REI Schools Program

When I was a year 6 student, my friends and I organised a meeting with you to discuss the plight of refugees and what we could do to help. I have recently been selected as one of ten delegates to represent my state at the United Nations Youth National Conference. I was selected because of my passion for human rights in particular for refugees and asylum seekers. I would just like to say thank you for all of your help those many years ago because doing that fundraiser and talking to you about refugees was the start of my passion and without it I may not have been given this amazing opportunity. Thank you very much for taking me seriously as an 11 year old and helping to encourage my passion for helping others. —Bree Marlay, ex ASIJ student.

Student Fundraising and Awareness Raising Activities

REI encourages students to play an active role in supporting projects that provide opportunities for those displaced by conflict around the world by leading fundraising and awareness-raising for refugee issues in their schools and communities.

By joining or forming an REI student group, you’ll:

  • Effectively assist refugees in need by fundraising for and working with an experienced Japanese NPO;
  • Develop the skills of “global citizenship”, including leadership, teamwork and organisational ability, and other skills valuable in your study life and future careers;
  • Meet passionate, like-minded other students from schools across the Kanto area.

What Schools are Doing

Seisen Elementary students organised a fund-raising day at school and raised ¥110,000. They were inspired to to this after listening to a presentation from REI about refugees. The students said:
“Refugees are just like us, they’ve just lost everything, it could happen to any child & it’s not fair.”
“Jane told us we should have fun raising money.”
“The refugees should have what we have, they’re children like us.”

High School students at ASIJ organised a conference on Child Displacement with presentations on international displacement issues, child rights in Japan and life in a foster home. A great initiative to highlight the issues facing children around the world and to draw interest in NGO work.

At Junten Middle and High School, students annually organise a Sponsored Run to raise money for REI projects.

Individual students also contribute to REI’s cause.
10 year-old Rosie H asked for cash instead of presents on her birthday. Her brothers thought she was mad but Rosie said she had plenty of things and wanted refugee children to have the opportunities she has. Rosie donated ¥35,000 to REI.
5 year-old Inez C did a 5km scoot around Yoyogi Park. She prepared the flyers herself and sent them out to friends and family. Inez raised ¥30,000 to support REI.

Light up the Life of a Refugee Child

Every year, schools help plan and implement the “Light up the Life of a Refugee Child” event – in fact, most of the event is organized and carried out by dedicated volunteer students. In 2014 the event changed to a concert and is held at St Mary’s International School. Students from four or five schools around the Tokyo area participate. It is an event for children, by children.
You can view 2018 concert here.

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the students and teachers who have supported us!

If you’re interested in starting a REI Schools group in your school or for more information, contact us!