Supporting the education of children from diverse backgrounds

Relevant SDGs

Goal 4 of the SDGs is "Quality Education." In recognizing that education of the next generation is key to the building of a truly sustainable society, since 2013 the SuMi TRUST Group has supported the activities of UWC ISAK to tackle global poverty issues through education by paying for the tuition fees and travel expenses of one scholarship student attending that college’s summer school program. The school brings together students from vastly different backgrounds from all over the world. Owing to unique classroom and communal living experiences, the students often remark before returning home that the program was a life-changing experience. We will continue to undertake this initiative going forward so that children from all walks of life are afforded the opportunity to learn.

Students supported by the SuMi TRUST Group (2013–2019)

Every year the SuMi TRUST Group pays the tuition fees for one scholarship student.

India: Hemant Sharma (aged 13)

Hemant participated in the summer school program from Shanti Bhavan. Having known all of the students the SuMi TRUST Group supported in the past, he said that he was really happy to get his chance to attend and thanked the Group for its continued support.

Hemant demonstrated his leadership skills at every turn during a group discussion about finding purpose, especially when talking about his home country by explaining that all countries are two-sided and that India is no exception because even though it is often associated with slums and poverty, it is also experiencing remarkable growth and has many beautiful towns boasting literacy rates of 100%, as well as some towns that even resemble Silicon Valley.

He spoke confidently about his vision of becoming a certified public accountant, saying that if one understands how economics works, one should be able to support themselves, their family, and even their country. We sincerely hope that Hemant can realize his dream in the not-too-distant future.

India: Prathana Himalachi (aged 12)

Prathana participated in the summer school program from Shanti Bhavan. Separated from her family since the age of three, Prathana has received assistance to be able to attend Shanti Bhavan. Having personally suffered discrimination in Indian society and owing to the current situation of everyone leaving India when they reach adulthood, she has continued to study diligently with a strong awareness of issues, hoping one day to change her country with her own actions. She spoke of her clear dream to become a cardiologist and build a hospital in India in the future.

India: Prashanth Babu (aged 13)

Prashanth participated in the summer school program from Shanti Bhavan. A fan of Shakespeare and naming soccer as one of his hobbies, he speaks just like an ordinary middle school student. However, given his experiences of suffering from class discrimination in Indian society, he possesses a strong awareness of rampant corruption and discrimination, poverty, and black money. He spoke of his wish to attend high school, become a "changemaker," and someday build a school in India just like Shanti Bhavan.

Mexico: Eduardo Bautista (aged 14)

In Eduardo’s home country of Mexico, even young children have fallen prey to human trafficking and murder for the purpose of organ transplantation. He feels angry about this social problem and wants to set up an organization in the future to facilitate safe and appropriate organ donations. Eduardo has a strong interest in other cultures and attended the summer school to broaden his horizons with a view to the future. He said the program taught him the importance of seizing opportunities from all situations, no matter how difficult. In September 2017 he officially entered the high school program of UWC ISAK.

India: Thanuja Ramesh (aged 13)

Thanuja hails from the Shanti Bhavan school and is a cheerful girl who loves hiking and playing outside. She said that being able to talk with students from many different countries when learning about diversity during the summer school’s leadership and diversity classes was really stimulating. Full of curiosity, Thanuja speaks five languages and enjoys studying physics, science, and mathematics. She enthusiastically said she would like to contribute to the education of women in the future and become a systems engineer.

India: Thulasi Priya Ramesh (aged 12)

Thulasi is a student at Shanti Bhavan, a school for children socially and economically disadvantaged by India’s caste system. With a cheerful and amiable personality, she is a kind girl always willing to help her classmates or assist staff members. At the same time, Thulasi takes a keen interest in social issues, especially when talking passionately with her classmates about caste. She is particularly interested in problems concerning women and poor people in India. She has eagerly been studying biology with the dream of one day becoming a surgeon.

Vietnam: Hong Lien Ngyuen (aged 14)

Hong Lien entered the high school program of UWC ISAK in 2014 and was among the first students to graduate in 2017. During high school she contributed to the Karuizawa community mainly by visiting elderly nursing homes and working alongside orphans and people with disabilities.

She has her sights set on being a changemaker and always keeps in mind the words of a senior student, who said that "there will be times when the headwinds are strong and things don’t go right, no matter what you do, but you still have to stay positive and believe in yourself." After studying extra hard, Hong Lien earned the right to study at a prestigious university in the United States.

Supporting the children of India

India’s caste system has existed for around 2,000 years. Discrimination on the basis of caste was banned by law with the enactment of India’s constitution in 1950, but even today many children are not afforded the opportunity to receive an education because discrimination and poverty remains deeply entrenched in Indian society. Even though India has a compulsory education system and there are schools for the poor, some needy families choose not to send their children to school if they think an education is not required because they need as many workers as possible to help the family.

The Shanti Bhavan school in India was established for the purpose of providing an education to such socially and economically disadvantaged children. It aims to break the cycle of generational poverty by providing children in the bottom tier of, and even from outside, the caste system the opportunity to receive a proper education in a stable living environment.

All of the children from India supported by the SuMi TRUST Group that have participated in the summer school program as scholarship students are from Shanti Bhavan. They all have a keen interest in issues like discrimination, poverty, and women’s rights and strongly desire to make their home country a better place. We will be sure to keep watch over their future development so they can become changemakers and undertake activities aimed at eradicating the caste system.

United World College ISAK

Located in the naturally beautiful town of Karuizawa, United World College ISAK Japan (UWC ISAK) is a full-boarding high school that aims to nurture changemakers who can thrive in the international community. It accepts students from some 83 countries worldwide and 70% of its total 200 students are from overseas. Many of the children hail from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and 70% of the student cohort are recipients of a scholarship.

The biggest appeal of UWC ISAK is the dormitory-based communal living with classmates from other countries. Students of different nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds are keenly aware of, and readily share in, each other’s standing and culture. In this environment, the students develop into adults that understand and respect different values and beliefs instead of denying and rejecting them.

Campus in Karuizawa
Students at summer school

Supporting UWC ISAK’s goal of empowering changemakers

The SuMi TRUST Group supports the educational philosophy of the United World College ISAK Japan (abbreviated as UWC ISAK) to "empower changemakers." Since 2013 we have supported a two-week summer school program for junior high school students on the ISAK Japan campus. Many of the students who participate in the summer school are from developing countries and impoverished socio-economic backgrounds. Each year we pay the tuition fees and other expenses of one scholarship student participating in the summer school from a developing country such as India. Going forward, we will continue to offer our support so that as many "changemakers" as possible can go out into the world and make a difference.

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