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Part.2 - Lecture and Practice

WAVOC fusion of lecture and practice

WAVOC supports social contributions by students and provides an opportunity for hands-on learning by combining lecture-based study of knowledge and experience-based practice courses held onsite. This section contains writings by the 3 instructors who support these lectures and projects, as well as by the students who participated in the lectures and projects.

An opportunity to close the distance between yourself and society

Currently, Reproductive Health is attracting attention among healthcare fields which support the health of both the mind and body. The undesired pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases of people in weak social positions, such as unmarried women and foreigners, are becoming serious problems throughout the world.

Topics such as sexually transmitted diseases, domestic violence, and undesired pregnancy are raised in the lectures of the Global Health course provided by WAVOC. The goal of this course is to emit a message to society through research projects. Last year, students independently produced an educational DVD regarding domestic violence that occurs in dating. The contents of this DVD were highly creative, and I wanted the DVD to be seen by more people. Upon calling for corporate cooperation, I received assent from several foreign-owned corporations. Using this support, I was able to distribute the DVD to centers for gender equality throughout Japan. There is hope to found in the ability of honest expression possessed by students, who have nothing to lose. Personally, I also want to search further for methods of transmitting messages to society.

Discussing feelings is a vital process. The theme of this project is how to transmit to society your feelings regarding problems.

Through the lectures and projects, I want students to realize that social problems are also their own problems. It is not enough to only help victims. Problems will not be resolved only the wide framework of society is changed. I want students to realize that they are also a person who is responsible for the formation of that society. When confronting social problems, the acquirement of knowledge is not enough. It is also essential to sense the reality of problems and exercise creativity. If these essential points are used as the basis for action, it will be possible to effect changes in society.

Through the opportunity provided by volunteer activities, students encounter people in a variety of positions. For example, when encountering victims of domestic violence, students come face-to-face with the courage and strength needed by these victims to speak about their difficult experiences. This kind of experience creates the feeling that one is not only working as a supporter, but is actually receiving support for oneself. This is an experience that serves to close the gap between society and oneself. In this meaning, volunteer activities by students are also preparation for entering society.

Independently produced educational DVD dealing with the problem of domestic violence during dating. This DVD can be obtained at gender equality centers throughout Japan. Also, the DVD will be distributed for free to schools and community groups. Contact the Waseda University Hirayama Ikuo Volunteer Center (TEL: 03-3203-4192, Email: wavoc@list.waseda.jp)

Gains from lectures and project experience

While facing laws and reality

Fumi Onoue, 4th year student School of Law

Ms. Onoue. At a support camp held in Tochigi Prefecture for victims of domestic violence.

When studying law at university, you sometimes encounter the illusion that the entire world can be divided into the two categories of good or evil. Through this project, I came into contact with women who were the victims of DV, and I intensely felt the scale of the incomprehensible scars borne by these women. These women are "victims" and must be saved. However, there were some women who, even as they are the victims of domestic violence, also abuse their children at home or abuse other people close to them. Within these "perpetrators", there are women who have been abused since they were young girls. Both victim and perpetrator exist within one single person. Actual society cannot be divided into the two categories of good and evil.

In the future, I wish to work as a lawyer, a profession which faces people with the premise of either "victim" or "perpetrator" based on the strength of the law. Even through I am aware of the vagaries which exist in actual society, I am still committed to entering a field which clearly uses the judgments of good and evil. I am determined to work my hardest for the benefit of my client at that time, and I will enter law school in April. This is the path that I have chosen.

Multidimensional perspectives raised through volunteer activities

Eco-Community Tanzania is one volunteer project towards Africa. Project activities take place in the village of Robanda, which lies next to the Serengeti National Park. This village is troubled by damage to crops and injuries to people caused by elephants. In the background of these problems is the structure of oppressing the lifestyle of natives through the environmental conservation ideology of developed countries. The Ikoma ethnic group which inhabits this village has existed on a lifestyle which originally consists of hunting, agriculture, and livestock breeding. However, due to environmental conservation policies which regulate illegal hunting of elephants for ivory, even hunting for the purpose of food by the Ikoma peoples has been prohibited. As a result, elephants are no longer afraid of people and have begun to inflict damage.

Through lectures and projects, I want students to become aware of this current situation and understand the reality that the ideology of developed countries may have a negative effect on the lifestyle of minorities. Also, I want to develop a multidimensional consciousness towards the merits and demerits of environmental conservation activities and volunteer activities. For example, students should be aware that it is not possible to determine whether the cause of global warming is carbon dioxide, and that other ways of thinking exist. I believe that this kind of multidimensional perspective can also be applied to studies within each individual school.

As much as possible, I want students to visit the actual sites and hear the actual voices of local people. Information overflows all around us through television and the internet. However, experiencing things with your own eyes and ears becomes the basis for an ideology as unwavering and actual value standards. WAVOC provides many such opportunities, and I hope that many people, not just students, take advantage of these opportunities.

In the future, I want to support students as they transmit to many people what they have learned and how they have grown through volunteer experiences. The Volunteer Fair held by WAVOC is one example of such support. The range of activities will further increase if feelings and thoughts from those activities are transmitted to the outside world. I continue to expect great results in the future from the passion and raw energy of students.

Pajero patrol car, a crystallization of a bond that can be called the "feelings" of participating students, villagers, and all people who supported and cooperated in the project.

At an elementary school, children listen to an explanation of the events leading to the donation of the patrol car.

Interview survey regarding the state of elephant damage and the effect of the donated patrol car.

Dancing together the traditional village dance and deepening bonds. A vital part of the activities in order to create a relationship of trust.

Gains from lectures and project experience

Having faith that a small step forward will link us together

Yumino Sato, 2nd year student School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Ms. Sato. During the project in Tanzania, where she was able to feel a connection with people.

I enrolled in the "Environment & Volunteer Activities" lecture which I had always been interested in. Before participating in the lecture, I had only thought that global warming was a bad phenomenon and that the environment required conservation. However, upon participating in the lecture, my stereotypes towards the environment were broken down. One example of this is when I learned about "elephant damage", a subject which our instructor Mr. Iwai has researched for many years and which is an activity theme of the Eco-Community Tanzania project. I realized that people are also part of the environment and that nature is not always something to be conserved but something that may inflict harm on people. I also learned that the ideal form of the environment is for nature and people to coexist while affecting each other.

I realized and encountered a great number of things once I actually started to participate in activities. I was particularly interested in the connection between individual people in Tanzania. Even if the other person is a stranger, greetings are exchanged when people meet. The children interact as if they were all siblings and people live as if they were one large family. Before coming to Tanzania, I had only through of Africans as the recipients of aid and as myself as the giver of aid to those people. However, in actuality, the people of Tanzania gave many things to me.

After returning to Japan, I was involved in activities to broaden the Eco-Community Tanzania project and in events to educate more people regarding Africa. I performed this work because I wanted to value, even in Japan, the connections with people that I was able to make in Tanzania. Even today, I remember the faces of the people in Tanzania as I participate in volunteer activities.

The meaning of studying issues of Hansen's Disease at university

Why is it now necessary to study the issues of Hansen's Disease? Currently, a treatment method for Hansen's Disease has been established and there are almost no incidences of people with this disease in Japan. Even on a global perspective, it is predicted that Hansen's Disease will be neutralized within a few years. What is the significance of all this?

This disease, which is said to have existed in the years B.C., has been thoroughly detested and eliminated by humankind. It is certainly no exaggeration to call the global neutralization of Hansen's Disease the fulfillment of humankind's long-cherished wish. On the other hand, the neutralization of Hansen's Disease will also mark the beginning of obscurity for the negative history of human rights violations that were shared by all of humankind.

It is not sufficient to use only textbooks to study human rights issues. In 2003, there was an incident in which a hot spring hotel refused to lodge people living in a medical center for the treatment of Hansen's Disease. One student referred to this incident by saying "I wasn't sure if I could protest against the hotel in that situation even though I have never meet a person with Hansen's Disease". That student participated in the project and lived together with senior citizens in a convalescent village for Hansen's Disease in China. During that time, the vague divisions and prejudices felt by that student disappeared. With only knowledge regarding Hansen's Disease, it is only possible to understand the characteristics of Hansen's Disease. However, when you actually interact with patients, you can understand the naturalness of people who are friendly grandfathers and grandmothers. It is necessary to study from a textbook and from onsite at the same time, and WAVOC aims for this method of learning. Media is one method for creating an impetus for the study of issues surrounding Hansen's Disease, but the topic will not be addressed by the media if there is not heightened interest from society. Therefore, I believe that this is a mission entrusted to educational institutions.

In the future, I hope to create partnerships with civic groups and group corporations and to attempt approaches which are not possible by a university alone.

Convalescent village for Hansen's Disease in China. Interaction as human beings breaks down divisions and prejudice.

Gains from lectures and project experience

How much of a relationship can be constructed with the other person?

Aiko Kaneji, Reporter at Kyodo News 2005 Graduate of School of Education

Ms. Kaneji. At Hoshizuka-Keiaien (sanitarium in Kagoshima Prefecture)

I have always been interested in minority issues, perhaps because I was born in Okinawa. During my time at Waseda, this interest led me to enroll in courses that dealt with human right issues, and I encountered the problems surrounding Hansen's Disease.

I still remember when, through practical exercises of the course, I actually visited a sanitarium and met people recovering from Hansen's Disease. Until that time, I had always thought that I wanted to view matters from the side of people in a weak position. However, I could not help staring at the hand of a recovered patient who bore the aftereffects of the disease. At that time, I felt the danger of myself standing on the side of those who discriminate.

Even now, I am conscious of that experience while considering the relationship between myself and the person who is the subject of my reporting. When conducting reporting, I believe that it is important not to become fixated on the relationship of reporter and subject of reporting. Rather, it is vital to create a human relationship from a different perspective.

As I continue to write articles in the future, I hope to avoid fixation on the concept that Hansen's Disease is a sad disease. Instead, I want to convey that people with the disease are living naturally as part of society.