【2023ver.】Sophia Refugee Support Group(SRSG)
- Club & Circles
Sophia Refugee Support Group (SRSG) is a student-led volunteer group based in Sophia University founded in 2017. SRSG was established from a research project called Refugee Voices Japan from Professor David H. Slater’s “Digital Oral Narratives” course, where students conducted over 300 hours of interviews with refugees to document and relay their various stories. From this, students recognized that refugees in Japan are invisibilized and commonly misrepresented despite their capabilities and possible contributions to Japan and beyond, forming SRSG’s mission: to provide direct support to refugees in Japan and spread awareness of the situation to the Japanese public for a more welcoming society regardless of one’s race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, and gender.
SRSG’s support initiatives include organizing monthly informal social gatherings called Refugee Cafés, where approximately 60 students and refugees interact and learn from each other.
Since the height of the pandemic in 2020, SRSG has also been packing life-sustaining food boxes catered to each household’s dietary restrictions every month in partnership with Second Harvest Japan, in addition to personalized hygiene packages every semester. Thus far, 900 and 150 boxes, respectively, have been delivered.
Additionally, SRSG visits the Shinagawa detention center to provide material and emotional support to detainees seeking provisional release, teaches Japanese every week via Zoom, translates and provides research for refugee application documents, and conducts fundraising events to continue supporting over 100 refugees and asylum seekers in Japan.
To raise awareness about the refugee issue, SRSG visits high schools in Japan to present and generate a safe space for discussions with students and conducts speaking engagements with international organizations like Amnesty International Japan, and partners up with companies such as HAYS and Marsh Japan.
SRSG strongly encourages the Japanese public to recognize, learn, support, and further spread awareness of the refugee reality. Likewise, SRSG will continue its efforts to bridge the Japanese public and refugees living in Japan for a life with safety and dignity.