Social and Pastoral Bulletin_No. 85 Aug. 15, 1998
Oshima Hironao (Teacher of social science at EIKO School)

The Charity movement has always received the support of many persons related to the school since its very beginning, and has been developing in many ways. At its very start a Jesuit Father together with students and some parents visited welfare institutions in many different regions. About 6 years ago, Fr. Inoue Kiyoshi trying to create activities spontaneously selected by the students themselves, re-structured it under the name of “committee of the Charity Movement”. As a result, a teacher from the school provides the directions to plan the social services which all students are invited to perform.
Since one of the basic principles of the school is to be at the service of others, this is also the main motive for this movement. The Charity movement can be divided in 5 fields.
The first one
The first one is to pay visits to welfare institutions. Students go to the institutions on feast days and stay there for half a day. Usually they play with the children there and help to clean the facilities. It has been customary for the last 8 years to visit Misono Children's Home. Each time 20 students participate in this very important experience. Since the institution has asked us to help the children with their studies, a group has been organized to teach primary school children arithmetic drills.
A second activities
A second activity is the holding of a big event for Misono children. The school organizes a Christmas Party for all the children of Misono's Home. The children are invited to spend a whole day at the school. The event has continued to be held for 20 years, and about 100 Eiko students participate in it under the leadership of an executive committee organized by the Charity committee. They enjoy the day playing in the Gym or in the play grounds, listening to the Brass Band and playing bingo games.
A third activity
A third activity that takes place during the summer is called the "service camp at Fukusei Hospital". Started by Fr. Nakamura Takumi with one-day visits with the students to the hospital, the plan developed to a 3-day camp about 5 years ago. Every year now about 20 students participate in this program. Through it the students are able to listen to precious experiences of the senior patients affected by the Hansen disease, and each time they make reports with their personal experiences. In November the students attend the cultural festivals held in the hospital.
The fourth activity
The fourth activity consists in fund raising campaigns. Many students help in the community chest drive on the streets. On the other hand, the profits obtained from selling goods during the school festival are offered to the Charity Movement. Adding to this, other funds collected from parents, groups of mothers connected to the school, from graduates, etc., substantial amounts of money are given to welfare institutions and volunteer groups.
Last year, the offerings at the funeral of Fr. Horton, who had been living in the Jesuit house by the school, were donated to the Charity Movement and that made possible to distribute 1,250,000 yen to 20 institutions and organizations. Besides this, the movement sells in the school postcards made by Hansen disease Filipino patients of the Culion island. (At the school festival this year, a group of High School students translated into Japanese a highly well accepted English handbook made in that island that explains the activities of Jesuits with the Hansen patients).
Finally, under the proposal of Fr. Shimizu Hiroshi a new group, called “tanpopo no kai”, was established 4 years ago by a group of mother volunteers in order to give support to the Charity movement. They not only prepare the food for the participants at the big event in the school for the Misono children and during the Camp at Fukusei hospital, but at present they perform continuous service activities in nearby welfare institutions.
Participation in the Charity Movement is always free and several teachers take turns to make contacts with outside organizations. Nevertheless, the movement's committee discusses ongoing programs once a week at its ordinary meetings, and during the academic term it publishes a monthly newsletter called "News from the Charity movement's committee". Often at the morning gathering of the whole school, school authorities invite everybody to participate in the activities of the Charity Movement. Although teachers organizing Bible study groups and those teaching Ethics are invited to cooperate in the movement, participant students are often the same and it is pitiful that those who not even once have ever participated in volunteer activities are on the increase. During the summer vacations a number of students have visited Fr. Oki in Nepal and others participate in volunteer activities with groups outside the school. Such activities are spreading little by little. It is desirable that students come in contact with people living in environments different from their own, and by working and cooperating with others in various welfare institutions, to accumulate more experiences.