For the past 2 years I have been part of Refugee International Japan (RIJ) group. In RIJ we fundraise during school events, which we send them to NPO RIJ. This NPO use our funds to invest to support refugees all over the world.
My first RIJ fundraising that I participated was during PTSC in September 2017, where we sold postcards, which was relatively successful as we were able to sell sufficient amount of cards. We then sold postcards along with keychains during food fair 2017, but this was not as successful as not as many people came to where RIJ booth was. This was an important lesson for me, as it made me think of ways that could raise school community’s awareness towards refugees around the world and the RIJ.
The most significant event that RIJ hosted, was the Live Aid in March 2018. I personally suggested several activities that should be played during Live Aid, and it was a great opportunity for us to interact with school community and raise awareness of refugee status and RIJ.
On September 24 2018, we hosted a bake sale, where we sold Tapioca Tea during school recess. Before selling the tea we all had a discussion on who brings what, and I volunteered to bring 2L of milk tea, and help to set up the booth. We also had a long discussion regarding price of the tapioca tea, as it will be very important for us to gain money, but at the same make students and teachers buy them, so it was hard for us to have a balance between demand and supply. Eventually, thanks to all RIJ members’ collaboration, this sale resulted in great success, that tapioca sold out very quickly. I also think that warm weather also made students and teacher want to drink the cold tapioca tea.
During food fair 2018, we decided to sell fully hand made keychains, along with postcards. I was participating in selling procedure for 1 hour. However, for the first twenty minutes we were not able to sell as much, because we were quiet, and RIJ booth was in front of Language Building, where not many people came. So, me and my partner decided to move to entrance of cafeteria, where there were more people, and we started saying “Buying this will help you save refugees around the world”, both in English and Japanese. Because of this, a lot of people started buying keychains and postcards, that by the end of our shift there were only few keychains left. Through this, I also learnt that showing passion, location and creativity is very crucial in raising community’s awareness towards RIJ and refugees.
Participating in RIJ not only helped me to learn about refugees around the world. However, along with geography class (which I take), I was also able to learn how we can help refugees, and the ways that we could raise awareness of community towards RIJ and refugees. For example, not only selling postcards and keychains, but with passions, and I also learnt the importance of thinking how we can get more communities’ attention, which can lead to increase in RIJ’s revenues, and more awareness towards refugee, which may lead to change in something. As aforementioned, this was evident during food fair 2018, after finding out that it is not a good method just to sit and wait for people to come, we decided to move to another place, and started talking to people passing by, and because of this, more people stared talking to us, and bought our product. Moreover, through Tapioca Sell, I learnt the importance of considering not only RIJ ourselves (revenue, profit), but also customers into account (price, what they want in this weather), so that both RIJ and communities will be satisfied, and if customers are more satisfied, then there will be more awareness towards refugees around the world.