Nippon Foundation volunteers travel to Poland to help Ukrainian refugees

Society Education Politics

The Nippon Foundation of Japan has announced a program that will send 15-member volunteer groups to Krakow and other Polish cities to help refugees from neighboring Ukraine, especially the elderly, disabled and other Ukrainians needing special help.

As Russia continues to mount its military invasion of Ukraine, The Nippon Foundation is arranging to send student volunteers from Japan to Poland, where they will participate in operations in support of elderly Ukrainian refugees, people with disabilities and young people. others who need special help as they flee conflict in their country. Seven groups of students will travel to Poland — 105 volunteers in total — where they will offer assistance to the considerable number of Ukrainians who have fled there. Nippon Foundation officials said the Japanese volunteers would join forces with international volunteer groups already on the ground, helping to distribute medicine and food and taking part in mobile assistance activities.

On May 30, 2022, a ceremony marking the departure of the first and second teams was held at the headquarters of the Nippon Foundation in Minato, Tokyo. Saitō Rinka, a second-year student at Waseda University, was scheduled to leave with the first team on May 31. capable of conversation. Saitō says, “As someone who has overcome a disability, I know how difficult it can be – how much uncertainty you can deal with, how much of your own emotion you have to suppress, just to get through. through each day. Through my activities on the ground, where the refugees congregate, I hope to share the worries and inconveniences they experience in order to do what I can to lessen these feelings for them.

Sasakawa Yōhei, President of the Nippon Foundation, praised the volunteers, “We were delighted to see such enthusiasm, with more than ten students applying for every available volunteer spot. It’s not just the Japanese public watching the actions of these young people, the whole world is watching what these young Japanese are doing, representing the future of their own nation. It will certainly be a rewarding experience for them.

From left, Nippon Foundation President Sasakawa Yōhei poses with Fujita Kōya, a junior student at Dōshisha University, and Saitō Rinka of Waseda, in their volunteer uniforms.

(Originally posted in Japanese. Banner photo: Student volunteers from the first two teams to be sent to Poland gather in a ceremony on May 30, 2022 to send them off. All photos ©

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