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Empathy is more than sympathy

By Makoto Yamada

Tokyo, 17 February 2020 -- We as VIDES JAPAN have welcomed Sr. Annecie from Rome and have introduced our activities to her at a seminar.

She has enjoyed her stay in Japan and returned to Rome today.

My testimony during Sr. Annecie’s visit in Japan

VIDES JAPAN has welcomed Sr. Annecie to Happy House which is located in Akabane, one of the Tokyo Metropolitan area cities, which has many children with foreign nationalities and those who have troubles getting used to Japanese high standard educational curriculums especially in private schools.

Our country still struggles to accept foreigners or their children, so some parents also have difficulties to getting used to Japanese life style.

That is why VIDES JAPAN has started the Happy House project and accepts these children and parents for the After-school program and serves meals andoffers time to relax, study and talk freely about what they are thinking about their school lives such as with friends and teachers.

They even do their homework with volunteer staff who are university students in Tokyo. We have welcomed Sr. Anencie with this heart-warming atmosphere and we hope she has felt it with us.

On another day, we had a seminar with Sr. Annecie and she has given us very important lessons to consider about the spirit of VIDES and how to be creative to think practical methods to bring many activities into practice, especially with young people in the spirit of Don Bosco.

I was very honored to work as a translator beside Sr. Annecie and learned many things from her too.

The most impressive lesson was her remarks of “What is empathy”. She said “empathy” was not the same as “sympathy” because “empathy” toward others could change the person’s personality and made them developed in their own ways. Having the “empathy spirit” is an essential attitude to work as an international VIDES volunteer with the “Developmental” spirits on its logo.

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