On April 3, Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe conferred a certificate of commendation to The Volunteer ’95, a Japanese NGO, in recognition of its efforts in the promotion of kindergarten education in the outskirts of Zamboanga City and its contribution to the enhancement of friendly relations between Japan and the Philippines through its various community projects, at the Ambassador’s residence in Makati City.
The Volunteer ’95, established in March 1995, was initially organized to extend assistance to those affected by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995. In November 2000, the NGO started constructing a kindergarten in Salum Village, Zamboanga City. The school offers education in English, mathematics and Filipino language.
Since the kindergarten was established, the enrollment rate of the children in elementary schools has significantly risen and 58 children were enrolled in high school of which 15 children proceeded to universities. The NGO has also granted 53 scholarships to date.
The Volunteer ’95 has also provided financial assistance to the village farmers for the improvement of roads and irrigation system, and for the purchase of fertilizer, seeds and saplings. With the cooperation of a Japanese agricultural expert, the NGO has contributed significantly to the agricultural productivity of the village.
Understandably, the activities initiated by The Volunteer ’95 have created an atmosphere of cooperation and solidarity among the Christian and Muslim communities in the village, bringing them closer together.
The ambassador wishes that The Volunteer ’95 will continue this laudable journey in the quest for friendship and cooperation, not only with the people of Salum Village but also between Japan and the Philippines.