Akira Foundation’s investee, SEELS, featured in the Japan Times
12 January 2015
Tokyo, Japan

Social Enterprise English Language School, or ‘SEELS,’ one of our investees, was featured in a recent article in the Japan Times. The story profiles their microfranchising model that “helps Filipinas set up and run international kindergartens and eikaiwa” – English conversation – schools, and the project that Kathryn Doria Goto and Cesar V. Santoyo, founder and president of SEELS, teamed up to work on for making a film titled “Accept Us Maybe.” The Toyota Foundation provides funding for its film development and production.

The article also explained the backdrop of the Filipino community in Japan and how the public’s perception of them has been changed. Santoyo admits that it “has been gradually improving.” He is concerned, however, that “…some middle-aged women are married to older Japanese men who are working class. They are already retired. Living off their pension alone is not enough.” He stressed, “So, for these reasons, a number of women could use assistance. The government should permit them to apply for welfare benefits if they are needed. The release of this film is timely, because this is something we want to advocate for. This is what we mean by social acceptance.”

The full article can be found below.

SEELS was founded by Santoyo in May 2011, shortly after the Great East Japan Earthquake hit northeast Japan. Since then, the social enterprise has been supported by Akira Foundation, financially and non-financially. SEELS creates job opportunities for more than 6,000 Filipino living in Tohoku, the northeastern part of Japan, by educating and training them to become English teachers. It provides English and international early childhood education services at an affordable price, which may fit well in the severe financial hardship condition of the families who fall under the middle income bracket, as well as in need of global-minded human resources.
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