The Enable Kids Project team had an enriching exchange visit in Hamamatsu City, Japan from September 23 to 25, 2016. Hamamatsu is an industrial city in Shizuoka Prefecture where large motorcycle companies such as Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha are based. It is also home to companies which manufacture musical instruments, namely Yamaha, Kawai and Roland. In migration terms, Hamamatsu City is distinctive in Japan because it has attracted many migrants, including Nikkeijin (descendants of Japanese migrants) from Latin America, largely those from Brazil. We are pleased to share with you some of the highlights from our visit.
On September 23, the team visited the Hamamatsu Foundation for International Communication and Exchange (HICE) to learn about the organization’s programs that support foreign resident communities and those which promote intercultural initiatives. The latter includes Japanese language education, multilingual consultation and supporting cultural exchange events.
In the afternoon, the team visited Mundo de Alegria, a school established by the Latin American community. The school provides education to the children of Nikkeijin from Latin America following the curriculum in Brazil or Peru so that the children can continue their studies in their parents’ and/or their own home countries should the family decide to return to Brazil or Peru. The team also had a chance to talk to the school principal and some senior high school students who are preparing for exams to enter universities in Japan.
The following day, on September 24, the team attended a children’s athletics festival organized by Shin-ei Land, a nursery school founded by the owner of a manpower company for the children of migrant employees. The school aims to prepare the children to enter Japanese schools. The morning event brought together Brazilian, Japanese and Filipino children and their parents who participated in the games.
Later, at the Nambu Community Center, the team observed the Nihongo classes of Filipino Nagkaisa, a non-profit volunteer organization comprised of Filipino members living in Japan. The organization provides educational and training support for Filipinos living in the country, including Japanese classes for children in elementary and in junior high school. The language classes also offer Filipino children and young people an opportunity to interact with each other.
On September 25, the team held a forum at HICE to share findings on the mapping of child-oriented policies and programs conducted in the three countries. The program included a panel on the initiatives of the Hamamatsu City government and NGOs, and a talk by a Japanese-Filipino youth about his experience of migrating from the Philippines and growing up in Japan. Overall, the forum encouraged conversations among the participants on how to promote a more enabling environment for children of migrant and multicultural families through initiatives and efforts of different stakeholders.
The Enable Kids Project would like to thank everyone who participated in the exchange visits and final symposium in Hamamatsu City. Special thanks go to Dr. Sachi Takahata and Dr. Itaru Nagasaka for organizing the study visit.