Voice of the Founder of UNIQUEASE Corporation and UNIQUEASE Japan
When visited the Philippines for the first time in 2006 as a dispatch for an NGO, I was deeply struck by the cruel reality surrounding the young children living in poverty. There were countless “Children at Risk”: many of them are forced out of education because of their poverty, living in the dumpsites for picking on garbage, living as street children, or becoming victims of human trafficking. The vicious cycle of poverty never seemed to end, for those youths would eventually give birth to their babies, and those babies walk on the same paths of their parents.
Even in this unforgiving, cruel society, I strongly felt that I want to find a way for them to live.
The Philippine economics is built up by mainly college graduates. The reality is that those who did not graduate from university cannot find a job easily. What makes thing worse is the strong social bias toward the poor. Former beneficiaries have a hard time to find a job even if they graduated from a high school with the help of NGO funds.
In order to put an end to this vicious cycle of poverty, I believe that creating new job opportunities is crucial. This notion led me to establish UNIQUEASE Corporation in 2010. The restaurant will be a place for both education and job opportunity, and it aims to lessen the number of youths in danger from the endless cycle of poverty.
This is an enormous challenge. In front of the complex issue of the entire Filipino society, what is happening in this restaurant may be small. However, I firmly believe that there is a hope for a change in this restaurant. I want to believe that in ten, twenty years from now, the youths working at the UNIQUEASE Restaurant right now will be a small, yet an unyielding movement in the society.
In 2013, I established NPO UNIQUEASE Japan with those who agreed to thrive with me toward a better future. We are now starting to act toward a society where youths from Japan and the world can envision their future and make their own dreams come true.
Millions of issues are to be solved. Let us start with what we can do right now.
General Manager of UNIQUEASE Corporation in the Philippines
President of NPO UNIQUEASE Japan