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Volunteer in Japan – Great Charities to Support in 2016

Japan Charities - Volunteer OpportunitiesSo much unrest and need in the world that one can not sit by and watch – Volunteer in Japan. Get involved! I was at an event the other day, and the volunteer speaker said that “Children raised in a house with volunteering activities become givers and volunteers”.  Teach your children early to walk the talk and give.  To help you get started here is a curated list of charities in Japan that need your help! All great charities that contribute to foreign and Japanese nationals in Japan.  If you would like to nominate an additional charity, please send me an email via the contact form. Give and enjoy life more!

Best Living Japan promotes non-profit community events for free! If you have an event to promote, please submit on this page for consideration. 

Volunteer in Japan – Great Charities to Support in 2016

search1. Room to Read is the English-speaking and bilingual volunteer group dedicated to raising awareness and funds for Room to Read charity. Room to Read envision a world in which all children can pursue a quality education that enables them to reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world.  To achieve this goal, we focus on two areas where we believe we can have the greatest impact: literacy and gender equality in education.  We work in collaboration with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond. Room to Read holds various social and cultural events each year to raise funds.
Email for information on how to get involved: tokyo@roomtoread.org
Website:  http://www.roomtoread.org/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RoomtoRead.Japan?fref=ts



2.  Hands on Tokyo was founded in December 2006 by a group of Japanese and foreign nationals who are committed to making volunteer activities more accessible and committed to accelerating the growth of volunteerism in the Tokyo area. Hands On Tokyo collaborates with many local organizations to encourage senior citizens, revitalise playgrounds, deliver food to the hungry, support people with visual impairment, inspire children in children’s homes, and the list goes on. Overcoming language barriers, we developed a bilingual volunteer clearinghouse so that we can work together for a common purpose. Once a year Hands on Tokyo holds a large fund-raising auction and raffle event usually in November. Throughout the year there area also smaller events.
Email for information on how to get involved: info@handsontokyo.org
Website:  http://www.handsontokyo.org/en/home


wac-logo3. Japan Relief for Cambodia & World Assistance for Cambodia was launched in Tokyo in 1993 to provide humanitarian aid to Cambodia. It was founded by longtime Tokyo-based American journalist, Bernie Krisher. Bernie reported on Cambodia during the early 1960s for Newsweek and became friends with Prince Sihanouk. Sihanouk was ousted by a coup d’etat in 1970 and civil war ensued. Bernie flew to Cambodia with his daughter, Debbie, to welcome Sihanouk back home. What Bernie and Debbie saw was a country decimated by war. That’s when Bernie decided to do something. He has launched a daily newspaper; built a charity hospital that provides medical care free of charge; established an orphanage for children whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS; built more than 550 rural schools all over Cambodia (many equipped with computers and internet access); set up school vegetable gardens that provides meals to students before classes; initiated the Girls Be Ambitious program that now supports hundreds of girls by enabling them to receive an education; and created a magnet scholarship program for academically talented students to pursue higher education.
Email for information on how to get involved: debbie@cambodiaschools.com
Website: http://www.cambodiaschools.com


search-14. Tokyo English Life Line (TELL) was founded in 1973, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing world-class, effective support and counseling services to Japan’s international community and helping to address the country’s growing mental health care needs. TELL offers the TELL lifeline which is free, anonymous telephone counseling and support across Japan. 9:00 – 23:00 daily; TELL Counseling professional face-to-face counseling and psychotherapy for individuals, couples and families in Tokyo and Yokohama; and, TELL Outreach programs and support for international and multi-cultural families. Tell holds an annual wine auction in the fall, a charity run in the spring and numerous other events.
Email for information on how to get involved: event@telljp.com
Website: http://telljp.com/


logo5. Shine On! Kids is dedicated to making life better for kids with cancer and other serious illnesses in Japan and their families. Shine On! Kids (formerly The Tyler Foundation) was incorporated as a Non-Profit Organization under the laws of Japan in July 2006 and has been supported entirely by private and corporate donations. The creation of the organization was inspired by the smiles and courage of Mark and Kim Ferris’ son Tyler, who spent much of his short life battling a very difficult-to-cure kind of leukemia. After they lost Tyler, they realized there were many ways to take Tyler’s struggles and their experience and create something positive for families going through what they had endured. While the level of medical treatment in Japan is one of the best in the world, the area of patient support is still relatively undeveloped. The organization hopes to redefine the concept of patient support in Japan to create a complete patient support system: from the moment of diagnosis, throughout treatment and even after discharge from the hospital. Shine On! Kids holds two major fundraising auctions/events per year, as also has ongoing fund drives to raise money for the Facility Dog and Beads of Courage® programs.

Email for information on how to get involved: volunteer@sokids.org
Website: http://sokids.org/
Facebook page


1VYDz3Po96ry4wQY7i8Z6. Playground of Hope aims to restore the “social fabric” of disaster-affected and or economically challenged communities through the power of play.  Playground of Hope provides cost effective play equipment and the pairing donors with local volunteers to build play spaces that restore community pride and help make communities “livable” again for children, their parents, and grandparents. The project was launched on April 1, 2012, and currently has completed 38 locations – see completed project here. Please make a donation or consider volunteering your physical labor at the next build.
Email for information on how to get involved:info@playgroundofhope.org
Website: https://www.playgroundofhope.org/
Facebook page


7. Japan Association for Refugees – Although Japan has far fewer refugees vs. other developed nations, the number has been growing steadily and now has reached about 1,000 people a year.  A refugee is a person who had to escape from their home country to protect his or her life from persecution.  However, what they face in Japan is quite different from the peaceful new life that they had dreamed of. They do not understand the Japanese language and laws. In isolation and uncertainty, refugees have to survive while waiting for their refugee status to be granted. It usually takes 2 to 3 years, with some cased taking more than five years. Japan Association for Refugees (JAR)’s mission is to make Japan a safe and hospitable place for refugees and asylum seekers and empower refugees to become self-sufficient residents of Japan for an independent livelihood. There are three ways you can support JAR.
Website: https://www.refugee.or.jp/en/

imgres-48. Habitat for Humanity mobilizes local leadership and resources to expand access for all people to decent, affordable shelter. Typically, volunteers and home partners work together through Habitat for Humanity affiliates to build or renovate houses. In this process, Habitat forgoes making a profit on loans through interest, putting value instead on meeting human need. Long-term housing security for a family, typically homeownership, is the expected result. Habitat for Humanity offers Japan and Asia volunteer opportunities.
Email for information on how to get involved:http://www.habitatjp.org/index_e.html
Website: http://www.habitatjp.org/index_e.html
Facebook page

9. Run For A Cure  is a registered NPO with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government since 2004. Our mission is to eradicate breast cancer in Japan as a life-threatening disease through education, timely screening, and treatment.  Through our activities, the Foundation funds education initiatives, clinical examinations and mammography machines; donates funds to organizations that promote activities specific to the mission of the Foundation; and develops and executes community outreach programs. We have donated six mammography machines to six clinics in areas where women are underserved, more than 14,000 women have benefited from mammograms, with over 3,600 funded screenings. The Foundation holds three annual events open to the general public to raise funds in support of our cause.
Email for information on how to get involved: info@runforthecure.org
Website: Run For A Cure
Facebook page

75301_175031845846308_4911944_n10. Second Harvest aims to create a Food Safety Net in Japan. In order to do so, they deliver food to children’s homes, single-mother shelters, centers for the disabled as well as many other welfare organizations and individuals in need.  You can volunteer your time to make and deliver food, donate food or money.
Email for information on how to get involved:info@2hj.org
Website: http://2hj.org/english/
Facebook page 


OGA_logo-111. O.G.A for Aid – O.G.A. for Aid is a group of international volunteers who began to work with disaster survivors after the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami hit Japan’s North East territory. Over the past 4.5 years they have raised over $1M USD to provide emergency supplies, build warehouses for supplies, cultural exchanges and internships. They have also supported relief efforts following the recent earthquakes in Nepal and the Philippines. Every December they also run the Santa Soul Train which provides cards, gifts and stockings to thousands of Tohoku kids and adults.  They are based out of Minami-Sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture. You can volunteer time, supplies or donate money and time of the year. They need in Tohoko still exists! Support today.

Website: http://www.ogaforaid.org/en/about.html


asian-university-for-women12. AUW (Asian University for Women) – I had the pleasure of attended an AUW event last spring and was blown away that a university created in 2008 is educating 500 women who never had access to college before. There is a very active Tokyo-based Friends of the AUW, who are responsible for raising AUW funds and awareness in Japan. To join the group and contribute your time and skills contact here. The Asian University for Women ultimately seeks to empower its students by opening doors to new international opportunities.To join the group and contribute your time and skills contact here.  It seeks to graduate students who will pursue paths as skilled and innovative individuals and professionals, service-oriented leaders, and promoters of tolerance and understanding throughout the world.  Founded in 2008, the Asian University for Women (AUW) is an independent, international university in Chittagong, Bangladesh seeking to educate a new generation of leaders in Asia. AUW admits students solely on the basis of merit, regardless of their family’s income level, and nearly all students are on full scholarship with many as the first in their family to attend university. . The University is committed to graduating generations of women leaders who will tackle their countries’ social, economic, and political issues while collaborating across cultural, ethnic, and religious lines. There are approximately 500 students enrolled from 15 countries in Asia and the Middle East.

For more information on AUW including academics, curriculum, and admissions, please go to the university’s website here: http://www.auw.edu.bd/.  The AUW Support Foundation, a 501(c)(3)-registered nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the principal source of funding mobilization for the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh. To donate the program and help pay for a young woman’s college education click here.


Volunteer in Japan – Great Charities to Support in 2016

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  1. William Finley

    To whom it may concern,

    I am sending this email on behalf on the Northern Suburbs Rugby Football Club, located in Sydney, NSW, Australia.

    In 2016 we are touring Japan on a rugby tour from December 1st to December 14th. Staying in Tokyo between the 2nd-5th.

    It is in our tour interest, to run a half day event where we can help a charity, school/s or underprivileged children with a rugby clinic.

    We are open to ideas and suggestions

    Looking forward to hearing back from you,

    kind regards,

    William Finley.
    Northern Suburbs Rugby Football club
    Tour committee.

    • William, Sounds like a great opportunity. My kids play rugby in Tokyo on a community team. I can speak to the organisers and see what we can help arrange. I will contact you outside of this comment board. Lauren

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