“Mirai(Future) Challenge Project” Our thoughts for this program
The “Mirai（Future） Challenge Program” is a program that provides the opportunity to broaden their horizons, think about their career paths, and take on new challenges to young people between the ages of 15 and 20 with immigrant backgrounds.
We, the members of Sumitomo Corporation’s pro bono team members and glolab who have been working together on the project, had a round-table talk on our thoughts for this program . We hope our thoughts are to be delivered to you.
◆Planners of this program
・Ms. Kuroe: Pro bono team for Sumitomo Corporation. She has been working with glolab since October 2020.
・Mr. Inoue: Pro bono team for Sumitomo Corporation. He has been working with glolab since October 2020.
・Ms. Li Shu: NPO glolab, coordinator in charge of this program. Graduate student at Hokkaido University.
・Ms. Hitomi: Coordinator of NPO glolab. Specializes in Japanese language education for young people.
The contents of the program are gradually being consolidated. Let’s start with the program coordinator, Ms. Li Shu. What do you expect from the young people with immigrant backgrounds who participate in this program, and what would you like to see happen after their participation?
Don’t run away from thinking and worrying about your future.
When I first started planning the program, I wanted the students to be able to see the world more broadly and make wider choices about their future. However, thinking about the future is tedious, and after all, we tend to take the easy way out, don’t we? I think a lot of people would be thinking, “Everyone is going to high school, so I’m going to high school too, and after high school, I’ll probably go to college.” For high school students with immigrant backgrounds, there are barriers such as learning Japanese language, they may have problems with money, so their choices will be limited and it will not be an easy path. So, it is important to think about the future and worry about it at an early stage. I wanted to start from that point.
I hope this camp will give everyone a chance to think about what to do. I don’t know what choices they will make from there, but I hope that the camp will send the message that thinking about your career path is not a hassle, but an important one. From there, I hope that each student will be able to think about their own options, but if the worrying becomes too much, glolab will continue to support them.
Does this idea overlap with your actual experience? Li Shu:
I am confident that I have made each and every choice on my own. Perhaps if I had seen more things when I was in junior high school or high school, I might have had more choices. But I did the best I could with my serious consideration. There is never a best option, and in the end, people do tend to stumble. I do have some regrets, but it would be nice if I could say, “No, but I did the best I could at that time, so I’m okay with that.
I think it’s probably because you’re convinced that you’ve made the right choice, that you’re able to have confidence in yourself, and that you want everyone else to do the same. In this sense, you want people to worry more, and you want them to participate in this program because it will sow the seeds for them to consider their future seriously.
I think this is a really important point. I believe that there is a big difference between making a decision and going forward with it, or just saying, “I’ll just go with it”. I believe that people who decide to go for it after much deliberation are amazing, even if the path is thorny. The people around you will help you. Therefore, I agree with Ms. Li Shu’s wish to remind people that “Serious consideration” is important.
I got the message that it is important to have serious consideration about the future. What is the feature of this program to help that?
The idea is to allow young people to learn naturally while having fun. “Career” may be a very common word for university students and adults, but for young people, “career” may not be so common. But for young people, “career” is still a bit of a hurdle. We want to make sure that they don’t feel any hurdles. Rather than coming here to study, I want them to think, “I can meet other people who have had the same experience as me,” or “I can do something fun”. The most important thing was to design the program in such a way that people could learn naturally while having fun.
When you say “having fun,” can you tell us what sort of activity you are referring to?
It’s about getting outside and experiencing something new. This time, we will go online to Urahoro-cho in Hokkaido to do fieldwork, work experience, and listen to the life stories of the people of Urahoro-cho. If the situation of COVID19 improves, we will actually go to Urahoro-cho next year to do the predetermined challenge work and interact with the people of Urahoro-cho. High school students usually live in particular areas and don’t have many opportunities to participate in events outside of school, so I think it’s fun to experience a new world. When I was in the second year of junior high school, I went to Hokkaido from Tokyo to participate in a training camp, and was inspired by the different lifestyle from what I had imagined Japan to be like. Based on this experience, I would like to provide the same kind of stimulation to the youth of today, and convey the joy of this experience to them.
Ms. Kuroe has been helping with the planning of the program, and have arranged the program specially, right?.
Yes. I created a variety of “pre-learning workshops” ideas. This workshop was designed to help everyone find out what they like to do and what they are good at, based on the theme of “knowing your inner self” in order to think about your future job. It’s about knowing yourself through actual experience. I think it’s important to think about what you’re good at and what suits you. I hope people get to know this idea, and get some hints.
It’s a lot of fun, isn’t it? It also makes you recognize that there is a microcosm of society in the small team. I think it’s an interesting workshop to find out what kind of role you can play.
Agree. It’s fun for me to think that I can do more and more. This workshop, as well as the whole program, is designed to help you think about what you should do with your own initiative.
In this program, participants will be working in a different environment than usual. Therefore, just participating in the program is a very proactive thing to do, and the program is designed in such a way that the participants can think while receiving various stimulation. I was not good at making decisions and taking actions on my own. However, I know from experience that I was able to overcome this problem because someone encouraged me, saying, “If you work a little harder here and now, you will see a new you,” and I hope I can do something like that.
Thank you very much. Everyone has expressed passion. Lastly, please give a few words to the young people with immigrant backgrounds who are considering participating in this program.
As the phrase “Mirai(Future) Challenge” implies, I want people to look forward to the future. If you participate in this program, you will probably be able to connect with other people, and you may discover that what you have been worrying about on your own is actually not such a big deal. I would like people to feel free to participate in this program and look forward to it. I’m sure you’ll make many good encounters and connections through this program, and I think it will be an asset to you, so please look forward to it.
If you go forward on your own, you will always find a way, and there will always be people who help you. I think the most important thing is to take the first step forward on your own. This is true no matter how old you are and it doesn’t matter what affiliation you belong to. I hope you will get a chance to do that. I’d be happy if you could join us.
I’m sure you are in a variety of environments and have a variety of problems, but if you are wondering what to do, don’t hesitate to try. The other day, I went to Urahoro-cho in Hokkaido, where we are cooperating, and met and talked with many people. Everyone was very interested in young people with immigrant backgrounds, and many cheered for us, saying, “We didn’t know about this, but we want to support you. We are all waiting for you.
There are people around you who help you. I want people to participate without thinking too much about it, thinking that if they move forward on their own, things will go well.
Facilitation: Mika Hitomi
Editter: Hiroshi Kageyama