Tokyo, Japan

Why Japan?

Japan is a wealthy, progressive, and developed country known for its rich culture, trendy fashion, and established tech industry. It is therefore hard to believe that over 36,000 children live without family or parental figures in government operated orphanages. In 2012, the Japan Times reported that only 12% of all orphaned children were placed in foster care, in comparison with 93.5% in Australia and 77.0% in the United States. Individual attention is necessary during formative years can a lack thereof can have lasting adverse effects on a child’s life and development. While orphanages throughout Japan are often well-kept facilities with a hardworking and extremely loving staff, caring for this large group of young children can be extremely difficult as child to staff ratios can be upward of 8:1. Maintenance and finances for these large institutions can also prove problematic as locations often lack the time, manpower, and finances to properly maintain their facilities.

Tokyo, Japan 2017

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Recognizing this glaring need, One Desk Foundation in collaboration with Hands on Tokyo, a philanthropic Japanese organization, sought to have a lasting impact on two major orphanages in the Greater Tokyo Area. Located in the heart of the Adachi ward in Tokyo are the Christmas Villiage and Kyosei Gakuen orphanages, home to over 200 children. One Desk volunteers cumulatively fundraised over $25,000, constructed two large storage sheds to house food, first aid kits, and emergency supplies, recarpeted children’s quarters and common spaces, cleaned facility areas, and refurbished bookcases and furniture. Though meeting and playing with the children was expected, volunteers were surprised to work side by side with several residents, as children volunteered to join in on the work to renovate both furniture and rooms together.

On the last day at Christmas Village, volunteers decorated and delivered personalized cookies to each of the children and held a carnival day to share and teach about the importance of hard work, dedication, and service to others. Tears were shed as the team was both touched and encouraged by the number of children who volunteered to help with work, preparation, and clean up. A spark of generosity and caring for others seemed to be ignited in a new generation of volunteers. Children, staff, and volunteers were all moved by each other’s dedication to make Chrismas Villiage and Kyosei Gakuen, better, happier, and safer homes for all current and future resident children