On Thursday 14 June, I’ll be setting out again on a four-day, 550-kilometer sponsored cycle ride from Nikko to Ichinoseki in northeastern Japan, as part of a group of 37 cyclists (the Knights in White Lycra), who are attempting to raise money to support children who live in orphanages here in Japan.
We are doing this in partnership with the Mirai no Mori NPO, a volunteer organization that organizes a program of summer & winter camps and other on-going support activities for these children.
The residents of these care homes include both orphans and children who have been the victims of neglect or abuse. Once they leave institutional care at the age of 18, they face a highly uncertain future, and are at risk of drifting into prostitution or crime.
Mirai no Mori stages summer and winter camps for the children that enable them to engage in outdoor physical activities, make new friends and learn some English in a pleasant and natural environment. As well as affording the children some release from their everyday stresses, this experience also gives them confidence, a sense of independence, and the opportunity to cultivate social skills.
The video above shows a sample of the camp activities in which the children take part.
Crucially, the Mirai no Mori program is not confined to the camps alone. They are also putting in place the apparatus to offer the children who attend camp on-going, long-term support, which will significantly increase the chances of more favorable outcomes in their lives.
Although Mirai no Mori is a relatively young organization, it has already been accorded full NPO status by the Japanese government and has achieved measurable successes with the camps that it has staged thus far.
The goal of the Knights in White Lycra is to raise enough money to send twenty more care-home children to camp for three years in a row, and fund the attendant support activities in between camps.
This will cost approximately 10 million yen, so every rider’s fundraising effort will be crucial.
Please give generously and help change the lives of these children for the better.
Thank you for your support.