Social and Pastoral BulletinNo. 9015, Jun. 1999


The Commitee For Social Services

We will introduce here the social service activities of our school, based on the official invitation to all students to participate in them.

  1. Background and concept of social service activities
Our school started social services in 1980 and since that time a social services committee, consisting of students elected from first year junior high school up to third year senior high, runs the social service programs.
Since its foundation Rokko school has stressed the importance of service to others as an essential element of its Christian background, and, as a result, assistance to people who are in need of help has always flourished here. Activities like cooperation with the Community Chest Fund Raising and the involvement in Miyage's Children home go back to about 40 years by now.
In the 70s Jesuit schools from all over the world raised, as their common educational objective, the building of "Men and Women for Others", and decided to adopt the education for the promotion of social justice and to stress even more social service activities. Such an education aims at training persons who will contribute to the building up of a more human society. The educational distinctive of Rokko school is the accomplishment of a society where everybody is considered important and where human rights are respected.
Nevertheless, each one of us tends to just think of oneself unintentionally and, remaining egoistic, dislikes to do something for others. Social service is exactly a fight against one's own egoism. The giving of 200 yen a month out of one's pocket money for an Indian fund, severe volunteer work in working camps and many other opportunities to contribute with one's work or with money, all these I would like them to be done in an attitude of natural cooperation.
We understand that from now on in Japan and Asia, as well as in other parts of the world there are demands to build societies where we, together with those weak people who are suffering from social injustices and discriminations, can enjoy real human lives. Rokko school begs its students, no matter where they will be working in the future, that they strive to build a human society from their place of work. Social services should be understood as a training to do that.
The pillar of education at Rokko is to experience the lives of those in weak social conditions and to share their painful realities, so that opportunities are provided to the students to reflect on human values and the meaning of their experiences. We expect everyone to cooperate actively and understand the meaning of such activities.
  1. Social Activities
(1) The Indian Fund
Each class raises funds from the students every month. The money is collected for the Hansen disease patients of Damian social welfare Center in the Indian province of Bihar. Those funds are mainly used for the daily expenses and the education of children living in the same Damian Center compound where their parents are interned as patients. In each classroom there is a panel with the following message: "Let's assist one more classmate". The funds raised go to support Indian classmates. The amount of money each one is expected to give is estimated to be about 200 yen, more or less the amount spent in one meal. Near 30,000 dollars are sent to India every year, and every 3 or 4 years senior students, representing the school, pay visits to India and upon return they report on how impressed they are by how, usefully, the donations had been spent.
(2) Working Social Services
Every summer all students from Junior 3rd year to 2nd year of High, do one full day social service in welfare institutions around Kobe. The thinking behind is to have the students meet and contact persons of all ages, living in different social situations and environments. There are cases where they stay overnight in the institutions, and some pay visits to Nagashima Aiseien in Okayama or Nara. Teachers prepare the program of the visits for 2nd year Junior students.
(3) Community Chest Fund Raising
Traditionally speaking 1st and 2nd year Junior students help in outdoor fund raising. Organized in small groups, they collect money, from Sannomiya to Motomachi stations, under the leadership of high school members of the social services committee. Every year, the fund raising takes place during the first Saturday and Sunday of the month.
(4) Blood Donation
Every year in December the blood donation bus, from the Japanese Red Cross, comes to the school. Anyone, over 16 years of age, can donate blood. The reason for doing that in December is because in winter there is a shortage of blood.
(5) Activities of the Committee of Social Services
The members selected from every class collect the donations for India once a month, prepare and implement each volunteer activity, do the PR in the school and organize study sessions on social services and exhibitions during the cultural festivals.
(6) Other Activities
  • Support activities in Kamagasaki.- We cooperate with cash donations and collection of rice, with soup kitchens, night patrolling and various other welfare activities in Kamagasaki where people are suffering because of social strain.
  • Collection of old paper for recycling.- We collect old paper, not in use any more, to help in its recycling.
  • Supporting Mr. Sakano working in Cambodia.- We are supporting the work of Mr. Sakano, who graduated from Rokko in 1987, and continues working for the destitute people in war-worn Cambodia.
  1. 1998 Report
(1) The Indian Fund
As already mentioned above we assist the studies and living expenses of children with parents suffering from Hansen disease. The goal for each class to support "one more classmate" is 6,000 yen. The money collected is also used to upgrade the facilities of the vocational training workshops, and helps the students in India to find jobs after graduation and to support themselves.
Last year, the average monthly collection, without counting two months December with a special collection for graduation and the New Year's gift collection in January reached 7,200 yen, quite over the fixed mark for each class. But comparing it to 1992 with 8,200 yen and 1993 with 9,300 yen, years related to the visit to India of delegates from the school, the actual funds collected have somehow diminished.
Last May we distributed to all the students the Report of the third visit to India and discussed in all classes the collection of funds for India. Its content is related to the 1997 visit to India during the spring vacations.
(2) Working Social Services
Last year Junior 1st and 2nd Junior students participated in the Community Chest fund raising. The rest of the students went to several welfare institutions, as is usual every year, and helped there organizing exchange programs. They also helped in the "long-legged" fund raising, participated in events of local community building promoted after the strong Kobe earthquake, paid visits to the people living in temporary shelters and assisted them to move to permanent housing.
(3) Blood Donation
This has continued for 17 years, every December since 1982. Last year alone, 108 people donated blood. This is more or less the average yearly number in the 90s, but the first 8 years in the 80s, about 226 people - as average - donated blood. The numbers went down to half and there is a need to stress cooperation and understanding of this program.

(4) Activities With Regard to the Homeless
We also promote activities with people in Kamagasaki (Osaka) and Kobe forced to live in the streets. We collected from all students rice for the soup kitchens. About 20 volunteer students participated in night patrols during last winter. During the patrolling, we ask the homeless about their health and distribute blankets, soup and rice bowls depending on their needs. Last December our students helped in the cleaning of the welfare institution "Deai no Ie" of Kamagasaki.
  1. Conclusion
If one looks at each activity, there is certainly a need for more creative efforts as we continue our ways of trial and error every year. Through such social services and exposures we touch reality as it is, trying to build up more positively opportunities to face with sympathy human discord. By doing that, we can observe human relationships within real social situations; our desire is that, through those activities, students and teachers can grope together for real human attitudes and a way of life to be aimed at, by all.