By MOSES SINJWALA
LOSING a loved one is devastating.
But for 84-year-old Yoshiomi Tamai this experience has rekindled his life to another level.
Mr Tamai lost his mother while he was studying in the United States of America.
But after losing his mother who was the bread winner and who sent him to study abroad his world came tumbling down, because he now lost all the financial and basic support he received from his mother.
Having gone through the lack of support, Tamia and a group of individuals went on to form an association of traffic accident orphans in 1967.
Through public advocacy, regular media coverage and the development of a street fundraising system the association was able to set in motion significant improvements in national traffic regulations as well as support bereaved students across Japan which saw the birth of the Ashinaga movement.
And in 2014, the Ashinaga implemented the Ashinaga African Initiative (AAI), a project aimed at alleviating poverty in sub-Saharan Africa by supporting the higher education of young orphaned students with the desire to make a difference.
And so in order to boost the Ashinaga African Initiative, Ashinaga called upon the support of highly influential Academics, business persons and celebrities to form the Kenjin-Tatsujin international Advisory council.
Zambia representative former Japan ambassador Godfrey Simasiku said students receive an international university education, comprehensive support throughout their studies, and the means to return home and be agents of positive change.
Beyond simply providing financial aid, the program has five key features to ensure that students receive the education, training, networks, and opportunities needed to realise their vision for Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Every year 6,000 orphans receive Ashinaga Scholarships and over the past 50 years Ashinaga has helped 100,000 orphans,” he said.
He hopes that more Zambians will come on board to receive the scholarships.
He added that scholarship for next year were available to all orphaned Zambians.
During their studies, students spend four years developing a thoroughly researched proposal addressing an issue faced by their local community.
Mr. Simasiku said the most important part is that, all of the students promise to pass on the benefits of their education. They do this by returning and contributing to Sub-Saharan Africa’s development.
Even so, Sub-Saharan Africa faces numerous institutional problems that challenge its ability to realize its potential. Moreover, the region has the highest proportion of orphaned youth in the world, many of whom struggle to access education. Ashinaga believes that, when given the opportunity, these orphaned students are capable of academic success and becoming the compassionate leaders that Sub-Saharan Africa needs to excel.