September 06, 2016

 Pangaea Newsletter for September

Hello, this is Nomunomu from the Tokyo Honest Village. Continuing on from last month’s newsletter, I’ll be telling you about Pangaea’s KISSY Summer School 2016.
I’ve been promoted from last year and this time around I am acting as a Team Leader in KISSY 2016.

By spending day-in and day-out with children who speak different languages, have different customs and, of course, are all of different ages, and having the experience of creating one piece work, I believe they have learned the joy of communicating despite the difficulties they might come across in doing so. When I was around the same age as the children, I said “Hello” to the local English-speaking children, and it was a starting point to enjoying communicating with others, even if it was frustrating. KISSY is full of experiences just like this one. Even just saying a greeting to one another has become an invaluable memory, and on the last day of KISSY everyone - including the staff - was weeping.
So, this month we hear from the Director, Yumi, as well as having an article from one intern who took part this time in KISSY 2016 from Singapore.

1. Thoughts on KISSY - Ming -
2. About KISSY 2016 Pangaea Director, Yumi Mori

1. Thoughts on KISSY -Ming-

We received some comments from Ming who has been taking part this year from Singapore as an office intern.

■ Thoughts on KISSY -Ming-
Children can be the best learners and teachers in life.
In KISSY 2016, while these young children come from different cultural backgrounds, they have big dreams of making positive changes to our world.
They know no political or social boundaries; they innocently remind us that diversity of languages and races should be celebrated, not divided, in our human civilization.
For eight days, despite their differences, the children ate the same food, lived in the same youth hostel and participated in the same Pangaea activities. These children came to KISSY 2016 as strangers by chance, but they left as friends by their choices because their shared experience. On the last day, it was so touching to see that the children were crying because they did not want to leave their new friends.
KISSY 2016 is more than just a summer camp for the children; it is a seed of global peace that Pangaea is sowing in our future generations.

He was in charge of PR on Facebook for KISSY 2016, and posted about KISSY 2016 in real time for us. Please take some time to read his comments.
NPO Pangaea Facebook is here

2. About KISSY 2016 Pangaea Director, Yumi Mori

We’ve had a heatwave for the past few days in Kyoto, but as I write this newsletter, I hear on the news that there’s a typhoon that has hit land in the Tokyo area.

Pangaea’s summer event, KISSY (Kyoto Intercultural Summer School for Youths) has finished now without any issues. Yesterday (August 21) the KISSY organization was introduced through the Tokyo Shimbun Editorial column with pictures of us (*1). The article wrote not only about the children’s linguistic and cultural differences, but also the theme “We Dream” which they based their creations on and through which they learned about things such as being considerate and the importance of working together.

At an exhibition, Debbie Krisher and her colleague Alan Kay from World Relief for Cambodia (*2), as well as Kim Rose, Executive Director at the wonderful Viewpoint Research Institute (*3) spoke their praises for our work, and told me that we should tell the world soon about what we do.

I wanted to understand people who speak different languages and come from different cultures, and it precisely because of this desire to communicate with other people that I made full use of "Gengoro (machine translation)" and a variety of other communication tools and I believe the children took these on board when working together. From this point of view, it’s one of the joys and also the challenge of a multicultural way of life. It’s a complete waste of time to pretend to understand someone and have no interest because you don’t understand them. Precisely because we are different, we are able to have various viewpoints, and by adhering to the Pangaea rule, "Do not harass others”, we can consider these differences in language and culture in a positive light.

The children each have their own personalities. The shy child, the outgoing child who will talk to anyone, the child who pretends to act tough, the kind-hearted child; there are a lot of personality types. However, at KISSY, by working together to create and build something, and with the help of the team members too, we are able to have a perfectly happy environment.

The lives of the children who come from various countries are also diverse. Not all of the children necessarily live with their parents even. Here at KISSY, diversity is a given, and children learn this through being considerate of one another and working together. Also, thanks to KISSY, children are able to come to recognize their own personal obstacles they encounter in life, and even after having returned back to their various countries after KISSY, I’m sure that the experiences they gained will have given them confidence for the future.

This year marks KISSY’s third year. Pangaea is already 13 years old. This summer, interns and staff from South Korea and even Singapore took part. Leading the way in Cambodia, an 18-year-old young man has been doing his part working on the technical staff from Cambodia. An intern who came from the National University of Singapore uploaded amazing KISSY news to Facebook every day together with photographs and articles. Before KISSY, all the interns that worked with us knew Joukou’s home as their homestay, so even for Joukou it became an exciting cross-cultural exchange there.

We’ve all come to learn so much this summer, not only the children but also many of the adults involved. Yesterday we began discussions in the offices in order to get ready for KISSY next year. At the same time, I’m very grateful also for everyone’s help and so I will do my absolute best from now on to tell the world about the work Pangaea does.

(*1) Please see the Tokyo Shimbun Editorial column at the following URL (in Japanese)
“Thoughts to Start the Week Connecting Machine Translation!”
(*2) World Relief for Cambodia
(*3) Viewpoint Research Institute

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Posted by: kyotohq | 3. Newsletter