A support group by the name of Mirai Support (future support in Japanese) that works to help promote and provide for the children of the future have branched out to help not only children nationally but internationally. By reaching out to a Myanmar orphanage they look to connect and strengthen the link between Japan and Myanmar.
As part as a corporate social responsibilty action, DAC Group created Mirai Support, a support division that looks to help improve the lives, happiness, and health of kids not just at home but abroad. After working on several events and campaigns they took to Myanmar to help out an orphanage and improve the lives of the orphans that live there.
In January of this year, one of the members along with the head of DAC went to visit this monastary orphanage in the Salween Yadanar region.
We have interviewed this member, Haruka Ide, about her experiences there.
What experience have you had with helping to solve social problems previously?
After entering University, I studied in International Relations and Educational Development. While doing so, I had the opportunity to visit and see first hand problems all over the world in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and South America. While living in a variety of environments, I have come across a whole host of problems such as children living without electric, gas, or water in Kenya, children who are subject to drugs in the slums in South America and people living on the Smokey Mountain in the Philippines.
It was from these experiences that I wish to help change the world and find some form of purpose.
Can you tell us about the project in Myanmar?
Since last year, Mirai Support and DAC have been working to help support the orphanage with food.
In addition to this continious food support, DAC has also installed various facilities such as generators, water tanks, showers. However a problem has arisen that the children of the monastery aren’t receiving enough calcium and other minerals. So in order to help combat that, we took over a variety of food and soups that contained these minerals, that were provided kindly by one of our clients here in Japan, Mishima Co. and Hokkaido Konbukan.
It was a first for many of the children to try this type of food, and our goal is provide continious support, so by coming and seeing what types of foods suit the children we can communicate with the companies that provided the food and then get them to change the support packs as necessary!
We also helped out with the construction of a deep well, which will help in the drier seasons with water shortages, as well as help to combat water contamination.
Finally we worked on creating lasting ties between ourselves and the children at the orphanage. This is through educational support and correspondence when we left.
How was your interactions with the children?
The children were amazing! They were incredible even after everything that they’ve been through.
I think you can sum up the children attitude in three main points:
Open to international communication! They always greeted us with a brilliant smile.
No matter who we interacted with at the orphanage, the children were always accepting and happy! Of course there were some children that were shy, but they tried their best to interact with us.
In order to correctly support the children, we need to know more about them and the area.
When we went to the monastery, we had the goal of trying to provide the children with more opportunities for self expression, and we planned to hold painting contests like those that we have held in Japan, as well as creating opportunities for correspondence between members of DAC group and the orphans. However we didn’t fully understand the area and we need to learn more about the children in order to help benefit them. They are very open to change but has to be little by little instead of piling it on at once.
When we asked many of the children what is the most fun time for them, we were answered by many of them that studying is most enjoyable for them! I felt that it’s great that they enjoy their study time and that they take it so seriously. When we asked what they wanted to do in the future, many answered that they wished to become a teacher or someone that can give back to the people of Myanmar. There were also some children that wished to learn Japanese and visit Japan and help carry on our work!
Are there barriers or walls that have occured when trying to support the area?
When it comes to buddhist monks and nuns, many are only allowed to do certain activities and must abstain from others, and because the children are being raised in this environment, they too must abide by these rules.
For example, they only wear the Kasaya, so it’s no use donate old clothes to them.
They also abstain from various toys, games, music and dancing, so in order to not offend we don’t send those types of items. It’s extremely important to have an understanding of the area and the religion to help support them.
Can you summarise the experience and maybe what needs to be done from now on?
Food is always a necessity in the area. We have set up support lines but it isn’t enough, and it is quite expensive. Understanding of the area on our part is also extremely important, if we don’t understand the situation fully, we might not be able to help these children to the best of our ability.
One problem that the Orphanage faces is mold, which occurs due to high humidity in the country. The cleaning methods, they use aren’t optimum, meaning that they are always facing this problem.
I hope that we can help to solve these problems for the area.
Can you tell us about the Crowdfunding Project that Mirai Support have launched?
We have just launched on Japankuru Funding, our Myanmar Orphanage Support Project which runs until December 15th 2020! We have actually just reached our first goal of 300,000 yen and we are now looking towards our second goal! The second goal is 600,000 Yen which will let us increase the amount of medicine we can send as well as creating areas for toilets and washing areas!
Project Title: Myanmar Orphanage Support Project
Project End Date: December 15th 2020
Returns available: Messages from the orphans/ Snacks from Myanmar/ Wine / Food Tickets
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