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By Raphael Makoto Yamada
FMA Past Pupil
VIDES Japan

       Tokyo, Japan, 1 June 2023 -- The Tokyo-based NPO named Seibo is now collaborating with many Catholic schools including Salesian schools through the “Learning by Exploring” project. In Japan, schools are experiencing a big change in their curriculum and they need to adopt lessons or activities with practical aspects such as writing essays and then putting them into practice.

       However, most of the schools tend to have difficulties choosing to do it inside school and continue it with students who have enough passion. So now, we have some challenges in educational sectors but they are worth tackling because Don Bosco in Turin overcame more difficult ones through the Oratory in the 19th century with a simple way to open his eyes onto society and become friends with his boys.

       Now in the early 21st century in Japan, we have some case studies with NPO Seibo and Salesian High schools, which are really unique collaborations with social and international impact from Catholic schools.

       In this article, I would like to introduce two examples as the case studies to help children in Malawi by selling coffee with a very simple message, “Feeding the future of Malawi by 15 yen for 1 meal”.

       Salesio Gakuin, Yokohama

       In 2020, among the shock of Covid, I got a phone call from a Salesian priest from Salesio Gakuin and said their students want to sell Fairtrade coffee. I was a bit surprised but very happy because I knew schools were not always open to business. However, as they were looking for some new approaches in education, we started to collaborate with each other.

       The first day among us was online and students interviewed us and asked why our coffee can be used 100% for charity. Then I explained the business model to them which involves our international donor where I work, Mobell - UK Telecom company and Ataka Trading Company, which donate us the beans from Malawi. Also I showed where the coffee came from and how it was managed. From this moment on, students started their exploration with what was a key question for them, “What can we do for them?”

       After that, students prepared a proposal for teachers and parents about Malawi and a sales projects, prepared a presentation to promote their Malawian coffee, and finally even made their own website. In 2023, they are organizing a Youths’ Coffee Movement, which invites other Catholic schools to get involved in their charity movement to help children in Malawi.

       Salesian International School

       As its name is “international”, the Salesian International School is exploring what it all means. However, we would like not only to search for “international” but also for “Salesian”.

       To explore “Salesian International”, we have started to collaborate with an after-school club named the “art&craft club” with around 20 girls from junior high school to senior high school.

       They have made the original package with our coffee from NPO Seibo and brought along some charitable messages. They are now planning to make their original drip pack designs to sell it with their mission to be international students with Salesian spirit.

       In Japan, schools are opening up to some new changes and are ready to breathe a brand new atmosphere with other civil organizations, like NPO.

       We should always have a communicative and proactive question, “What can we do for others in society?” in practical ways. Salesian schools can be a starting point for this, renewing what Don Bosco did in the 19th century. NPO Seibo is collaborating with schools through its non-profit coffee brand called Warm Hearts Coffee Club. See some case studies and details about products below.

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