by Kenji Miyazawa
Using Kenji Miyazawa’s shorty story “Yodaka-no-hoshi” as a text, the students explored the concept of life in light of his/her own life and shared their thoughts with others. In examining the simple, short story, the students found new perspectives and ways of looking at things.
Developing action plans
Divided in 4 teams, the students organized various social issues they experienced themselves and developed action plans on what they can do to address those issues. They presented issues based on their own experiences such as issues surrounding children in foster care group homes, healthcare issues for social welfare recipients, etc., and also proposed actions such as building a community to connect youths, information sharing for minority groups, etc..
Tokyo Forum was organized as a finale of the program in Tokyo and was attended by leaders representing different fields. The program included student remarks and group presentations.
I hope that society will help nurture individuals that can stay positive and work for others in society, no matter how tough the circumstance might be
First Lady of Japan
There are times things go well and do not go well. It is important to know why you are pursuing what you are pursuing, hold your goal, and continue the efforts until you realize your dream. You must seize the fortune by the forelock.
Member the House of Representatives, Minister for Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens
My friends at BEYOND Tomorrow helped me to have a dream ? I will never forget how thankful I was for the rest of my life
Department of Infant Education, Aomori Chuo Junior College (Graduate of Aomori High School, Aomori Prefecture)
When her parents divorced, Saori’s mother became a single mother. But when she died, Saori found herself living alone with her younger siblings. Though she had always dreamed of becoming an English tutor, she gave up that goal in order to stay at home and be with her family. It was around this time when she joined BEYOND Tomorrow. She suddenly found herself surrounded by peers who, like her, suffered personal travesties, but were motivated to turn their pain into an opportunity to pursue their dreams. Inspired by them, Saori discovered her passion to build a foster care group home. Just as BEYOND Tomorrow has helped her find her passion, she hopes that she, too, can help others find their dreams.
Just as I was supported by social safety nets, I want to engage in empowering those in poverty and those supported by social welfare
Ueda High School, Nagano Prefecture
Minako entered a foster care group home when she was seven years old. She joined BEYOND Tomorrow as a high school sophomore, and it turned out to be the richest year of her life. Though her time at the program has been short, she knows she has changed for the better, having had the opportunity build friendships with peers who can discuss important topics that normally do not surface in every day life. Having benefited from many adults who have supported her and helped her grow into her own skin, she hopes to be an empowering force for others. Her goal is to work not just in Japan but also abroad, reaching out to those struggling with poverty or in need of social supports. To realize this dream, she is hoping to study international relations or social development in university.
Tohoku visit and Sendai Forum
The second half of the program took place in Tohoku, including visits to Rikuzentakata, Kesennuma and Minamisanriku. The students visited the temporary housing and memorial, had conversation with local business persons, learned about the disaster and gained an understanding of how youths in their generation moved forward in the aftermath of the disaster. At the end of the program, they made final presentations on their action plans at Sendai Forum held in Sendai city.
You have to save your own life yourself ? that is the principle. In an effort to prevent deaths in a disaster situation, the premise is that each person saves his/her own life
Mayor of Rikuzentakata city, Iwate prefecture
Tomorrow than today, the day after than tomorrow: if you keep walking by a step at a time ? even a half-step ? you will make a big difference in 5 or 10 years time
Governor of Miyagi prefecture
It is a miracle that I met my friends from Tohoku. They have such a precious place in my heart. Thinking they might have been killed in the 3.11 disaster, I can only be thankful that they survived and are there
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kochi University (Graduate of Kochi Commercial High School, Kochi City)
Students enrolled in BEYOND Tomorrow’s Scholarship Program are expected to participate in various leadership activities including this Orientation Program and grow to become individuals that can give back to younger ones and to society at large.