This year also, we connected “green waves” in various places !
In 2015, the pupils and students of the schools participating in OISCA’s Children’s Forest Program (CFP) joined the Green Wave campaign. At 10:00 o’clock on the morning of May 22, they took part in tree planting in the various parts of the world to create “green waves” on the planet. At Banchoktai School in Thailand, 4 organizations including the school gathered and a total of over 50 children carried out tree planting and learnt about the global environment, living creatures and the importance of protecting Nature with their own force.
Learning sessions were also held in other countries. We have received children’s voices of joy: “as we planted trees near the benches used when we study outside, if the trees grow big, they will create large shades and we will be able to spend more comfortably”, or “we have been able to carry out tree planting activities together with the adults around and to protect the living creatures in the community”. In some areas, as certain tree species are believed that the spirit of women dwells and are treasured without being cut down, school children planted such tree species at school and also other species closely connected with the culture of the community. OISCA will continue to support the activities so that the trees planted by the children will be carefully protected in the respective communities and the biodiversity will be firmly sustained.
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.
With the financial support from the Global Industrial & Social Progress Research Institute (GISPRI), OISCA carried out the CFP Children’s Goodwill Ambassadors program two times in September and October 2014. From October 1 to 10, Indonesian and Myanmar children came over to Japan for presentation meetings and exchange programs in Tokyo, Kagawa and Ehime. On October 4, they participated in the “Global Festa 2014” held at Hibiya Park in Tokyo, and socializing with Japanese children coming from different parts of the country, taught each other cultures of their respective countries and communities, and together made a “Promise for the Earth 10 years later”
Mr. Htet Phyo Lwin from Myanmar told that in his village, it rains in only about 40 days a year and so, only those crops such as peas resistant to dry can grow; in the dry season, there is no water even in rivers, and they get a small amount of water digging the sand, but it is very hard to carry water. He added that although it is tough to raise trees under this environment, the shade provided by the grown forest is cool and pleasant.
At an event commemorating Japan’s International Cooperation Day held on October 6, 2014, Indonesian and Myanmar children who were visiting Japan as Children’s Forest Program (CFP) Goodwill Ambassadors presented a theme song for CFP entitled “Mori no Ibuki” together with Ms. Kazuyo Kuriya, a flutist and the theme song lyric writer and composer.
Ms. Putri Oktaviani Rachman and Ms. Maharani Dean Pramudita from Indonesia received intensive Japanese language lessons before coming over to Japan. They made all presentations in Japanese and surprised the Japanese participants. The Japanese supporters who participated in the presentation meeting in Tokyo commented: “looking at the children speaking with lively facial expressions, we could feel that the CFP activities are really enjoyable and that forests are developed with the hands of these children”.
On the other hand, children from Sri Lanka and Thailand visited Japan from September 4 to 15 and conducted programs in Aichi, Gifu, Chiba and Tokyo. In the exchange meeting held at Aichi Prefectural Toyota Higashi Senior High School which is expected to take part as the representative of the Chubu region in the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development being held in Japan this November, the Sri Lankan and Thai children reported that the forests in their communities have been lost due to the rapid developments and wildfire causing serious problems such as landslides and water shortage and that they are carrying out tree-planting activities so as to lessen these problems. The students of Toyota Higashi Senior High School made a presentation about their studies and research on living creatures in Yahagi River and forests and also activities to protect the environment.
This year falls on the 60th anniversary of Japan’s international cooperation and also the last year of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD) which was proposed by Japan and has been promoted by the international community.
In the future, we intend to improve through this sort of projects mutual understanding of respective environments and cultures beyond the country and also foster children who can act together.
Banpabongtaogaenchan School is located in the flat land in the mountainous area. Most of the students are the hill tribe and they live in the dorm. The students have actively worked on the activities after school and the school received a lot of awards. This school began to participate in CFP activity since there were no trees at the school land and no places for students to play or rest in. After the activity started, children have played an active role in planting and taking care of the planted trees. Now, the trees are grown tall and have been a small forest that makes shades for the children. Children are proud of their big grown trees. Moreover, they also have dealt with organic agriculture. They could experience harvesting vegetables, eating safety foods at their school. In the future, the school hopes to participate in eco camps and re-cycling activities while working on the organic farming.
CFP students from Thailand visited Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, Japan.
They had a student exchange program with Japanese elementary school students. Because it was the second day the Thai students had been in Japan, they were still very shy to have conversations, especially because of the language barrier. However, the Japanese students were also shy to meet new friends but the Miraikan leader paired off the students so that they could be more comfortable interacting in pairs instead of two separate groups. This worked out very well, and all the students slowly opened up.