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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Youth ideas sought for post-earthquake reconstruction efforts

The Japanese branch of a U.S.-based nonprofit organization Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, which supports "social entrepreneurs" worldwide, is looking for youths with positive ideas to help Japan recover from the devastation of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Ideas can be anything ranging from bringing change to the tsunami-ravaged areas of the Tohoku region, and creating a new infrastructure for the post-quake Japanese society to proposals related to nuclear energy or energy in general, Ashoka Japan says.

To sign up, go to www.ashokajapan.org. Applicants must be aged between 12 and 20 years old. Deadline is July 2.

Applicants will be asked to give a presentation of their ideas in October. Ashoka Japan will provide successful applicants with advice and ¥100,000 each as seed money to help them turn their ideas into projects.

On Sunday, Ashoka Japan will hold a briefing for those interested in the program, where its staff will explain the procedures and hold discussions with participants. The session will be held 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the 9th floor of the Garden Court, Hotel New Otani in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. To attend, send your name, age and contact information to youthventure@ashokajapan.org

Ashoka opened its Japan office in January with the goal of creating a community of people who combine social service and business entrepreneurship. Founded in the United States in 1980, the group has provided financial and professional support to nearly 3,000 such people worldwide.

The Japan office has launched a "youth venture" program designed to help youths in Japan with ideas to solve social problems. The group says the latest project is a part of such efforts.



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