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

Children’s Opinions! “The 6th Tohoku Children’s Community Building Summit: The Dream Towns We Realize” (2015.05.23)

A total of 82 children and 131 adults from all over the country participated in The 6th Tohoku Children’s Community Building Summit. During the summit, a “Children’s Opinions” session was held, through which members of the clubs appealed to adult participants. What did the members who have been working for the recovery effort have to say? How did the adults respond? Let’s find out!

 

■“Children’s Opinions” Messages to Adults from the Children, and to Children from the Adults.■

 

To the Government and the Reconstruction Agency:

A member of the Children’s Community Building Club in Ishinomaki City, High School Senior, Female:

“My experience at the Children’s Community Building Club gave me opportunities to think deeply on our community building. In order to ensure revitalization of our community, we do need the hands of the next generation. I would like to ask the Government and the Reconstruction Agency to let the public know what happened here today, so that the Children’s Community Building Clubs can carry on their activities in more areas.”

 

Mr. Fujita, Director for General Policy Planning, Reconstruction Agency:

“I was listening to your presentations in the morning and I was impressed by your passion and the fact that not only the club members, but also government officials and community members are joining forces together and achieving meaningful results.

There is no need to waste efforts like yours, and we need to spread the movement. I would like to post an article about today’s summit on our website since emailed newsletters do not seem to be sufficient.

I also would like to inform NPOs nationwide, as we have good connections with them. There are a good number of private groups making efforts for reconstruction after 3.11, and we hope to see this type of movement grow, not only nationally, but globally also.”

 

Mr. Suzuki, Deputy Mayor of Yamada Town, Iwate Prefecture:

“I work for the government, so I take its standpoint. I hope child participants tell someone what you’ve learned. I myself am planning on doing the same and to send messages through LINE (a phone application) to my ex-coworkers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Let’s work hard together!”

 

To People in the Education Community:

A Member of the Children’s Community Building Club in Ishinomaki City, High School Senior, Female:

“The Children’s Community Building Club taught me how to listen to other people’s opinions and how to share my own opinions with others. I would like to say to education professionals, please create more opportunities for us to discuss community building like this! For instance, why not incorporate something like this summit into the school curriculum?”

 

Mr. Takeuchi, Lifelong Learning Division, Board of Education in Ishinomaki City:

“I think it is a great idea to incorporate opinion sharing into the general education program. I used to teach at a junior high school before I started working for the government. I am planning on going back to teaching in a couple of years, and I would love to carry out these ideas then.

As a part of a general education program, we should invite students from other schools for networking, or organize junior leaders’ networking activities outside the school where students can learn from sharing opinions among each other. In order to realize those ideas, I myself will continue working hard at it.”

 

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To Community Members:

A member of the Children’s Community Building Club in Yamada Town, High School Sophomore, Female:

“Through my experience at the Children’s Community Building Club, I became more interested in my community. Now I care about Yamada Town and make decisions based on what is good for the community as a bearer of the future. I would like to say to other community members, please join us and create an environment that promotes everybody’s participation!”

 

Mr. Abe, President of the Yamada Town Chamber of Commerce:

“Thank you very much. You have been working hard for the community. In fact, Yamada’s Children’s Communication Center (tentative name) is one of the achievements brought about by the countless discussions that you had with various parties, including us. Let’s stay active!

I would like to ask you to give us ideas for a name, or a catch phrase for our new commercial facility. We also welcome any unique suggestions for events to be held there, and please come to our meetings. Let’s work shoulder to shoulder and do our best!”

 

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To Parents:

A member of the Children’s Community Building Club in Ishinomaki City, High School Junior, Male:

“The Children’s Community Building Club taught me how to speak out positively. I would like to ask parents to please have faith in us, and watch our activities without telling us what to do.”

 

Ms. Miyamoto, Parent of a member of the Children’s Community Building Club in Ishinomaki:

“I totally agree with what you said. It is only natural for us to support our children. I am willing to continue doing so. I have participated in the summit a couple of times before and made friends with other parents.

I think while we, as parents, are trying to support our children, we don’t really know what you do, and that makes us anxious. We worry because we love you. So please educate us on what you do. If you tell us, “We are doing this and that for our community, so please support us,” and, “Please come to the summit to see how much we have grown and what we have done,” that will help.

I myself have attended the summits in past years and witnessed the growth of many of you. The same children whom I used to see being very nervous years ago are now actively speaking out to adults using their own words. This is so wonderful. I am sure any parent would love to see that.

It will be best if we all stay connected and continue making a difference in this country. Thus, I have been and will be supporting you.”

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To the Participants of the Summit:

A Member of the Children’s Community Building Club in Yamada Town, High School Junior, Female:

“By participating in the Children’s Community Building Club, I was able to convey my messages. I was happy to learn that there are adults who support us. I would like to tell the participants of this summit, please give us your feedback rather than just listening to us. It helps us a whole lot. Also, please spread our messages to the whole country.”

 

Ms. Futaba, Children’s Information Research Center:

“I was very moved by what children’s voices could do. They are reflected in the community building process. It is amazing to learn that each member is willing to listen to the adults and other community members. In fact, they asked each of us our opinions, which pressured me to listen to them carefully.

When I go back to Osaka, I am going to let people know your achievements and transmit the message that children can do things without us, utilizing booklets and forums. I will also work hard to do the homework that you gave me.

I was really happy to see someone like you, whom I can communicate with, took the first step for such a big movement.”

 

 

For Those Who Do Not Know About 3.11:

A Member of the Children’s Community Building Club in Rikuzentakata City, 6th Grader, Female:

“For those who do now know about 3.11, please help out those who have been affected by 3.11 and are still suffering.”

 

Ms. Nakaza, Akagi Children’s Center, Yonabaru Town, Okinawa Prefecture:

“This is our third time attending the summit. After each summit, we have been passing on what was shared in order to remember 3.11. In fact, our child representatives for the last summit shared their experiences of the summit to other children. About three years ago, we even distributed the “Future Newspaper” created by members of the Children’s Community Building Club. I would like to continue such activities to remember 3.11.”

 

To Save the Children Japan:

A member of the Children’s Community Building Club in Ishinomaki City, 7th Grader, Female:

“It would be very disappointing if we lose opportunities like this where members of the Children’s Community Building Clubs from all over the country can get together and exchange opinions. I would like to say this to the staff members of Save the Children Japan, please continue the Children’s Community Building Clubs of Tohoku Summits!”

 

Mr. Koide, Manager of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Emergency Response and Recovery Program, Save the Children Japan:

“We thank you for sharing your passion. Child participation is one of the key elements that the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Save the Children’s priority, values the most.

You might have heard from our staff, but this emergency response and recovery program will reach a milestone at the end of this year. Looking back at the history of the program, what we have achieved together with the children is highly meaningful. Although we might not be able to continue organizing regular summits like before, we will definitely keep listening to children’s voices to make this society a better place. Hopefully, Children’s Community Building Clubs will be permeated nationwide!

We are open to your suggestions for specific activities, so please do not hesitate and let us know your ideas!”

 

 

Children Speak Out and Participate in Society, Speaking Out From Tohoku!

Back in April, each of the Children’s Community Building Clubs wrote a message under the theme of “Children’s Opinions,” and the day before the summit, they elected seven representatives to present them at the summit.

 

We often hear people talking about children, “Their opinions are willful,” or, “They do not understand.” However, are these statements true? Through our experience, Save the Children re-acknowledges the power of children. They are capable, they are part of our society, and they are our equal partners.

 

Children in Tohoku will continue their efforts toward recovery and will keep speaking out and participating in society, so please support them! You can do this by starting with a simple thing such as paying closer attention to children’s voices.