“I Am Important, And So Are You.”
Domestic and International Emotional Care Programs
Ashinaga offers programs across Japan to provide emotional care to those who have lost one or both parents. The first rule of our emotional care programs is to respect both yourself and your emotions as well as other participants’ feelings. That is why, at the beginning of a program, we repeat the mantra, “I am important, and so are you.”
We offer grief programs for elementary to junior high school students or grief programs for guardians and parents, available through the Rainbow House. We also offer emotional care through tsudoi, a gathering of high school and university students that encourages them to reflect upon their future with their peers who have been through similar life situations. Find further details below:
It is crucial that children who have lost their parents are able to receive ongoing emotional support and have access to a safe place to release stressful emotions. Approximately 600 children lost either one or both parents as a result of the Great Hanshin Earthquake that struck the Kobe region in 1995. In response, Ashinaga created facilities to help children recover from their emotional wounds. The Kobe, Tokyo, Ishinomaki, Rikusentakata, and Sendai Rainbow Houses were built as places of healing where, in the company of trained staff, children can visit, play and share their feelings with other children who have lost parents.
The Learning Support Program (LSP)
The LSP is a one-on-one mentorship and educational support program that pairs Ashinaga students and Beyond Tomorrow (a similar organization) university-level scholarship recipients with elementary and middle school students in Japan. All mentees have a previous association with Ashinaga programs. Pairs meet once a week via Zoom for a study session where mentors offer both educational and personal development support. In addition to the basic program structure, the LSP also offers special events for participants ranging from English language and cultural exchange to talks by motivational speakers and other extracurricular activities aimed at deepening experiences.
Every summer, at nine locations across Japan, Ashinaga students gather for four days of activities. Named tsudoi (Japanese for ‘gathering’), these events have been taking place for over 40 years and are a core component of Ashinaga’s identity. For the approximately 1,000 high school and 600 university students who participate every year, tsudoi is a transformative point in their lives, that encourages them to reflect upon their future.
For many students, this retreat is the first time they have been surrounded by peers who have had similar experiences: the loss of one or both parents, and the challenges that can follow. Students are placed in small groups led by senior students, thereby allowing members to develop strong friendships.
In each regional office, Ashinaga holds AAI Tsudoi which are tailored to the needs of the Scholars enrolled in the Ashinaga Africa Initiative. These focus on leadership and include sessions on professional, personal, and academic development.
Ten Years Since March 11, 2011: Remembering the Devastating Triple Disaster in Tohoku