2009-2010 Internationalisation Awards

National AJET would like to congratulate Ms Ikuko Inoue of Tomoeda Elementary School, Fukuoka Prefecture for her support of children’s education worldwide, especially in Nepal.

In May 2003, she read an article about a man, nicknamed “OK Baji,” who moved to Nepal to educate Nepalese school children. She was so moved by his story that she researched his email address, made contact with him and arranged to volunteer with him in Nepal the following December. In September 2009 she made a presentation about her volunteer work in Nepal. At that particular presentation, she informed about 25 people (mostly other Japanese elementary school teachers) about OK Baji’s work in Nepal. There were pictures of the children and the schools in Nepal, in and around Dorimara village. Inoue-sensei’s strong feelings for the importance of children’s education have clearly transcended her classroom in Koge Town. By informing her colleagues and Fukuoka prefectural advisors about how she volunteers in Nepal she has brought the issue of worldwide children’s education to the forefront. That she uses her vacation time and money in order to volunteer abroad is commendable. Fukuoka JET had started to raise money through book sales and bake sales at monthly meetings. After sharing Inoue-sensei’s story and information with other members of the Fukuoka JET it was determined that monies raised would be donated to OK Baji. In December, Fukuoka JET gave Inoue-sensei 30 000 yen and she presented the money to OK Baji in Nepal while volunteering during her winter holiday. After she got back, she showed everyone pictures and videos of OK Baji thanking Fukuoka JET for its contribution and school children chanting, “ALT, ALT, ALT” as a thank you! The students held up the new notebooks and pens that were bought with the donation. Ms Inoue was grateful and thrilled that Fukuoka AJET had helped a cause that she supports so actively. Inoue-sensei followed a sense of altruism and has helped better the lives of children in Nepal. In being a vocal supporter of this work, she has taught Japanese students and teachers about Nepal.  Through this international exchange, she has taught Nepalese children about Japan, the English language and even about the JET Programme. She inspired Fukuoka JET to give money to help and she may have even recruited more international volunteers; Fukuoka JETs are already talking about going to Nepal during next winter vacation to volunteer their time and work too.

National AJET would like to thank David Strich for nominating Ms Inoue. She is truly an inspirational person!

We would also like to thank nominators for taking the time to recognise the achievements of exceptional members in your community! The list (in alphabetical order) of runners up is:

  1. Ms Rina Aoki (青木 里菜) nominated by David Casmir Kamper Jr., Fukui Prefecture.
  2. Ms Mieko Ikegami (池上 美恵子) and Ms Hatsue Kono (河野 初枝) nominated by Patricia Dorscher, Nagano Prefecture.
  3. Ms Yuko Iwaishi (岩石 裕子) nominated by Eddah Gichuru, Shimane Prefecture.
  4. Mr Kouji Nojima (野島 浩司) nominated by Wang Hui Ling, Iwate Prefecture.
  5. Ms Mikiko Obana (尾端 美紀子) nominated by Barbara Barrett, Kagawa Prefecture.
  6. Ms Aya Takada (高田 彩) nominated by Gabriel Philip DellaVecchia, Miyagi Prefecture.
  7. Mr Yoshiki Toda (戸田 佳樹) nominated by Matthew Ephraim Duncan, Nara Prefecture.
  8. Ms Keiko Usugi (薄衣 景子) nominated by Derek Jozef Kosciolek, Iwate Prefecture.