Almost 39,000 children are under government supervision in Japan, and 85 percent are institutionalized in various homes around the nation, according to Human Rights Watch. Last August, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare made good on its 2016 revisions to the Child Welfare Act by announcing a new plan of "family-based care," but in the meantime, a local nonprofit organization is working hard to bring the outside world to these institutionalized children: the world of nature.
Mirai no Mori provides life-changing outdoor programs for neglected or orphaned children in Japan. It started in 2011, when English Adventure, an outdoor educational company, decided to give back to the wider community. Leading the corporate social responsibility initiative was Canadian Jeff Jensen, at that time a program manager at English Adventure.
Jensen contacted Living Dreams, a Tokyo-based NPO working with orphanages, to get advice on how they might find children in need. Living Dreams put Jensen in touch with various institutions, and English Adventure began regularly inviting underserved children to their camps.