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Report on Activities of Ochanan


Ochanan is a volunteer group that started in 2016 as a way for students at Ochanomizu University to carry out actions to help refugees. The name combines the first syllables of Ochanomizu University and nanmin, the Japanese word for refugees. This academic year there were nine members, a mixture of second and third year students. Since several members were away on study-abroad programs, the focus of the group’s activities this year has been selling products made by Ibra wa Khayt, or ‘needle and thread’ project to collaborate with Syrian women to rebuild their future, through making and selling hand-embroidery products and handicraft.

Selling products and displaying posters
at the Kiinsai campus festival

April: Helped sell products at the Earth Day Tokyo event held in Yoyogi Park

July: Helped sell products at the Tokyo Arabian Night event held at Roppongi Grand Tower

September: Took part in the semiannual packaging event held at Bunkyo Civic Hall

November: Sold products at the Kiinsai campus fair. Last year we opened a stall on both days of the fair festival, but this year we were short on numbers and only opened for one day. Despite this, and the fact that our hours were shorter than the previous year, many people visited the stall and looked at the products. People asked questions and listened enthusiastically to our explanations. I remember one child still too young to know the word “refugee,” who spent time looking at the embroidered items on sale and said how “cute” they were. I hope the event will help inspire people like this child to learn more about refugees in the future.

We will continue our activities with the aiming of increasing people’s awareness and understanding of refugees and the problems they face. Our hope is that more people in Japan will regard the problem as something that affects them personally. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Global Collaboration Center, Ibra wa Khayt, and everyone else who helped Ochanan’s activities.

(Ochanan: Student Volunteer Group, Global Collaboration Center)

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