10 March 2012
Hirofumi Yokoi | Tokyo, Japan

At the site of an evacuation center in Tokyo, Filipino people attended memorial services and discos on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the tragic disaster which destroyed the north east (Tohoku) of Japan. More than 70 Filipino took a long, exhausting trip by bus from the disaster-hit Tohoku region and reunited their families and friends at a Catholic church, Tokyo, and shared their personal stories with one another in remembrance of the disaster.

The honorable Ambassador of the Philippines to Japan, Manuel Lopez, along with the officers at the embassy, also attended the ceremony to pray for the victims and their families of Japan earthquake and tsunami and danced with an encouraging song for them and the audience. Chris, a board member of Akira Foundation, and I was also invited to the event and met Cesar Santoyo, Executive Director of SEELS and Kathryn Doria Goto, Chairman of Hawak Kamay Fukushima, to share together some updates on the ongoing project of opening a first pre-school for children of Filipino migrants in Fukushima.

23 February 2012
Hirofumi Yokoi | Tokyo, Japan

Filipino communities, including SEELS and Catholic Tokyo International Center, had a meeting with the Ambassador of the Philippines to Japan, Manuel Lopez, and the Philippines Society of Japan, Inc. It was held at the embassy of the Philippines in Japan, and they lobbied the government and non-governmental organization to introduce their aspiring missionary program in Fukushima, where foreign migrants have been facing challenges to make a living from the aftermath of the massive earthquake and tsunami which occurred on March 11, 2011.

Cesar Santoyo, Executive Director of SEELS, and I sit together and discussed the matter with the Ambassador, President of the Philippines Society of Japan, Inc., Yoshihisa Ara, and other senior executives and officers. The meeting went well with positive feedback from the embassy and we reached consensus on several essential aspects of establishing a pre-school to help children develop their capabilities through Montessori principles which nurtures their intrinsic desire to learn in an enriched, supportive environment. Hawak Kamay Fukushima (HKF), a Filipino NGO, will take the lead in this program.

10 February 2012
Atsufumi Yokoi | Cambridge, UK / Cape Town, South Africa

I was honored to be selected as one of the prestigious delegates in the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) this year. The CPSL has over twenty years of experience of working with global leaders from business, government and civil society, sponsored by HRH the Prince of Wales. To address critical global challenges, the CPSL provides international forums and seminars for senior executives across the globe, which enables them to deepen their understanding of today’s social, economical and environmental landscape and to explore their leadership that benefits their own organization and society as a whole. As one of the delegates at the CPSL, I will attend the upcoming seminar, ‘Cambridge Sustainability Practitioner Programme’, being held at the Devon Valley Hotel in Stellenbosch (Western Cape, South Africa), and then, I will become a member of the Cambridge Sustainability Netowork (CSN) to share knowledge, foster cooperation and achieve real challenges together with global leaders.

10 January 2012
Hirofumi Yokoi | Tokyo, Japan

The orientation and workshop session for the AFF-BRAC University Microfinance Professional Development Course, which Alliance Forum Foundation (AFF) organizes and operates, was held in Tokyo, Japan. About 20 people participated in the event. In the session, Stuart Rutherford, the author of The Poor and Their Money, and founder of SafeSave, a microfinance institution in Bangladesh, gave a lecture on microfinance and SafeSave’s money-management services for the poor. In what follows, I, on behalf of AFJ, sit together with Mr. Rutherford and shared with the audience my knowledge and experience in the microfinance industry across the MENA region, and worked with the participants as a facilitator towards leading them to a further understanding in the industry and its challenges underneath.