Scholarships running short for kids of firefighters killed in line of duty

JIJI

A scholarship program for children of firefighters killed in the line of duty is soliciting donations to offset a ¥150 million shortage caused by the March 2011 disasters.

An official from Shobo Ikuei Kai, an association that supports such children, said it “wants to secure funds before memories of the disaster fade.”

The group has decided to seek more money from companies and individuals this time, since past donations came mostly from firefighters and their families.

The scholarships cover the costs incurred from elementary school to university, allowing the children to stay in school, it said.

In normal times, around 10 firefighters die each year, but 224 died as a result of 3/11.

The group set up a fund in February 2012 to cope with the lack of money and had collected some ¥300 million in donations by the end of last month. But it still needs an estimated ¥450 million for 177 children.

The association estimates that it has only enough money to provide scholarships for 10 more years, although the youngest need much more.

In fiscal 2012, the association provided 125 children with ¥23 million in educational aid.