My name is Satoko, and I worked at the Banana House last winter.
I am now back in Japan, working as a Research Assistant at the University of Tokyo looking at various global human rights issues.
Education is essential not only for those who receive it but also because it acts as a tool to elevate voices that may often otherwise go unheard. It spreads awareness to issues that we may not previously have known about, and helps to pass it to the next generation. It has certainly played a key role for me in my work as a volunteer and as a researcher.
This pandemic has hit all corners of the world very hard, but in these difficult times, there has also been a silver lining. The University has been holding Zoom webinars for students to connect with refugees across the world and give the students a rare chance of direct interaction. We were lucky to get AFE on board and had Moh, Miled, and Solange, coordinators from Chios give a presentation, followed by a Q&A with the students. For people in Japan, it is unfortunately still difficult to imagine the situation and conditions that asylum seekers have to endure in Europe, but with growing student interests in the refugee issue, this webinar allowed the students to learn directly from the community, and hear their wants and needs.
With international movement being so limited, it is very easy to feel helpless, but it seems that at least within education, there are possibly more opportunities to forge a wider network. The goal for these webinars is to get students to be involved with NGOs in other regions, and obtain the vital experience that is necessary to really bring change both domestically and globally.
The work that Action for Education does helps the participants to be able to share their stories through the many languages they teach, which is the best way for others to understand and provide support in any way possible. I truly believe in the work AFE does, and I hope I can go back again, but for now, with “one foot in the door” between Tokyo and AFE, it’s exciting to think of even broader possibilities for connection.