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SEEDCap Japan

 

The Social Entrepreneur Enhanced Development Capital Program (SEEDCap Japan), supports nonprofit organizations in Japan carrying out innovative projects that can serve as models for broader application.


• 2007 Grantees

Kotoba no Atelier

In recent years in Japan, there has been an alarming number of youth, primarily teenage boys and young men, who withdraw from society and live as hikikomori, or “shut-ins,” rarely if ever leaving their rooms. Kotoba no Atelier, a Tokyo-based nonprofit works to draw hikimokori and other youth classified as “NEETs” (Not in Employment, Education or Training) back into societal contact and help them gain the skills they need to support themselves before their parents grow elderly. Operating on the philosophy that these young people can be better engaged in work in areas that they enjoy, Kotoba no Atelier offers support and training to hikikomori and NEETs who wish to pursue careers in creative fields as novelists, professional writers, and comic artists. Their activities include operating a training school for young writers, running an internet radio station, and operating a residential program in Tokyo for aspiring illustrators. 

The first year SEEDCap grant was utilized as seed money to scale up the “Tokiwaso” housing and training program and for hikikomori and NEETs who wish to become manga (comic) illustrators. In 2007, the Tokiwaso project expanded to the current six homes and participation has grown from three young people to 33. This initiative is unique in Japan and it is being closely watched as a promising model by leaders from different sectors of society who have been grappling with this growing problem. Since the residents of the home are required to pay discounted rents, the program has the capacity to eventually become financially self-sustaining.

 

A Dream A Day in Tokyo/Heartful Holiday in Tokyo for Terminally Ill Children

A Dream A Day in Tokyo/Heartful Holiday offers terminally ill children a one-week stay in Tokyo along with their parents to visit amusement parks and tourist sites in order to fulfill their dreams and allow the families to have happy memories of their time together.  Participants are not limited solely to Japanese nationals, and underprivileged children from throughout Asia are also invited as part of an effort to develop friendships with neighboring countries and to enrich the lives of the sick children. 

Although numerous organizations in Europe and the United States support terminally ill children at the final stages of intractable diseases, no other comparable organization exists in Japan.  There is high social demand for these services, but they are not covered by welfare agencies and existing nonprofit organizations.  The first year grant was provided to allow the organization, which was launched in September 2006, to build up its organizational foundation and develop a fundraising base.