寄付・募金・ボランティアのセーブ・ザ・チルドレン・ジャパン

Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami Emergency response and recovery program

Voices of the Participants: “The 6th Tohoku Children’s Community Building Summit: The Dream Towns We Realize” Vol.3(2015.07.03)

The children at the 6th Tohoku Children’s Community Building Summit provided both adults and children with opportunities to report on their activities, present children’s opinions, and share their opinions on the recovery. In this sequel to our previous report on the voices of the participants, you will learn what the participants thought about the summit.

 

I would like to talk more! I would like to convey our opinions to adults and society! Children’s Voices■ 

To the question, “After participating in this summit today, do you want to convey your own and others’ opinions to adults and society?” 65 out of 68 children replied “yes.” The summit attracted children from all over the country, and the vast majority of them want to be heard and want to talk to more people. Let’s find out why by reviewing some of their comments.

 

Voices of the Children:

“If more people were to give things more thought, we would have a greater diversity of opinions, which helps to make our community a better place.” (High School Senior, Iwate Prefecture)

“We as children are very creative so we can bring new ideas, however, we need help from adults to carry them out.” (High School Senior, Miyagi Prefecture)

“We are equal members of our society, so we want to participate in community building and in helping to create a child-friendly community.” (High School Senior, Miyagi Prefecture)

“I feel like our opinions have been useful.” (High School Junior, Miyagi Prefecture)

“We can’t convey any message unless we speak out. We are fortunate to have adults who will listen to us when we want them to.” (High School Junior, Tokyo)

“Since we children are the future generations, our opinions should matter. If we don’t convey our messages, it looks as though children’s opinions are ignored.” (High School Junior, Saitama Prefecture)

“I wouldn’t like it if we just leave things to adults. Without speaking out, we will never be understood.” (High School Junior, Aichi Prefecture)

“I think our point of view helps to make things better.” (Elementary School Student, Okinawa Prefecture)

 

Participants’ Thoughts, Voices of the Adults

Throughout the summit, we obtained many beneficial opinions from the participants, both adults and children. The participants, especially the adults, seemed to have gained new valuable perspectives.

 

Voices of the Adults

“It made me re-realize the importance of children and their roles in our community.” (40s, female)

         “A lot of children are capable of reasoning just like grownups. I want to let more people know that.” (20s, female)

              “The children proved the assumption, that they couldn’t think like adults yet, wrong. As a matter of fact, the children are able to maximize their capacity once they become conscious of their roles and responsibilities.” (50s, male)

              “This was my first time attending the summit and I was impressed by the high level of awareness possessed, not only by the adults, but also by the children who will be forging the future. It made me realize that I can try relating to others more.” (20s, male)

              “It gave me an opportunity to reaffirm that children’s voices are hardly reflected in society and that they are frustrated by this fact.” (30-40s, male)

              “Some of the children seemed cautious when talking to adults during the discussion. I feel the need to have more opportunities where everybody, regardless of their age, can engage in proactive dialogues with each other.” (20s, male)

              “It made me feel that we, as adults, need to do more.” (30s, male)

              “My experience today left me with an impression that we need the hands of children to achieve more.” (60s, male)

 

Realizing a Society Where More Children Can Speak Out and Participate

During the summit, we provided many opportunities for participants, regardless of age, to equally exchange their opinions. Some people could feel the social change brought about by child participation: “I see it is becoming more common for the children to share their opinions with adults.” Others expressed their hope for child participation in society to expand: “I do see more children are participating in society in disaster-affected areas, and I want this movement to change the whole nation,” and, “I hope children become used to participating in society when they are small so that our society will grow with its citizens attaining a higher level of social awareness.”

Children are not only tomorrow’s adults, but are important members of our communities and society right here and now. In order to achieve a society where more children can take part in community building and also help tackle the issues surrounding them, why don’t we start paying more attention to their voices? Speaking Out From Tohoku!