Incorporated Non-Profit Organization “Pieces”
Administrative Director, Mr. Yusuke Arai
What does Pieces do as an incorporated non-profit organization?
We go to see children who refuse to attend school, drop out, and are abused every day. Through our support, we are trying to develop the world where these children can live on their own feet. To make the ideal real, we hope all the citizen will be the supporters for these children.
Government support is mainly the short term business solution, but there is a question “Is this what these children really want to receive?” Because of my experience talking to these children for a long period, they need relationships between people. For example, we can replace paternity and maternity role to supply family function. Relationships with other than their own parents make possible to cultivate trusts in the children. Therefore, not only money but relationships with people are truly demanded by the children.
Since you are facing the hardest thing in the society, there is a difficult image to make others act even though they can understand your concept. What do you think about this?
We cultivate human resources capable of accumulating children’s usual day. We call these people “escort runner for children”. To be more precise, we established a school where adults can learn how to support these children. I hope these adults will have deep relationships with children for a long time period to truck their growth.
Who makes the first contact to let you know there is a child who needs support?
Children’s poverty is becoming not prominent by the physical appearance. Honestly speaking, there is a difficulty finding out children for all the associations. We try not to receive information from the government. When we go to see one child, similar children will naturally gather around him. Therefore, we try to catch the entire circle.
To do this, we have to be deeply involved into the community and their lives.
What is the trick to open up children’s consciousness?
It is definitely demonstrating perspective of people. When you see the child who is playing the game all the time, we throw a message containing “we are interested in you” rather than give out “do not play the game”. Then they will have a sense of security such as “this person will not judge me”.
What made you to work in this field?
When I was a freshman in college, I spoke to a homeless in Shinjuku, Tokyo. I heard their background and why they became homeless. It was kind of interesting to hear their stories. It became a weekly activity and other homeless people gathered around me. Some of them wanted to work in the farms, so I made their CV and brought to farmers.
There were associations who invited us to their farms, and other associations prepared meals outdoors. From there on, I supported homeless people for a long time. I kept listening their childhood and realized about 80 to 90 % homeless grew up in the poverty, abuse, and having disability. They had difficulty finding a job and could not avoid choosing the way to be a homeless. That was the time when government started “study support for poverty children”. What I heard from homeless people and poverty children linked together, and since then I have been supporting children’s study.
What is your motivation to be involved into this field?
There are two factors motivate me;
My grandmother who had a disabling condition but kept supporting others.
My ex-girlfriend who had to give up on her dream because she became deaf.
I was suffered torment and was not able to handle my emotion. But when I started talking to homeless who have a bigger tsouris, it looked like I was stacking in such a small problem. I might have wanted to contribute to something meaningful.
How do you understand Japanese poverty?
Compare to the developing countries, there are relative poverty groups in Japan. Children start to hold a feeling of inferiority because of not being able to attend an after school or born in poverty family compare to others families. These children end up not being able to say what they really want to do and shut up their doors to the others.
Family culture is carried down to the next generation. If their parents are poor like eating dinner bought from the convenience store and not going to the college but getting a job, these culture would be linked to children. We introduce different adults who can support them to show how fun it is to learn and expand their world. Children open up their mind to adults once adults understand their feelings. We just devote a lot of time to listen to them well and face to each problem.
What has changed for children because of your effort?
We have supported many children and some of the smart kids went to the college with getting donations form completely unknown person.
It is difficult to measure our achievement especially with numbers like employment rate. Throughout supporting children’s life, they begin to build up trusts others and understand us who can encourage their dreams. Therefore, these children’s feeling is not easy to measure. Because they change their communication style, people around them change their communication style automatically. That is why we can sever a link with negative spiral.
What kind of cooperation do you need?
Of course money is important, but we would appreciate if there are people who can invest their time. Donation has a limit to build a relationship with these children. They need a person who can be with them for a long time period.
Not only family but also other adults should be able to raise children, and this society can change our family picture. As for the socialization of education, we will create a community where these children can seek through their jobs by establishing trusts between adults.
For this future, it would be great if there is enough space and money.