APFS Children’s Conference

We conducted a Children’s Conference on Saturday, August 29th, 2015 from 1:30 to 3:30 PM.

We discussed what kinds of challenges the children of undocumented residents face and how they might resolve these issues in order to kick off APFS’s 100 Days to Nurture Children’s Dreams Campaign.

Ten children with parents from Iran or the Philippines and ranging in age from those attending elementary school all the way up to a vocational school student participated in the event.

At the beginning of the conference, I listened to the story of a child of undocumented residents who, at the end of a variety of efforts, was able to obtain a resident status.

That person said, “I want to cherish every single day without taking myself for granted” and “the experience of struggling without a resident status has had a positive impact on my life” and also spoke of the fact that there is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which Japan has ratified.

The children who were listening said they “realized it’s important to take action” and that “it seems like there’s a conflict between the Convention on the Rights of the Child and my current situation.” Someone remarked, “I think I can keep holding on to my dreams.”

To continue, we discussed what they should do to go about solving their problems.

Issues such as:
・Not being able to continue on to college or find work
・Not being able to receive medical care because they can’t acquire insurance
・Having a tough life since their parents can’t work
・Being the only one that can’t participate in overseas school trips
were mentioned.

Possible solutions included:
・Discussing their situation with trusted friends and seek their support
・Conducting petitions
・Making sincere appeals for support through public demonstrations
・Considering their differences from others in a positive light

Statements from the children that, “I want freedom” and “I wanna break through the visa barrier” were particularly impressive.

Starting in September, APFS will engage in a 100-day campaign in order to help children be able to nurture their own dreams.
Your support and cooperation are greatly appreciated.