SEELS Awarded Grants from World in Asia (WiA)
24 February 2013
Tokyo, Japan

World in Asia (WiA) announced on February 24, 2013 that SEELS, which Akira Foundation (AFJ) funded and has supported, has been awarded a grant by WiA with the other three recipients. WiA has supported local social entrepreneurs and innovators keen to tackle social and economic challenges in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake and resulting tsunami that occurred on March 11, 2011.

Social Enterprise English Language School, or ‘SEELS,’ was founded by Cesar V. Santoyo in May, 2011 and, since then, has been supported by Akira Foundation, financially and non-financially. SEELS aims to create job opportunities as English teachers for more than 6,000 Filipino living in Tohoku, in the northeastern part of Japan. 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.

“This award means a lot in order to narrow the gap between the communities of local Japanese parents and children and Filipinos,” said Cesar V. Santoyo, founder and CEO of SEELS. “Not only that financial assistance would help us leverage SEELS’ resources and working capital, but also that having SEELS in the league of WiA will definitely help us reap more fruits of meaningful, collaborative partnership with social entrepreneurs and innovators through WiA’s network. As such, we all of Filipino migrants are very happy and honored to receive the award.”

In July 2011, WiA started its activities to support social entrepreneurs involved in the area of disaster recovery in Tohoku where the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11, 2011. Since then, WiA has awarded grants to five organizations so far. In addition, given the fact that extensive and long term support will be needed in Tohoku, WiA has started to accept new grant applications for social entrepreneurs who work in the following areas: healthcare, education, transportation, skill training, and town-building.

On February 18, WiA conducted the presentation session and final evaluation for four organizations that had passed the initial screening process, and has awarded grants to all of them (Visit its site at http://wia.stonesoup.jp/). WiA will provide financial and administrative support to SEELS which has been committed to English and early childhood education in Tohoku, in a comprehensive, long-term fashion.

About World in Asia (WiA)
WiA’s mission is to “develop the market for discovering, encouraging, fostering and connecting social entrepreneurs.” In doing so, WiA believes “that the highly developed technology and service industries in Japan’s ‘middle class society’ can be leveraged to solve the problems that the world will be facing in the coming years. At World in Asia, we aim to bring these emerging innovations in Japan to life through a dialogue with global citizens.”

WiA is committed to overcoming the barriers that have hindered collaboration among sectors, organizations and societies, creating broader, innovative agenda with social entrepreneurs, and building its Hybrid Value Chain (HVC) to enable the delivery of new goods, services and projects in line with such problem-solving skills by reducing the separation between for-profit and non-profit organizations.