• Fukui

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Regarding the Jan. 12 Kyodo article “More anonymous ‘cartoon hero’ donors leave gifts for kids in need“: I was pleased to hear about local donations to orphanages across Japan. It has long been something that has been behind closed doors and it is good to see an increased awareness of it in the public spotlight.

Those in the Japan Exchange and Teaching program and other foreigners in Japan have been doing fundraising for orphanages for a while now. Here in Fukui we raised ¥350,000 last year for the orphanages. Similar fundraising/donation drives have begun in Ishikawa, Kobe, Hiroshima and other prefectures. I think that anonymity is definitely not a bad thing while engaging in charity on an individual level, but by publicizing it more widely, more donations can be collected.

Two years ago, some friends and I founded Smile Kids Japan to try to get people to visit their local orphanage regularly. We always refuse offers of money and instead ask people to donate directly to the home nearest them. In addition to material goods I would ask people to consider what they can offer in terms of time and skills to children that need care more than most.

Could you provide a baseball lesson for kids in an orphanage, an English lesson, homework help? Orphanages I have spoken to say donations in Japan are often limited to the Christmas and New Year’s period. I wish to commend those kind people trying to make a difference by leaving goods and ask those who would like to help but haven’t yet to get involved. Make a difference to kids that need your help.

michael maher king

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