Three years after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, Mr. Hajime Yokota traveled to the Zambales, Philippines. He witnessed that the families and communities still needed help for their rehabilitation, particularly the children.
Moved by this experience, the then 17-year old Mr. Yokota organized a Work Camp in the Philippines participated by young Japanese volunteers. Work Camp provided opportunity for Japanese people to learn from and provide help to Filipinos. During that time, the young Japanese volunteers helped in the on-going reconstruction effort at the time. Among the facilities rebuilt by this team is the Jireh Children’s Home in Castillejos, Zambales.
With his passion and desire to continue helping children, Mr. Yokota established ACTION, a non-profit organization in 1994 in Tokyo, Japan. It is more known as NPO-ACTION in Japan.
In the early years of its founding, NPO-ACTION was mainly an organizer of work camps in various facilities and communities in Zambales. Through media promotion in Japan, Mr. Yokota was able to mobilize Japanese people to help in the physical improvement of residential facilities and communities in Zambales. These included construction of water systems for Aeta communities and renovation of building of International Children’s Advocate, Inc. (Ninos Pag-Asa Center) a residential care facility center for the differently-abled children in Olongapo City.
Soon after, these work camps expanded to help in building early childhood care and development centers in Olongapo City in partnership with Tayo ang Tinig at Gabay Inc. (TATAG Inc.), also a local non-government organization (NGO).
The year 2000 marked the expansion of NPO-ACTION’s program in Japan and assistance to its partners in Olongapo- Zambales area. In Japan, NPO-ACTION has established its own charity shop called Sari-Sari with its earning directly supporting the organization’s work in the Philippines. It has also put up an International Understanding Program that have been organizing not only Work Camps but also Study Tour among Japanese people to better understand the social realities in developing countries such as the Philippines.
NPO-ACTION continues its extensive work in the Philippines by providing educational materials and augmenting services to some residential facilities for children and facilitating scholarship programs to selected children from impoverished communities in Zambales.
In 2009, NPO-ACTION opened its doors to mothers from local communities who want to earn extra income by creating unique handicrafts. These products have the trademark: ECOMISMO, and were sold to shops in Japan and the Philippines.
Mr. Yokota’s exposure to the Philippines and the social inequities prevailing in the country opened his eye to the potential of Filipino children waiting to be tapped. Hence, in 2012, NPO-ACTION provided psycho-social intervention to partner residential facilities to improve coping behavior of children.
Even with all these undertakings, Mr. Yokota continually desired that children, especially from residential facilities, can live in an environment where they can achieve their goals. Thus, in 2012, NPO-ACTION, together with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the official development aid agency of Japan and Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 3 (DSWD FO3), launched a three year project dubbed as Capacity Building Project for House Parents in Region 3. The project aims to provide better parenting services to children in selected residential facilities in Central Luzon, through an established model training system for social workers and house parents.
NPO-ACTION continues to extend its services for children as it launches its CHIKARA program in 2013 which aims to provide opportunities for child development. These different pursuits of NPO-ACTION in Philippines continue to build relationships and awareness with people of different culture in realizing child’s welfare and rights.
With its registration in March 2014 with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the Philippines as ACTION (A Child’s Trust is Our to Nurture) Incorporated, NPO-ACTION hopes to reinforce its partnership and endeavor for children through future projects.
From its humble beginning and now marking its 20th year in servicing Filipino children, NPO-ACTION through ACTION Inc. will even persevere to achieve its vision of a world where children are protected and have the opportunity to achieve their full potential in communities that uphold their rights and respect the dignity of people.
Twenty years and counting, NPO-ACTION and ACTION, Inc. are looking forward to working with government and partner agencies in fulfilling its vision.