The Project in Japan

Updated on May 1st, 2007

After scouring the internet, and a dozen emails to organizations I finally decided to help bring awareness to an NGO in Japan that sends orthopedic surgeons to Afghanistan to help children and adults who have lost their legs or arms. The project is simply an awareness campaign, as there is little development work to be done in the relatively industrialize country of Japan. But, while I can't help in a hands-on way, the education in Japan about such issues is appalling! No one seems to have much of an idea about what the world is like outside Japan. They have an idea that America is Disneyland and Hollywood, and Europe is Paris, and oh yeah, there are some poor countries in Asia...

So I have mounted a sign in my bicycle triangle and am carrying informational flyers about the NPO in my bags. Sadly no one asks about the NPO or seems to have much interest at all, even though it is all in Japanese, and is pretty clear. In my first month in Japan I only noticed 1 person pause briefly to read what it said. A handful of others glanced down and read it without skipping a beat. Here is what it looks like on my bike:

I also considered an awareness or education project promoting anti-whaling information, but decided against it just in case it should spark a road-rage incident that could leave me very vulnerable.


The Project in Korea

Updated on June 7th, 2007

I've been thinking about a way to propagate volunteerism, donations, and support for NGO's beyond what just I or one person can do. For some reason Reagan's failed economic 'Trickle Down Effect' keeps creeping to mind as a failed concept that could work in other applications. It seems to me that my efforts to help can only go so far, but my efforts to find people to help could multiply my results exponentially.

My work with YAUC proved to be good for me, and for them, but allowed for sustainability after I left, and my efforts to promote them online were ultimately able to help them year-round - something I could never have offered personally.

So my project in Korea will be a test-run of a theoretical business (non-profit of course) that would aim to get all NPO/NGO's published online. This would help them far more than I could with the limited time I have, and would remain online even after I left Korea, and potentially even if I decided to stop maintaining the website's myself.

In simple terms I want to find small non-profit/Governmental organizations that do not have a voice outside their immediate community, and offer to finance, design, and publish a website for each one. This could serve as advertising for them, or at the very least, reach out to interested volunteers/researchers/philanthropists/tourists and bring awareness to these otherwise unknown organizations. It would be sustainable with minimal effort (as compared to the effort and man hours required for on-the-ground activism) and provide great "bang for the buck" for my touch-and-go schedule through Korea.

Reconnaissance steps:

- NPO location (perhaps the most difficult step)
- Contact (via email, telephone, postal service, or visits)
- Introduction and offer (using color copies or perhaps my laptop)
- Information gathering (literature, photos, tour, personal explanation of NPO goals/structure/statistics)
- Networking (request other recommendations, names, addresses, phone numbers, etc)

The Project in China

Updated on January 30th, 2007

As of this moment I have not chosen a project, and am open to any ideas. I want to do something that I can tie into my future NGO work, but would at least like to spread some good will and gain some valuable experience that I could use in my development studies. After some quick brain storming I thought of these example projects. These are JUST ideas, and I will not limit my options to this list by any respect.

Here are some general ideas for a project:

- A research project for collecting data on village needs (could be used for a future project, or another NGO)

- A research project to find little NGO's in these towns and cities that are not receiving any attention (one of my NGO business ideas has been to offer unique website's to obscure NGO's that would otherwise have difficulty reaching outside their community, and this could be a presearch for that)

- An education project to get the word out about something (AIDS flyers, Condom flyers - Chinese men never want to have sex with them, clean water flyers, etc)

- A children's project to make them smile (I recently saw a video of some travelers who put on a corny circus for a Mongolian orphanage, but the kids loved it)

- A donation project, where I could make note of needed supplies, and get people to send them

- A water project (similar to the Honduras project I did - just bring something really obvious into the equation that they never thought of)

- A bicycle project similar to Bikes Not Bombs (train in maintenance, or research the benefits of bringing bicycles to an area, or offer a technological fix that can make their bikes better suited to their environment, etc)

- Feel free to offer your own idea or advice. I'm all ears!

Copyright 2003-2007 , I Think Not