It is the holiday season and everyone is busy with various preparations, including cooking, cleaning, decorating and spending money to buy gifts for loved ones. It is easy to get wrapped up in the heavy consumerism promoted this time of year, but if you are fortunate enough to have some extra money, consider spreading the holiday love around to those who are in need of a little help. There are so many worthy causes that it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which one to support. With that in mind, I have assembled a small list of organizations in Japan that could use your support, so you can get started on your way to celebrating the Giving Season.
TELL Japan - Tokyo English Life Line supports mental health in Japan by offering an English telephone hotline, a text chat, and counselling in both English and Japanese. It aims to provide effective support and counseling services to Japan's international community.
Heart Tokushima - a registered NPO based in Tokushima run solely on a volunteer basis and funded entirely through donations. It is a no kill animal shelter with the goal of fostering a community in which companion animals can live free from suffering or cruelty. Their activities include rescue, care and re-homing of stray, abandoned, abused and neglected animals, as well as promoting spay/neuter and responsible pet ownership through education and support.
YouMeWe - is a Tokyo-based NPO with more than 10 years of experience building supporting relationships with local orphanages. Their main goal is to assist children growing up in institutionalized homes to become fully capable and financially independent young adults.
Peace Winds Japan - provides humanitarian assistance around the world and also within Japan, including assistance for those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the recent typhoons Faxai and Hagibis. They are an NGO with headquarters in Japan and operating in many parts of the world, devoted to supporting people in distress, and threatened by conflict, poverty, or other turmoil.
Japan Platform - an international emergency humanitarian aid organization focused on issues of refugees and natural disasters, offering quick and effective aid in response to global developments. They conduct such aid through a cooperation system with NGOs, business communities, and the government of Japan.
Second Harvest Japan - Japan’s first and only food bank operating on a national level. Their goal is to create a Food Safety Net in Japan by delivering food to children's homes, single-mother shelters, centers for the disabled as well as other welfare organizations and individuals in need. They work with food manufacturers and other companies and aim to use food to create new partnerships between corporations and the community.
Peace Boat Disaster Relief - an International NGO that assists disaster-affected people and aims to strengthen disaster resilience in communities within Japan and around the world. After the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, NGO Peace Boat started the Peace Boat Disaster Relief to focus on relief and recovery of communities affected by that disaster. It also provides domestic and international disaster relief and promotes disaster risk reduction.
Shurijo Restoration Fund - In a devastating blow to Okinawans, on October 31st 2019 the heart of Okinawan culture, Shurijo Castle, burned to the ground in a fire. More than 400 precious arts and crafts are estimated to have been lost. The Shurijo Castle Fund is asking for support in order to rebuild the castle and to collect, restore, and preserve precious cultural properties to display in Shurijo Castle once again. Donations can be made by using the bank transfer information at the bottom of the page.
This list is in no way all encompassing, nor formally endorsed by AFWJ, it is only a starting point to help you in your quest to support those in need. If you do not have any extra funds during this holiday season, perhaps keep these organizations in mind during the rest of the year when your wallet is a little fuller. Sometimes charities experience a surge of donations during the holiday season, or around significant anniversaries, but have trouble making ends-meet during other times of the year, so please keep the spirit of giving in your heart throughout the year. If you have a favourite charity that wasn’t included on this list, please feel free to leave a link in the comments so other people can find and support it.
Have a wonderful Giving Season from all of us here at AFWJ!
By: S. Suzuyama