Aiming for “community-based global awareness” in the globalizing society

Our activities are said in one word – “community development” to establish a diverse culture compatible community.  MAFGA was initially established with emphasis of foreign student exchange activities and sister cities exchange activities.  However, with the increase of permanent foreign residents, we currently challenge many projects (Japanese language learning support, multilingual consultation, child support, escort-interpreter arrangement for medical needs, etc.) to develop an easy-to-live community for foreign residents.  Further, under the circumstances where many different nationalities live in the local community, MAFGA encourages the participation of foreign residents in the community.  As a part of the projects to activate the community involving foreign residents, MAFGA promotes different activities to match the era of globalization including the operation of a community cafe.  At the same time, MAFGA, to effectively maximize its limited source of funds, pursues well-balanced activities based on the following three perspectives.

1. “Respect for human rights of a foreign resident”
2. “Establishment of diverse culture compatible community”
3. “Promotion of resident-oriented global awareness activities”

Purpose of Establishment

MAFGA contributes to the realization of local community-based global awareness, respect for human rights and world peace through the promotion of cross-cultural exchange activities relating to history, culture and other local features of Minoh city (Act of Endowment, Article 3)
[Reference] Act of Endowment (PDF/220KB)

* Three important perspectives we follow

1. “Respect for human rights of a foreign resident”

Foreign residents living in Japan feel insurmountable “gap” between themselves and the Japanese due to the barriers of language, culture and systems.  In Minoh city, foreign residents with diverse nationalities over 80 countries live dotted in small groups.  Under such a circumstance, they are often isolated from the local community and also from their fellow countrypeople’s community.
To solidify the infrastructure for anyone to live the own life without facing discrimination against nationality or race, MAFGA promotes supports for Japanese language learning, multilingual information distribution, daily life consultation, etc..  MAFGA also makes efforts to spread effective supports over the socially vulnerable groups such as children and women via, for example, assistance to children with a foreign background and encourages to launch a self-sufficient network of their own.

Photo: Japanese language class

2. “Realization of diverse culture compatible community”

The realization of diverse culture compatible community means that the Japanese and foreign residents living in the local community accept each other as a social member while respecting cultures different from their own and equally proceeding together to the development of a community embracing diverse cultures.  To realize it, MAFGA, in association with various local organizations such as administrations and schools, assists the launch of groups and local activities operated by foreign residents and promotes the foundation for foreign residents to take part in the local community.  MAFGA also provides public relations, awareness-raising activities and exchange projects to accept foreign residents as “fellow neighbors living together” rather than simply “exchange partners” or “someone who needs supports.”

Left: Sekai o tsumami-gui (Picking up world food) at 1 DAY Cafe
Right: “Chit Chat Cafe with permanent residents” at Orange Cafe, Osaka University

3. Perspectives on the “community development” for residents to take part

Residents participation and collaboration are essential to develop a diverse culture community.  MAFGA, positioned between the public and private, serves as a unique entity to coordinate for the realization of the public-private collaboration.  To achieve it, MAFGA focuses the conversations with people involved, including volunteers, foreign residents, etc., when carrying out a project and pursues the preparation of activity foundation to launch a resident-oriented project.  MAFGA also serves as an intermediary and supports residents who are engaged with global awareness activities in the community.  Through these supports, the public, MAFGA and residents work together with clear understanding of each other’s role and responsibility and proceed to the community development where the human rights and unique culture are respected.

Photo: Multi-ethnic festival 2011