To whom it may concern,
I know this a shot in the complete dark, but I am writing to you for your help.
We are launching a not-for-profit parent-led project for families in Japan so their kids do not loose their home or heritage language (e.g. Not Japanese BUT English, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, etc) but become literate in it.
Why do that? As children become more integrated in the school's language, they often lose confidence in using their home language. Many reach a point where they come to reject it. When they lose their language, they:
* Are no longer able to have real relationships with mum, dad, grandma, grandpa, cousins who speak that language
* Are no longer able to connect with that language-culture and history
* Are no longer able to receive schooling in that language.
* Become estranged from who they are (In some cases, these identity issues leading to problematic behaviour
I keep meeting families struggling to help and teach their children at home. The key problem is that these families are more often than not extremely isolated, and have no guidance or support.
* We realized we could change all that by creating a space outside the home where they could establish positive relationships with other children and adults in the community, and parents could support each other.
* We realized that the children became so much happier and confident through learning how to read and write in that language. They changed from being nervous, shy and ashamed to kids who laughed, wrote, joked, spoke, read and wanted to talk to mum dad, grandpa and so on in that language.
* We realized this could be easily achieved by parents and community pooling our time, energy, knowledge and skill
I have already made a website for our group. It was the best I could do with what I know for our group here in Okinawa. [url removed, login to view]
In November, I will go to a conference to share our story to 200 parents and encourage them to do the same. I know it is the fear of starting that has prevented so many from setting up a community literacy group of their own.
So when I saw the Once Upon a School [url removed, login to view] site, I knew it was the perfect vehicle for communities all over Japan to find guidance and the oomph to do the same, and who knows may be elsewhere.
We are 100% not-for-profit so this needs to be pro bono or at a minimal cost. (Sorry, the tick box does not give a BIG Heart option)
I know this a complete shot in the dark, is there anyone out there could you help us make a positive change in lives of many many families? And, make your own name big by showing the world what a big heart you have.