“I built a facility called “Children’s Home” in Kenya, and I live there now. I am working to support children to be independent, such as dealing with school expenses or school lunch, helping street children, and so on”
Terumi Matsushita, a graduate of Tamagawa University and president of the NGO “Moyo Children Center”, talked gently to the 10th grade students (first graders of high school) gathered in the hall.
As a lecturer for the Global Career Course, she talked about the history and activities of the project, which aims to help make Kenya’s children become more independent, after she graduated from college about 50 years ago.
“First let’s take a look at the pictures taken in March of this year.”
Mrs. Matsushita introduced her activities at the “Moyo · Children Center” and als life at “The Children ‘s house” using the video.
Students smiled when they saw pictures of children posing innocently towards the camera, playing soccer, or arm wrestling projected on the screen.
“When I was a university student, I went to the museum everyday and discussed freedom, politics and art with the seniors of various undergraduate programs. I think my seniors trained me to take care of relationships with people and their hearts. “
When the video was over, she started her speech while remembering her past.
Mrs,Matsushita faced a great turning point at the age of 50, after graduating from college, working in a kindergarten, and getting married. The trigger was the sudden death of her husband.
Mrs. Matsushita felt something and traveled to volunteer at facilities in Uganda which her friend suggested. Then, she met 13 former street children who later became the base of her current activities.
“Those children came right into my heart who just lost a partner. The hearts of those who were hungry for someone’s love fit with me who was looking for something to love. As the day I would return home got closer, my wish to stay with these children and support them increased more and more.”
After several years of preparation, Mrs. Matsushita established the ”Moyo Children Center” in Kenya in 1999 and worked hard for children. Currently, she is promoting a project to rehabilitate drug dependent street children through organic farming methods. “By touching nature, such as by growing vegetables and keeping animals such as goats and chickens, children gradually become healed.” Her expression while talking about this story was full of charity for the future of those children.
“I want to increase the number of young people who can go through the next step without drugs. I think that the number 0 and 1 are totally different. If I do not do anything, I am 0. I will continue to concentrate on these activities which I started alone, and have been working on since then.”
Mrs. Matsushita spoke gently but powerfully and her thoughts and the strength of the people who work with the mission were clearly shown.
“Everyone, make friends in countries around the world. You will be able to see the details and faces of each country through your friends. Please feel free to look at the world directly and spread your own world.”
With that message conveyed, the lecture ended, and the venue filled with applause.
“How do you stop people from taking drugs?”
“I tell them to not to give up. No matter how many times they leave home, I will keep facing them to tell that this is where their place is. There are techniques and mechanisms to stop people from using drugs, but I think it is important to have the mindset of “not giving up” in the first place.”
In the question-and-answer session after the lecture, students asked for details of Mrs. Matsushita’s activities.
“Has your life view changed through your own activities in Kenya?”
“I have come to feel the pleasure that someone needs me again. I have decided to spend the rest of my life there for as long as people need me. I want children to use my power so that more children will become independent.”
Inspired by Mrs. Matsushita who conveyed her own “important feelings” along with the harsh reality in Kenya, the students’ questions continued until the time ran out.
Students touched on the attitude Mrs. Matsushita had. Living the mission of saving children, facing the world and taking action. They were convinced of the importance of having preparedness, and felt that changing the world by facing the things in front of your eyes with your best, a small “reality”, will eventually become a force to change the world.