Mar 8 2019

Meiji Gakuin Exchange Students Partner with Student at Zuyd University in the Netherlands to Support Japan’s Disaster Victim

Meiji Gakuin University students Shiori Sakamoto, Mugiho Yoshida, Marina Yasumura, and Shiori Takahashi, all of whom are currently studying at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, and Zuyd student Joris de Jong, who previously studied at Meiji Gakuin, have completed a charity project aimed at raising money for recovery from the 2018 Japan floods. 

The students’ report on the project follows.

 "Liefde Project" - Send your "Liefde" to Japan - 

Last year was a year of major natural disasters for Japan, from heavy rains, floods, and typhoons to the Northern Osaka and Hokkaido Eastern Iburi earthquakes.We began our study abroad program at Zuyd University in the city of Maastricht in February 2018 and could only watch from afar on the news and social media as our home country experienced these disasters. Simply receiving information passively felt frustrating, so we asked ourselves what we could do to help. This charity project grew out of the idea that there might be something we could do precisely because we were here in the Netherlands rather than in Japan.

The word “Liefde” in the project name means “love” in Dutch. Many of our Japanese readers might recognize the word because it was the name of the first Dutch boat to arrive in Japan. We decided to include this familiar word in our slogan, “Send your “Liefde” to Japan.  

We had noticed that Zuyd University did not sell hooded sweatshirts with the university’s name on them. We were surprised by this, since wearing the school sweatshirts was part of our image of studying abroad. In response, we hit on the idea of making and selling an original university sweatshirt and donating the proceeds for disaster recovery. We also decided to post information about Japan’s disaster recovery activities on Facebook.

We undertook all aspects of the project ourselves, including design, budgeting, ordering, delivery, and writing articles to post on Facebook. The process was quite challenging, since we had to have many meetings to obtain permission from the university to sell the sweatshirts and communicate frequently with the company we’d ordered from. Recently, however, we finally delivered the sweatshirts to everyone who’d ordered them. We received many orders from students and professors, and feel happy whenever we see someone wearing one on campus.

We plan to donate the proceeds of this project to the Japanese Red Cross Society to support recovery from the July 2018 floods. Although we did not raise a large amount of money, by informing Dutch students about Japan’s natural disasters we feel were able to send another kind of Liefde to Japan.  

We are very happy to have put into practice the Meiji Gakuin University educational philosophy of “Do for Others” through this project. We hope that in the future, wherever we are in the world, we will be able to think about how we can help, take action, and contribute to society.