Volunteer Opportunities!

*EDIT*: Most volunteer activities are restricted due to COVID-19. Do NOT participate in volunteer activities if you have COVID-19 or are feeling sick. Please use your own discretion!

If you are in a different part of Kumamoto and would like us or the general Kumamoto JET community to know about events and volunteer opportunities in your area, please let us know at our email or on Facebook! We will do our best to update this page with the latest opportunities.

Volunteering for the Kyushu Floods

KumAJET is currently partnering with the Kumamoto YWCA, an NPO based in Kumamoto City. They have received many donations from all over Japan, and need lots of help sorting them. If you’d like to volunteer, you can go anytime – here’s their location on Google Maps. It’s right next to Kumamoto University, albeit a bit hard to find, and there is free parking! No Japanese skills are necessary, and they go until 9:30pm every week from Tuesday to Saturday (though some days they’ll be busy with other events or traveling to Hitoyoshi). You can check and make sure it’s okay on Facebook, or shoot KumAJET a quick email or message on our assorted social media to check for you. If you’re messaging or calling, ask for Chie!

We will also be traveling to areas in Hitoyoshi sometime on the weekend of Aug. 8-9 to volunteer. More news to follow! Please refer to the Kumamoto PA email from July 22 for information on things you might need to know if volunteering across Kumamoto.

The exact procedures on volunteering vary slightly from location to location (Arao, Ashikita, Kuma Area etc.) but in general, volunteers gather at a local Volunteer Centre where they sign in early in the morning (from 9am), sit through a brief Orientation (if it is your first time), and then go into a room in which they are matched with requests (you first listen to explanations of the request in Japanese, and then raise your hand if you are interested in going to that particular site).
In Hitoyoshi, most requests for volunteers are taking over two weeks to be met and work has been completed in less than 10% of cases in which a homeowner requested volunteer help. The Hitoyoshi Volunteer Centre is also dispatching volunteers to Kuma Village, where the floods were particularly deadly.
Some Japanese ability is required when volunteering (Japanese is used when buying the volunteer insurance upon entry, then filling out various paperwork, listening to the volunteer orientation, listening to case requests and then later negotiating with your volunteer team about how to get to the requested site and how to divide up the work). It is advisable to team up with someone with Japanese ability if you are interested in volunteering. Most cases require scooping out dirt out from under affected homes, so bringing your own rain boots is a must. Other supplies such as shovels are provided by the volunteer center. You are also expected to bring your own lunch to the site you are volunteering at (an onigiri or sandwich is fine). 
Buses departing 7am each morning to local volunteer centres in Hitoyoshi and Sagara Village are available. Seats must be booked in advance. Information on bus services is available here in Japanese: https://www.pref.kumamoto.jp/kiji_34462.html (Already fully booked for this weekend.)
If you decide to drive to a volunteer centre and use toll roads on your way directly to the volunteer centre, the toll is waived if you submit the correct paperwork to the toll booth operators. You must print out the papers before going to volunteer. The fee is waived for volunteers going to anywhere in the prefecture  (Arao, Ashikita or Kuma area). You can find information about the procedure and the paperwork here on the NEXCO hompage: https://corp.w-nexco.co.jp/newly/r1/0830/
Information about volunteering in Ashikita Town in particular is available on the Facebook Page of the Ashikita International Association here: 


Kumamoto City

Jiaien Children’s Home

Jiaien Children’s Home is an orphanage in Kumamoto City! KumAJET helps to run Jiaien’s English club, Kuma Ei Go! We currently meet every Thursday from 7-8pm and work with children and teenagers of all age groups.

Please reach out to our email if you’re interested in volunteering!

Kagonyan Cat Cafe and Shelter

Kagonyan is a combination cat shelter and cafe that has one location in Shimotori. They are looking for donations, visits, and fostering. They also have scheduled volunteer hours (vacuuming, cleaning, refilling food and water, etc.) every day from 11-12pm.

If you are interested, please visit the cafe first to schedule a time, as their volunteer hours fill up quite quickly. Requires an apron and indoor shoes.