OISCA invited in May 2012 children’s representatives, 2 each from Fiji, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand as well as coordinators and school teachers in Children’s Forest Program (CFP) that marked the 20th anniversary last year, and conducted 10-day program which included joint conferences, visiting supporters and exchange activities in Japan.
In Tokyo, an information sharing workshop, entitled the "World Children’s Conference”, was held, and the participating children presented reports on their respective activities.
The children learnt from each other by sharing knowledge on the different environments and activities in their respective countries.
Afterwards, the children’s group went to visit the site of the Coastal Forest Restoration Project OISCA is promoting in Miyagi Prefecture. Following the great earthquake disaster that occurred in Japan last year, the children sent letters of support and carried out fundraising activities in their schools to help the disaster-affected Japanese people. After having observed the disaster-hit areas at first-hand, they made hearty comments such as that “we have realized that the forces of nature are beyond the human imagination”, that “by directly talking with the local people, we could understand how much the coastal forests protected the life of the residents”, and that “we thought that it is now the turn of us human beings to help protect trees”. Also, in cooperation with AEON Co., Ltd, OISCA carried out a pre-event program towards the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20) held in Rio de Janeiro this June, and the children of the 6 countries including Japan made messages for the future.
The children divided into two groups, visited OISCA member companies, supporters and schools to deliver reports. The children from India, Fiji and the Philippines who visited OISCA Nishi-Nippon Training Center in Fukuoka, participated in the “Children’s Environment Forum” held in the Center. They enjoyed “rice planting dance” presented by pupils of Wakiyama Elementary School and exchanged information on the ways of protecting the nature in the community. The Indonesian・Thai team who visited OISCA Shikoku Training Center, learnt Sado (tea ceremony) and Shodo (calligraphy) from the Japanese children at the local school and promoted friendship.
The children who visited Japan this time, were all delighted that they could tell their activities to many people, and could mutually deepen understanding through conducting interchanges with the Japanese children and also those from the other countries. Mr. Agrawal Rajat from India said, “from now on, I will try my best to protect, not only my own town and country, but also Japan, the other countries and the whole planet as my “FURUSATO”. It is expected that the children, after returning home, will share their experience with as many children as possible, and will further develop their activities on the whole earth.