• Soka’s Pan Africa Friendship Society welcomes Kenyan slum children


Soka’s Pan Africa Friendship Society welcomes Kenyan slum children

    The Pan Africa Friendship Society, a Soka University student club, collaborated with a local student- and citizen-run NGO Hachioji Kodomo Shokudo to welcome school children from the Mogozo School in Kenya. Some 70 people attended the welcome event organized for the children on June 24 in Hachioji city.

    The Mogozo School is located in Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa, about five kilometers from Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. Serving as a sanctuary for the slum’s orphans and abused children, and those who were forced into child labor, the school is affectionately referred to as the Mogozo Family.

    The reception had as its underlying theme the spirit of connecting Japan and Africa through welcoming the Mogozo Family, the “world’s biggest family, to Hachioji through song, dance and discussion. The show opened with a song and dance performance in Swahili by the Pan Africa Friendship Society, followed by a song and traditional tribal dance by participants from the Mogozo School, and a special talk event. Members of the Hachioji Kodomo Shokudo then gave a presentation on creating safe spaces for children in the context of Japan.

    Pan Africa Friendship Society member Megumi Nara, a third-year economics major who helped organize the event commented: “I learned the importance of having a support model that is centered on caring for each individual. Moving forward, I’m committed to learning even more from the bright, hope-filled spirit of the African people. I hope the event served as an opportunity for participants to think about the plight of children in both Kenya and Japan.”

    Shoji Rokusha of Hachioji Kodomo Shokudo, a fourth-year law student, said: “This exchange helped me to think about the issues surrounding children in both Kenya and Japan, and I learned the importance of cultivating the attitude of squarely facing the children in our environment, accepting the fact that they may be struggling.”