Visit to Japan by Indonesian and Thai Children Goodwill Ambassadors
From October 19 to 30, 2015, a group of Indonesian and Thai children came to Japan as CFP Children Goodwill Ambassadors. The children visited Osaka, Nara, Aichi, Gifu, Shizuoka and Tokyo, and learnt about Japan’s Nature and efforts for conserving the environment while carrying out exchange programs in the various areas.
They first visited Yoshikawa Elementary School in Toyonoo, Osaka Prefecture, and introduced to the Japanese children the cultures of their respective countries through presenting songs and dances and at the same time, enjoyed an exchange program through Japanese traditional plays and joint drawing of pictures.
On October 22, the CFP Children Goodwill Ambassadors visited the Osaka ATC Green Eco Plaza and observed the approaches of private companies towards the environmental problem and the exhibition of the latest technologies.
In Gifu Prefecture, the children’s group visited the Kitagata Minami Children’s Hall, learnt about the efforts made by the local public facility for supporting child rearing and experienced the Japanese traditional plays such as OTEDAMA (juggling bags game) or KENDAMA. At Kitagata Nishi Elementary School, the visiting group reported on the environmental problems and forest development in the two countries and also enjoyed a cultural program through presenting songs and eating school lunch together. At the Gifu Prefectural Agriculture and Forestry High School, following the presentation by the children’s group, they made a tour of the school facilities and then, experienced making ice cream produced and sold at school. The children were highly impressed by the activities of the high school students who are comprehensively involved in taking care of animals and crops, planning, manufacturing and marketing of products.
On October 25, the CFP Ambassadors group moved to Aichi Prefecture. They carried out an exchange program with the local children at OISCA Chubu-Nippon Training Center. After making on-site visit to a local forest, they made presentations on their activities in the home countries and exchanged opinions on the differences of their respective forests and efforts for environmental conservation.On October 26, the children’s group visited the Aichi EXPO 2005 Memorial Park, learnt about Japan’s four seasons through Nature observation and enjoyed handicraft using natural materials such as acorns available in the forest. On that day, they had home-stay program with Japanese families and experienced Japanese life and culture.
On October 27 and 28, the Thai children group visited OISCA Academy Senior High School. The school is alma mater of Ms. Samai Srilueang, the coordinator of the group. She visited there for the first time in a long time. The children experienced tea ceremony and learnt about the various activities for environmental conservation of the school such as mangrove planting along Hamana Lake, separation of waste and recycling. They were surprised at the high environmental awareness of the high school students and got a hint for their future activities.
On October 28, the Thai and Indonesian groups joined again in Tokyo. They visited the Asakusa Shrine and the old folk house and learnt about the Japanese religious beliefs and traditional architecture.
The Thai group left Japan for home on the late night of October 28. Meanwhile, the Indonesian group had a presentation meeting on October 29 at the OISCA Headquarters in Tokyo. A boy from Madura Island which suffers from perennial water problems such as floods in the rainy season and drought in the dry season appealed the importance of forest conservation and strongly urged the participants to protect the green earth. Aside from the children, the accompanying local staff also made presentations on the significance of the children’s participation and involvement of the local residents in the CFP activities.
Although their stay in Japan was for only 10 days, it seemed to be irreplaceable time with many encounters and discoveries. It is hoped that the children will bring back home their new experiences and learning, and take initiative in promoting the Children’s Forest Program.