Create future leaders who solve local issues from children within the community

Katariba started a new project in Unnan City, Shimane Prefecture, to support community building efforts through education. Various social issues such as shrinking population. The project aims to educate children to think such local issues as their own problem and to find solutions by themselves.

Stop the trend of young people leaving the town through education

City of Unnan in Shimane Prefecture is considered as one of the key areas that faces imminent social challenges such as shrinking and aging population and financial difficulties. Among these issues, changing demographics is the most serious challenge, as the population of the city which was once 69,000 in 1950 dropped by 40% to 39,000 in 2014.

Producing leaders who create the future of community

For cities like Unnan, the youth are precious members of society who are expected to lead their community. However, many of them leave their town to go to college or start working, resulting in the decrease of population. In order to help produce future leaders of the city, “Onsen Campus” started in April 2015.

Finding possibilities and giving chances to challenge

What Onsen Campus aims to achieve is to connect children and society and to make them consider social challenges facing the community as their own problem. The program for junior and senior high school students currently focuses on providing career education and support for students struggling with truancy.

A career education program on Saturday

Cooperating with college students and professionals outside of town, the program implements “My Project” or Katariba classes once a month on Saturdays. The program nurtures critical thinking and willingness to take action among students, which are necessary for them to face local issues and respond. Between June and December 2015, Onsen Campus provided a career education program to about 1,000 students.

Helping students struggling with truancy

Onsen Campus help students who have difficulty attending schools. Collaborating with local schools, Onsen Campus provides tailor-made support for each student and help them study and get career guidance. Onsen Campus contacts children and students who have not attended or have tendency not to attend schools, and offer assistance that matches their academic level and career advice. For those who cannot attend Onsen Campus, staff will visit their home and coordinate ways to encourage the students to return to schools.

“Many people support me and give a helping hand for what I want to try”

Haruka Fukuma

I had doubts in my choice when I realized that the high school life was different from what I had expected. That was when I learned about Katariba. I experienced firsthand that there are many people who support me and give heling hand for what I want to try. I also learned that the options for future expands as you try something new. Even if I think hard, nothing will change. Instead, it is much easier to take action and that is more fun. What we need is a little courage to take the first step. I hope I can give such courage to the people in my community.

Every adult is a teacher. They all think how to make the community a better place.

City of Unnan does not have a college. Junior and senior high school students therefore do not have someone slightly older than them whom they can look up to as a role model. That is why Onsen Campus seeks support from people outside of Unnan and outside Shimane Prefecture, trying to find ways to make the community more attractive. Onsen Campus provides opportunity for children to gain a new perspective to address various issues. This is made possible as many adults participate in this program as “teachers.”

From “area with problems” to “area that has solved problems”

The future Onsen Campus would like to create is where the City of Unnan will not be called as the “area with problems” but as the “area that has solved its problems.”Through connecting youth and the society, Onsen Campus hopes to create future leaders of the community who will take initiative and make their hometown more attractive.