Rainbow for Japan Kids
Rainbow for Japan Kids

On July 25, 2015, the College of Education Department of Learning Design and Technology (LTEC) hosted the 2015 Hawaiʻi Tōhoku Tomodachi Summit for the Rainbow for Japan Kids Program. The program supports youth affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan. In addition to a video collaboration project, led by LTEC Chair Curtis Ho and Associate Professor Peter Leong, students participated in inspirational sessions with the Taiko Center of the Pacific, the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Camp Kōkua & Hoʻala School, and Kapiʻolani Community College’s International Cafe among others.

“The summit was a large success,” said Ho. “Wist Hall provided the perfect venue for the student presentations and large group ceremonies. LTEC staff members Kitty Hino, Peter Leong, Claire Chun, Genta Togashi, Chisato Nonaka, David Cypriano, Naomi Tanaka, and Ty Aki were vital in making the events run smoothly. They are true ambassadors for the COE.”

The purpose of the Rainbow for Japan Kids Program is to aid in the relief and recovery of affected students. The complete 10-day program includes school visits, camp stays, the COE summit, and various activities around the island. With sponsorship from the Hawaiʻi Senior Life Enrichment Association NPO, Bikki Organization Japan, TOMODACHI Initiative, The Japan Foundation, and other partners, the program has served more than 120 children from Japan since 2011.

During the summit at the COE, 18 middle school students from Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures in the Tōhoku region and 16 Hawaiʻi students shared their visions on how to build sustainable societies and economies. Offering encouragement and new friendships, the summit aims to foster lifelong bonds “to create a rainbow bridge between Japan and Hawaiʻi so these children will experience the spirit of aloha and return home with new hope to create a better future for themselves and their communities” (en.rainbowforjapankids.com).

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