Press Conference: The Impact of the Pandemic on Ashinaga Scholars
In order to clarify the impact of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic on the families of orphaned students, Ashinaga conducted a questionnaire survey of 3994 guardians of Ashinaga high school scholars in October and an online interview survey of 111 guardians in November.
The survey results showed that the guardians’ income has drastically decreased compared to before the pandemic and that employment opportunities have been severely affected by layoffs and the current economic condition.
On December 4, we held a press conference to announce the results of the questionnaire survey and online interview survey to the media. The press conference was covered by Asahi Shimbun, Kyodo News, NHK, Tokyo Shimbun, and Yomiuri Shimbun (in alphabetical order).
Two mothers of high school students receiving scholarships from Ashinaga also took part in the press conference. One mother said, “Due to the pandemic, I have had to work from home, and my income decreased.” The other shared similar concerns and said, “I became ill, and I could barely lead my daily life, and then on top of that, the pandemic hit. I am unable to work, and the cost of my children’s education is a big worry for me.”
Yoshiomi Tamai, president of Ashinaga, said, “We have been conducting surveys like this for 50 years, but this is the first time we have received responses showing such signs of distress and despondency. We will continue to do our best to support our scholars and their families who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic”.
Ryu Horikawa, a senior at Tohoku Gakuin University and president of the Ashinaga Student Fundraising Association, announced that they will hold the first Ashinaga Student Fundraising in two years, saying, “Now is the time for us to stand up and advocate for ourselves.”
The scholars expressed their firm commitment to appeal to society through street fundraising in response to the survey results. Now that the number of students who want to receive scholarships is rapidly increasing, we feel compelled to share the difficult reality they face.On December 11 (Sat.) and 12 (Sun.), students in 12 cities across Japan will be collecting donations to support Ashinaga scholars.
There are students in need of your support. Ashinaga supports children who have lost one or both parents due to illness, disaster, or suicide, as well as children whose parents are unable to work due to disabilities. So far, thanks to Ashinaga’s assistance, 110,000 students have been able to realize their dream of going on to higher education. We ask for your continued support to ensure that we can continue supporting the growing number of scholars.