【News】Celebrating #SafeSportDay! To create a safe sports environment for everyone, S.C.P. Japan launched a safeguarding project to protect human rights in sports. (August 8,2022)

S.C.P. Japan is delivering a safeguarding workshop for people working in sports organizations led by an international expert, who is part of the International Safeguards for Children in Sport Initiative.

S.C.P. Japan (Sport for Creating Pathways Japan) launched a safeguarding project, focusing on protecting children’s rights and human rights in sports for two consecutive years starting in 2022 until 2023 – funded by Sumitomo Life Health Foundation.

Extensive research shows that sports and physical education environments create a closed environment and can have unequal power relationships between coaches and players, and facilitators and participants. These situations enable violence, abuse, and harassment in sports to occur. Recently, sports-related organizations including the IOC, federations, and  grassroots community-based sports clubs are urged to have and operate a safeguarding policy in their organizations. The International Safeguards for Children in Sport Initiative established the annual  #SafeSportDay on August 8, to celebrate progress and advocate for the responsibilities of sports organizations to protect human rights and create safe sports environment.

In the first project year in 2022, we have provided a safeguarding workshop to leaders and staff of sport and sport for development organizations and developed a basic safeguarding workshop curriculum. In the following year, we plan to develop an advanced safeguarding workshop curriculum and deliver safeguarding workshops to the national sports federations, professional sports clubs, and community-based sports clubs at the grassroots level.

Launched our safeguarding workshop in sports

Providing a safeguarding workshop is our first program in this project. The workshop provides an opportunity for participants, working in sports organizations to learn the concept of safeguarding in sports. The workshop also aims to support participants in implementing safeguarding in their respective organizations. There are 25 participants attending three workshop sessions starting from July 20th. The facilitator is Dr. Lombe Mwambwa, who has an extensive experience providing  safeguarding education including teaching the IOC Safeguarding Officer in Sport Certificate course and is also a member of the International Safeguards for Children in Sport Initiative.

■Date and Time of the workshops:
・Introduction Session: Wednesday, July 20th 19:00-19:45 (GMT +9)
・First Session: Wednesday, July 27th, 19:00-21:00(GMT +9)
・Second Session: Monday, August 8th, 19:00-21:00(GMT +9)
・Third Session: Monday, August 22nd, 19:00-21:00(GMT +9)

■Facilitator: Dr. Lombe Mwambwa

Dr. Lombe Mwambwa researches and practices on issues of inequalities within  sport and onthe use of sport to address societal inequalities in Southern Africa. Dr. Mwambwa has worked on initiatives to raise awareness and advocacy capacity among athletes, officials, and governors of sports on the risks of non-accidental harm and in promoting safeguarding and protection practices. She has contributed to the development of safeguarding guiding principles and advised on toolkit development and organization policies for international sports organizations.

Message from Dr. Lombe Mwambwa to celebrate #SafeSportDay !

“Sport is a big part of our society, ensuring we keep it safe is a key commitment we should deliver on, so that children and adults can fully enjoy it. We shouldn’t look away when something goes wrong and we should be proactive and establish safeguarding as a core part of our sporting culture. Fair and inclusive sport has to be safe as well.”

S.C.P. Japan will continue to focus on promoting safeguarding in sports. 

S.C.P. Japan’s actions on safeguarding in sports
Safeguarding policy of S.C.P. Japan

Safeguarding workshop that S.C.P. Japan has supported

<JEF UNITED ICHIHARA CHIBA Academy (written in Japanese)>

<FAGIANO OKAYAMA Academy (written in Japanese)>

Information and Resources for your safeguarding action
・”International Safeguards for Children in Sport” website: https://safeinsport.org/
・THE EIGHT SAFEGUARDS: https://safeinsport.org/resources/#eight-safeguards
・English: https://safeinsport.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/International-Safeguards-for-Children-in-Sport-English.pdf
・Japanese: https://safeinsport.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/JAPANESE-Safeguarding-children-in-sport.pdf

【Report】Special Webinar for the  International Day of Sport for Development and Peace: “Sports Program and Game Based Approach”

On April 6th, we hosted a special online event for the “International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP),” with the cooperation of NGO(?) Coach Trust.

“International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP)” is set for the development and peace through sports, focusing on its power to drive social change, foster tolerance, diversity, and mutual understanding.

For this event, we invited Dr. Tsuyoshi Matsumoto, Associate Professor of Physical Education at the University of Tsukuba, who is also the Representative Director of NGO? Coach Trust, to talk about Game-Based Approaches (GBA). As GBA has also been adopted by S.C.P. Japan’s co-education exercise programs, he explained the concept and why they are in high demand recently, while using examples.

Dr. Matsumoto began by introducing the activities of Coach Trust, as well as GBA projects and another support project for retired racehorses.

Dr. Matsumoto then introduced the co-education exercise program of S.C.P. Japan, as another example. The message of this program is: teaching is not just one-way. Instead, everyone in the room – including the instructor – works together, through dialogue, to create a space where various individuals are appreciated and valued.

There are two types of co-education exercise programs in S.C.P. Japan. We introduced both – the “FutbolNet Program” in collaboration with the Barça Foundation and the “Happy Soccer Class / Happy Sports Class” organized by S.C.P. Japan.

In the “FutbolNet Program,” the activity is designed for all abilities, in order to better understand the concept of diversity, cooperation and mutual respect. In this program, the activity and dialogue is a set, so that participants will acquire social skills, such as communication.

Similarly, in the “Happy Soccer Class / Happy Sports Class,” we provide opportunities for participants to learn about children’s rights and gender issues through different games.

Dr. Matsumoto commented that S.C.P. Japan’s co-education exercise programs are  great examples of GBAs. He also shared the academic framework of GBAs.

GBAs is a global standard for coaching sports and is a theory that is widely used from grassroots programs to top athletes. In group sports such as rugby, it has been researched and practiced for some time under another term “Game Sense”.

In GBAs, learners (players) gain “awareness (tactical and social issues)” through the practice of “game format (modified / exaggerated game)”, and through that awareness, “the ability (practical and social skills)” is acquired. Then the cycle is repeated.

The “game format (modified / exaggerated game)” means that the instructor (facilitator) considers what “awareness (tactical and social issues)” is necessary for the learner (player) first, then modifies the game accordingly, before the learners play. If there are multiple facilitators, information will be shared among them. It is one of the roles of the facilitator to select the type of game.

In addition to the GBA cycle, he also gave some pointers for the instructors (facilitators) such as, “asking many questions” and “try giving less answers.” He also mentioned that  “the instructor often rushes to give answers, but it is important for them to be patient.”

Afterwards, many questions were raised during the the Q & A session, including questions from S.C.P. Japan members. Dr. Matsumoto answered each question carefully, taking time to understand the background information of the questioner.

He says that GBA is an instruction model in sports that is not only being used for coaching top athletes, but it also provides a place where people from various backgrounds can use in order to work on the game, cooperatively and independently.

Although there were more questions to be asked, the time had run out and the event ended with taking a group photo with all who participated. On April 6th, a digital campaign was held for “International Sports Day for Development and Peace,” in which people from all over the world expressed their intention to promote peace through sports, posting a photo of themselves holding white cards.

【Report】Second online collaboration event of Bridge Women’s Soccer Program and S.C.P. Japan “Designing my life ~how to authentically live your life ” Celebrating International Women’s Day (March 5th, 2022)

Continuing last year’s collaboration event, we, S.C.P. Japan, held an event with the Bridge Women’s Soccer Program on Saturday, March 5th, as a special event to celebrate International Women’s Day. The primary theme of this event was “Designing my life~how to authentically live your life”. We introduced the Bridge Women’s Soccer Program that will be presented at the 8th International Working Group (IWG) World Conference on Women and Sport. The event also included a session where a dialogue with the 35 participants took place – where they were divided into 7 groups with different topics.

Firstly Ms. Marika Fukuta, Ms. Satomi Yamaguchi, and Ms. Ayako Takematsu, who are the representatives of the Bridge Women’s Soccer Program, introduced the 8th IWG World Conference on Women and Sport, which will be held in New Zealand in November 2022. Additionally, they announced that the Bridge program was selected as one of the groups that will present at the conference. 

In 1994, Brighton, UK, held the first IWG World Conference on Women and Sport, aiming to“encourage women to join various fields within sports”. Eventually, the conference was set to be held once every four years in various continents. In the 7th conference in the Republic of Botswana in 2018, the chief of the Japan Sports Agency presented about Japanese sports policy. As such, it would be a great opportunity for the Bridge Women’s Soccer Program to present  at an international conference like this.

The concept of the Bridge Women’s Soccer Program is “being the bridge that connects Japan and the world using the tool ‘soccer’.” The Bridge Women’s Soccer Tour has been held for about 30 years, and the total number of participants is over 500. Additionally, the program has been supporting people who want to study abroad in the U.S. through women’s soccer, and around 50 people have achieved their studying abroad goals. The founders of the Bridge Women’s Soccer Program are Ms. Miyuki Kobayashi, and Ms. Kanae Haneishi. Ms. Kobayashi originally had been executing the women’s soccer tour abroad, and they added the “Bridge” portion by providing study abroad support as well when Ms. Haneishi joined the Program.

The Bridge’s motto is, “It doesn’t matter how well you play soccer. We support whoever has a strong will.” The Bridge believes that it is important to become independent through the study abroad experience. Therefore, in the process of preparation, they help people become independent, through the procedures like sending an application, and contacting the coach at the universities. 

Also, the “Bridge family”, who are those that have taken part in the tour or have studied abroad through the Bridge program, have been engaging in various activities regardless of their batches. For example, after the Kumamoto earthquake, the Bridge members visited and contributed via fundraising. They have also visited one of the women’s soccer clubs in high school in Okayama, and gave a presentation for the students about studying abroad and careers, which was valuable as many students in the countryside have fewer access to these information. 

In the Bridge family, there are many people who explore and expand their possibilities, and design their own life. Ms. Ayaki Shinada who studied abroad through the Bridge program is one of the examples. She is currently working as an Indigo Dyer using a Japanese traditional method, called Sho-Aizome, after her professional soccer career in Europe.

After introducing the 8th IWG World Conference on Women and Sport and the Bridge Women’s Soccer Program, we divided participants into 7 groups and had discussions about various topics. The group with the topic of “Childbirth, childcare, and my life”, shared their ideas about the importance of forgiving themselves for not being perfect, while sharing their struggles between childcare and jobs.

The group of “How do you make decisions in your life?”, mentioned that it was important to gather information and follow your heart when making your decision.

From the “LGBTQ+, Gender diversity” group, they shared the difficulty with living in the society where gender is seen as only as a dichotomy, either man or woman. 

Ms. Kobayashi, one of the founders of the Bridge program, rediscovered the importance of the Bridge family connection, saying, “I’m happy that this event came from the Bridge family. We’d like to continue being active.” Also, Ms. Haneishi, who is also the founder, emphasized the significance of celebrating International Women’s Day, saying, “It will take a long time to make a change. But we can change it someday by being patient, have a strong mind, and take action together.”

Finally, each participant wrote down a note about “what you can start from tomorrow to design and live your own authentic life”, and we took a group picture with their notes. We appreciate the opportunity to be able to talk about what we have been pondering about individually.

Last but not least, thank you so much to those who participated in this event, the Bridge members who cooperated, and those who volunteered as a sign language interpreter.

【Report】4th BreakTalks:『Theme: Mental Disorder』(Guest Speaker: Ms. Asuka Fujii) on January 28, 2022

On January 28th, we organized the 4th time of BreakTalks. The theme for this Break-Talks was “Mental Disorder.” Ms. Asuka Fujii, who writes lead paragraphs for S.C.P Japan mail magazine and is a person with mental disorder grade three, spoke about her tough and encouraging experiences of having a mental disorder. 

In the first half of the talk, Ms. Asuka Fujii talked about her personal story. Specifically, she taught us when she was diagnosed with depression, how she has tackled the disorder, what exactly bipolar disorder is, and why she decided to get a disability certificate, a special notebook that ensures handicapped people’s well-being. In the other half of the talk, Ms. Asuka Fujii answered a variety of questions from the participants.

Ms. Asuka Fujii’s Personal Story

Since the age of nine when she joined a local soccer club, Ms. Asuka Fujii always enjoyed playing soccer. However, from a certain point, she became less enthusiastic to play soccer. She, being described as diligent by a lot of people, was diagnosed with a mental disorder when she was seventeen. At the same time, she was interested in teaching soccer instead of playing it. Although she studied coaching in university and continued teaching soccer after graduation, she is now looking for a working life that suits her mental state.

While she went to school for a few days in the 12th grade, she quit her school and took a test that grants her a high school diploma. However, she experienced depression in her university and working life, so she was constantly out of her university and job. Later, she was diagnosed with recurrent depressive disorder and was hospitalized for once. In that mental condition, she obtained a grade three of mental disability certificate. 

In 2019, she quit her job again. After one week of examination at a hospital, her diagnosis changed from the recurrent depressive disorder to bipolar disorder.  Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that repeats mood shifts ranging from emotional highs to lows. In manic high periods, she becomes talkative and causes overwork. Immediately after the periods, she suffers from depressive periods. This kind of mood shift occurs once a year, but she can now control an intense mood shift with medicines. 

Present and the Future Life

She is not fully confident about working, and she is still on a journey of finding a way to embrace herself. According to her, as others’ support has helped her a lot, good relationships with family, hospitals, and counselors are indispensable. 

She also puts forward the use of social services. Welfare services let people fully rely on a variety of experts, which eliminates the need to complete everything by oneself. This is one of the reasons she decided to acquire a disability certificate. She also takes the advantage of rework services, transition support for handicapped people, and working day-care service. She is striving for the future in which she finds something she can grow as a person.

”It’s just a disorder”

In the last half of the BreakTalks, Ms. Asuka Fuji answered questions from participants. One of them asked how to explain depression to children. She shared her experience to answer the question. When she was diagnosed with depression, her parents said, “Depression is just a disorder. It is curable.” This simple response definitely made her feel better.

After the event, a lot of participants said that they are happy to learn about bipolar disorder, as it is rather a minor topic to talk about. Everyone expressed gratitude to her for sharing experiences.

S.C.P Japan continues to introduce people with a variety of  information and experiences through BreakTalks, which certainly brings an occasion to explore diversity and inclusive society.

Thank you for each participant with a unique background. We appreciate the time and dedication they offered.

Thank you also for Ms. Asuka Fujii, volunteers, and sign language interpreters, who all made this event special. We hope to work together in the near future.

【Event Report】We organized “Let’s Move! Run! Enjoy!” Program. (December 28, 2021)

On December 28, 2021, we held a program called “Let’s Move! Run! Enjoy!” at Kanazawa, Japan. This program belongs to “Special Event in Kanazawa,” executed on December 26 and December 28, 2021.

*The program is one of BreakTalks offline events. Please check out this link for more information about “BreakTalks.” 

<Time to Move!>

Children from kindergarten and elementary school exercised together before lunch. Though some of them were nervous at first, everyone enjoyed the time as soon as they started activities.
All children understood others’ backgrounds and ages, which led them to further help each other and be respectful.

<Lunch Time>

After the recreations, everyone had lunch. Okuwa-Kodomo Shokudo served an amazing lunch made with local food for everyone, including children, their parents, and staff. We, S.C. P Japan, learned that such an environment full of cooperation is indispensable to nurture children within a community. 

<Walking-Football Gathering>

After lunch time, we conducted “Walking-Football Gathering.”  “Walking-Football” has been known as an universal sport that all people, regardless of age, gender, physical disabilities, can engage themselves in. With approximately 30 people participating in this sports event, the program finished successfully.

Thank you to every participant, Okuwa-kodomo Shokudo, and volunteers who all contributed to bring such a great experience.

【Event Report】 “Nadeshiko Dream Event – Removing Limits from Girls’ Dreams” (December 26, 2021)

On Sunday, December 26, 2021, we held “Nadeshiko Dream Event – Removing Limits from Girls’ Dreams” in Kanazawa City. This program was a part of “S.C.P. Japan Special Events in Kanazawa”, taken place over two days on December 26th and 28th.

* It is an integrated part of BreakTalks event. Please click here for more details of “BreakTalks”.

Ms. Shigenami and Ms. Inoue, former Nadeshiko Leaguers and directors of S.C.P. Japan, facilitated the event and girls and their parents in the local area participated.

Facilitators shared their personal stories on “how they achieved their dreams” and “the challenges they faced as female athletes”. They also told participants about “Being confident in who you are” and “the importance of not comparing yourself with others”.

Following the lecture, Q&A session was held and they exchanged opinions with the participants.

<Post Event Feedback>

In order to improve the program, we asked the participants to provide us feedback after the event. You can check the results below.

We will continue to support children’s dreams, by working with others to ensure that they won’t be prevented from achieving their dreams because of their genders, and that they can make life choices with confidence in who they are.

We would like to thank Geminis Football Club for their cooperation in holding the event. We would also like to thank the children who participated, and all the parents.

【Event Report】 Introduction to Barça Foundation’s FutbolNet Program

“Introduction to Barça Foundation’s FutbolNet Program” was held in Kanazawa City on Sunday, December 26, 2021. This program was a part of “S.C.P. Japan Special Events in Kanazawa”, taken place over two days on December 26th and 28th.

Eighteen local children participated and experienced Barça Foundation’s FutbolNet Program. They learned the three core values ​​of “Respect,” “Teamwork,” and “Ambition” through games and dialogue. They also learnt how to take the lead and change the environment, without being bound by existing values and rules, through the activity of “creating new rules by ourselves”.

We also invited local sports leaders and parents. We shared a method to communicate with children through sports; we can teach them important values such as “respecting diversity and others,” “expressing our own opinions,” and “cooperating with others”, aside from the motor skills.

<Post Event Feedback>

In order to improve the program, we asked the participants to provide us feedback after the event. You can check the results below.

We would like to thank Geminis Football Club for their cooperation in holding the event. We would also like to thank the children who participated, and all the parents and leaders.

【Report】3rd Break Talks “Creating an inclusive place” (Guest Speaker: Mr. Hidenori Hibi) (October 26, 2021)

On October 26th (Tuesday), S.C.P. Japan hosted its 3rd Break Talks with the theme of “Creating an inclusive place.” We invited Mr. Hidenori Hibi as a guest speaker, who is the founder of the voluntary organization, “Walking Soccer in the Silence” and is also a person with hearing impairment. He talked about hearing impairment, deaf soccer, and walking soccer. Furthermore, based on Mr. Hibi’s story, participants actively exchanged opinions regarding “what is inclusive?” and “how to create an inclusive place.”

At the beginning of the event Mr. Hibi explained, “Let’s take a reaction such as nodding while listening,” not only because he has a hearing impairment, but also because the speaker felt a little lonely without the reaction of the participants. It was also shared that the organizer would use a system called UDTalk to display and share subtitles on Zoom. Sign languages were also provided by volunteers.

What is hearing impairment?

In the first half of the guest talk, Mr. Hibi introduced what is hearing impairment using not only words but also illustrations.

Hearing-impaired people are those who are deaf or hard to hear. Mr. Hibi himself has congenital sensorineural deafness with a hearing loss of 105 dB (decibels). The speaker explained what is hearing impairment in layman’s terms so that participants could grasp its meaning and understand his own condition.

Mr. Hibi spent his childhood growing up in an environment where special needs classes were nonexistent. When he entered school, he was given the front row middle seat in class as a way of support from his school to adapt to his needs. However, he could not understand what the teachers were saying during most of his classes. Mr. Hibi was also exempted from doing presentations, which he felt lucky at that time. As he entered the real world he realized, “I had no experience of success or failure in speaking in public, and for the first time I experienced speaking in public at workplace, I found it difficult.” Mr. Hibi expressed his honest feelings to the participants, “I’m still very nervous as a guest of this online event.”

Regarding vocalization, he attended a “language class” from the first grade to the sixth grade of elementary school and learned how to vocalize from a speech therapist teacher. Even so, for example, when he says “jidosha” (car) and it does not get through to people well, he paraphrases it to “kuruma” (car).

Throughout his elementary, junior high and high school years, Mr. Hibi did not have the opportunity to learn sign language. In college, his chance encounter with a person with the same disability opened his doors to begin learning the sign language.

Deaf soccer

Deaf soccer, also known as “soundless soccer,” has very little sound during a match compared to other soccer matches. That is why Mr. Hibi emphasizes that one of the attractions of deaf soccer is that “referee judgment and players’ communication are based only on visible information.” For example, the defense line silently aligns the lines and sets an offside trap without talking to each other.

“Walking Soccer in the Silence” Activities

Mr. Hibi has been involved in soccer for many years and attended the Sports Managers College (SMC) satellite of the Japan Football Association in 2019. Soon after he planned an activity called “Walking Soccer in the Silence” and established this as a voluntary organization in January 2020. In Tokyo and Yokohama, he carries out walking soccer activities about once a month and online activities called “shuwaberi” every month.

【Walking Soccer in the Silence WEB site】https://wsits2020.com/

Walking soccer (walking football) is a sport that can be played regardless of gender or age, without worrying about the skill differences among beginners and experienced players. In the last 3 to 4 years, it has been attracting attention as an inclusive sport in Japan. (Japan Walking Football Federation https://jwfl.amebaownd.com/) 

Mr. Hibi decided to use walking soccer to create opportunities for each person to think about “communication that suits each individual” and take active communication spontaneously while having fun.

The “Walking Soccer in the Silence” activity in Tokyo has different rules of the match from other walking soccer activities. In the 1st and 2nd games, it is prohibited to make sounds and voices; however, in the final 3rd game, players are allowed to make sounds and voices. After experiencing the 1st game and 2nd game, in the 3rd game, each person will take the initiative to think, act (play) and communicate in multiple ways so that the players with hearing impairment will not be isolated. 

What is the communication that suits each person? “How can people who can’t hear, who can hear, and who are not good at speaking, communicate with each other?” These can be experienced through walking soccer in the silence. In addition, in activities in Yokohama, Mr. Hibi is also developing “inclusive walking soccer,” which will be played by a mixture of people with and without disabilities and ages.

What is an inclusive place?

After receiving the guest talk in the first half of the program, the second half was the time for participants to actively exchange opinions about “what is inclusive?” and “how can we create an inclusive place?”

Regarding the idea of providing an inclusive place, participants raised the issue of building a place where anyone can easily participate by expressing, “anyone is welcome.”

In addition, participants from various positions were able to give their opinions. One participant said that it is important to have a safe environment where people in need can ask for help.

Mr. Hibi also shared issues that happened during the activities. For instance, the participating children with disabilities seemed to have fun just because they were there, but the people around them sometimes tried to take care of the children too much.

Finally, Mr. Hibi said, “I find the word “inclusive” is not familiar for us. I think inclusive can be explained using another familiar word for us as “otagaisama” (it’s give-and-take).”

The 3rd BreakTalks ended with active participation.

Through these Break Talks, S.C.P.Japan will continue to introduce inspirational guests and their activities to create a place where people from diverse backgrounds can get together and learn. Our aim is to encourage discussions about achieving a more diverse and inclusive society.

Finally, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Hibi for participating as our special guest speaker and the participants for joining us. We would also like to thank the volunteer staff and sign language interpreters who worked very hard to make this happen.

【Report】2nd Break Talks “Kodomo-Shokudo (Children’s Cafeteria)” (Guest Speaker: Mr. Yuhei Doi) (August 25, 2021)

On August 25th, S.C.P.Japan hosted its second Break Talks event. We invited Mr. Yuhei Doi as a speaker, who runs “Okuwa Kodomo Shokudo”, (a Kodomo-Shokudo is “a place to eat where children can go even by themselves for free or low-cost meals.”) in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture. While working at a children’s home (run by social care services), Mr. Doi started “Okuwa Kodomo Shokudo” two years ago and is currently the Volunteer Representative of the service.

The first half of the event was themed “Inclusive Society – from a viewpoint of a children’s cafeteria,” Mr. Doi introduced the service and talked about the issues he has faced through managing and operating. 

What is “Okuwa Kodomo Shokudo”?

Since January 2019, “Okuwa Kodomo Shokudo,” has been in operation for the residents in Okuwamachi, Kanazawa City. It is held once a month and about 50 children and adults get together. At the beginning, the community center was rented out to host the meals, but since March 2020 because of the pandemic, adjustments had been made to serve with lunch boxes.

“Okuwa Kodomo Shokudo” is not just about providing meals. There are various events and activities for children to enjoy, such as a latte art workshop. One event had a chiropractor visit to perform treatment and give parents some opportunities to relax. Children-friendly outdoor events are also planned, such as potato harvesting and camping – in order to involve the wider community and families.

“Okuwa Kodomo Shokudo” operates on the fee from the participants. It is free for children and 300 yen for adults. Therfore, participation of certain numbers of adults is needed in order to earn operating costs. At the moment, these fees are not enough to cover the expenses such as food, venue, insurance etc., and the deficit is being covered by donations. The biggest challenge is to secure funding and stabilize the management of the service.

What are the issues you find by running “Okuwa Kodomo Shokudo”?

Okuwamachi is a place where a large number of apartment blocks are and there are many single parent households living there, as well as others with various needs – like elderly people and people with disabilities. Due to a relatively rapid turnover of residents and isolation of certain households, the anonymity makes it difficult to see who needs help and where they are.

My own experience of growing up with a father with a mental health problem is one of the reasons why I tried to get involved in this movement. My day job is working at a children’s home, where I work with socially vulnerable young people. I know that there are also families who are facing difficult challenges right now, who are still in the community, but their lives are on the verge of collapsing – a mere step away from their children being placed in social care. Through the children’s cafeteria, I feel there must be something we can do to help these people, to prevent them from falling further.

As we run the cafeteria for a longer period, I feel the bond between the families who use the service is getting stronger. A lady noticed a child who hadn’t attended the cafeteria for a while, and she visited the child’s home to see what was going on. On another occasion, a family had been going through a hard time with their child struggling to go to school, so one of the participants recommended our cafeteria to the mother. After they joined, the child made friends with other children in the cafeteria and subsequently managed to go back to school. 

I am very much conscious that the children’s cafeteria is not just a place to provide meals. I would like it to be a place where we can give children an opportunity to experience a variety of things, a place for children to come to – if they are having difficulties going to school. It also makes me so happy to hear from our volunteers – whose children have already grown up, that they really enjoy cooking for and interacting with the families who come here.

As for our future activities, we are thinking of an outdoor workshop as well as opening a traditional styled candy store, as a way to have more direct contact with children. In addition, we would like to create a “food bank,” a free food distribution service for those who are in need, with food that would have otherwise been wasted.

In the second half, Ms. Shigenami – the Director of S.C.P. Japan, facilitated a discussion for Mr. Doi and the participants. Someone suggested Mr. Doi to work closely with schools and City Hall to advertise the service to a wider community. Mr. Doi responded that in Ishikawa Prefecture, the current regulation is that schools are unable to make an independent decision whether they should inform the community of the children’s cafeteria or not. The Prefectural Board of Education is responsible for this decision. They then discussed the importance of building a good relationship between schools and the service. Mr. Doi also explained that the family support section of City Hall distributes pamphlets that include information on the children’s cafeteria, but it has not reached all of those who are in need. They also discussed how to maximize “word of mouth” reviews from the participants and volunteers in order to promote the service further. They also talked about the possibility of asking for help from those who have direct contacts with the target households, such as the people who regularly collect money from them for services, etc.

Finally, Mr. Doi emphasized that the future of the socially vulnerable children can change for the better – with the right support. It is extremely important to keep believing in them, and never stop supporting them as we continue to pursue new initiatives.

Through these Break Talks, S.C.P.Japan will continue to introduce inspirational guests and their activities to create a place where people from diverse backgrounds can get together and learn. Our aim is to encourage discussions about achieving a more diverse and inclusive society.

We would like to thank all 22 participants and everyone who helped us organize this event. 

Finally, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Doi for participating as our special guest speaker. We would also like to thank the volunteer staff and sign language interpreters who worked very hard to make this happen.

【NEWS】Renewal of the collaboration agreement between Barça Foundation and S.C.P. Japan

We are pleased to announce that we renewed the collaboration agreement with Barça Foundation for 2021 season. Since 2020, we are working with Barça Foundation to promote the FutbolNet methodology developed by Barça Foundation that uses sports and physical activities as educational tools to foster the sense of values necessary for an inclusive society. Through this collaboration, we continue to commit to promoting Diversity and Inclusion and creating more inclusive society in Japan.