In December 2012, the Fellows formed the JWLI Association (JWLIA), a Tokyo-based voluntary group led by dedicated volunteer staff, with a mission to share the knowledge, learning and experience of JWLI to other women leaders in Japan. JWLIA plays a central role in Japan to connect the JWLI fellows who are in various locations geographically and in fields such as domestic and international nonprofits, social welfare, education and the private sector. JWLIA provides the Fellows with opportunities for support and collaboration as well as mutual education through workshops, symposiums and study sessions. Working closely with the JWLI Boston team, JWLIA provides crucial support in Japan before and after the Boston program.

Activities in Japan

  • To support the JWLI recruitment process throughout the year in the areas of publicity, candidate screening, hosting an orientation and a reporting event in Tokyo, preparing a final report.
  • To support members to continue their philanthropic activities.
  • To plan and organize workshops and symposiums to achieve the mission
  • To provide leadership training programs to empower Japanese women to become leaders in every field

JWLIA Leadership

  • Keiko Sakurai, 2010 Fellow – Representative Director (代表)
  • Hisae Segawa, 2009 Fellow – Finance (会計)
  • Miyako Fujinami, 2009 Fellow – Marketing and PR (広報)
  • Makiko Niwa, 2010 Fellow – Audit (監査)



The JWLI Association (JWLIA) has received generous grants from Bloomingdale’s in Boston. In order to make full use of these grants, JWLIA set up the JWLIA Fund to support small, women-led nonprofit organizations in Japan. In 2014, JWLIA selected six organizations and offered each project a grant of 100,000 YEN (approximately $1000) from the JWLIA Fund. In 2015, two organizations received these grants.


JWLIA Fund supports small, women-led nonprofit organizations in Japan to continue their activities of social changes. JWLIA Fund focuses on supporting:
  • Women leaders
  • Activities for serving people affected by the Tohoku disaster
  • Small organizations with financial struggles



  • Women’s Eye, a nonprofit organization based in Miyagi, was established immediately after the Tohoku disaster in 2011. This grassroots organization supports women to become active in rebuilding their own lives and communities in Tohoku.
    The grant was used to host events in Sendai on November 28th and 29th, 2015. The events focused on supporting single mothers facing significant financial difficulties while trying to rebuild their lives following the disaster. The specific activities at the events were:
    • Exploring the current situations and issues surrounding single mother households in Tohoku
    • Learning from successful cases where single mothers achieved financial stability.
    • Providing resources to find jobs.
    • Supporting women who were suffering or have suffered from domestic violence.
    • Providing wellness and health tips and resources, including mental health.
    • Connecting women with legal resources.
  • SP Japan, established in Tokyo in 2014, aims to foster social, community-based parenting. Their approach encourages the healthy growth of all children by bringing together people with and without kids through various activities. SP Japan uses stitching and quilting as a tool to bring women together to create dialogue and cultivates an environment of mutual support. Through stitching and quilting workshops, people can exchange ideas, experiences, and advice on parenting. They also provide a space for expecting mothers and/or mothers of newborn babies to enjoy conversations on concerns of childbirth and childcare. For women who had stillbirths, the organization provides support systems to help them overcome their losses.
    This grant was used to support activities that brought together expecting and experienced parents:
    • To open a café in a new location and use this café to host stitching and quilting events.
    • To increase the number of hospitals with stitching and quilting workshops for their patients to gather and to create a sense of community.
    • To create stitching and quilting pieces to commemorate stillborn children.
    • To implement stitching and quilting events at hospitals in Tohoku.
  • Established in Tokyo, Yunomi Kai manages and hosts study groups on various topics. In May of 2011, they started a project called “With Us Project” to help the recovery process of Tohoku. The With Us Project supports two activities in the devastated region:
    • Revival of seaweed aquaculture at the Utatsuyoriki area of Minami-Sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture.
    • Research of radiation exposure conducted done by Team Mamabeku, a volunteering mothers’ group at Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture.
    The grant supported an event called Tarachine, held on July 5th, 2014 at the Iwaki Radiation Measurement Center in partnership with the Iwaki Radiation Measurement. This event reported on the following three areas:
    • Overall levels of radiation exposure.
    • Research by Team Mamabeku measuring radiation levels at 30 schools in Iwaki City.
    • The status of decontamination of radiation.
  • KAFIN was founded originally to empower Filipino immigrants in Japan. Its service is now extended to other foreign wives to provide spaces where they feel comfortable to share their concerns and challenges, while also collectively searching for solutions and ideas. The group’s main activities are:
    • Run a hotline for Filipino women who are married to Japanese men to share information and provide referrals for resources. Many wives from the Philippines tend to live with their Japanese parents-in-law. Due to cultural differences and language barriers these women live under tremendous pressure, and often have trouble communicating with their Japanese husbands and in-laws. This hotline also helps advise women with issues of raising children and/or domestic violence.
    • Organize workshops on topics among the Filipino immigrant women such as stress management, and health and wellness. For instance, ten workshops were held in Tohoku, including five in Iwate, two in Miyagi, and three in Fukushima. These workshops explored topics including stress management and health examinations. The workshops also helped children in the Tohoku area through art therapy.
    • Established other weekend classes for Filipino mothers and their children. In class Filipino mothers learn local laws, regulations and health management techniques so they can be confident about being independent. These classes alsoteach their children about the Filipino culture.
    The fund was used to host events in Tohoku. In July 2014, KAFIN held a workshop in Fukushima about stress management, raising multiracial children, and group counseling for domestic violence. Similar workshops on the same topics were held in September and October 2014 in Miyagi.
  • Women’s Will Gunma was established to promote active civic engagement of women in Gunma. The group formed when a few women attended a class to learn how to promote women’s political participation in Gunma’s prefectural government. This class was hosted by following the Basic Law for Gender Equal Society enacted in Japan. Women’s Will Gunmahas been deeply involved in the following activities to promote a society where women have equal political representation:
    • Set up projects and workshops to promote active civic engagement.
    • Make recommendations to the prefectural government about designating more women to become committee members for governmental councils.
    • Host workshops for women on career development and job readiness.
    • Offer lectures by former female cabinet members on successful women’s leadership.
    • Organize various events about gender equality.
    With the grant, Women’s Will Gunma held a lecture to support Tohoku on November 8th, 2014 in partnership with Gunma Fuyu Kai, another women’s organization in Gunma. The lecturer spoke about the reconstruction of the oyster farming industry and its importance for the region’s economy. Many women in the Tohoku region rely on this industry for part-time income and to contribute to their families’ financial stability.
  • I am OK logoI am OK was started by a woman whose child was diagnosed with a mild developmental challenge. She created the I am OK program in order to provide services, classes, and social skill training for children who experience developmental challenges. The organization seeks to improve communication, build teamwork, and provide a fun space for children enrolled in the program. Mothers have also gotten involved by taking part in managing these activities.
    The grant was used to offer transportation for children and accompanying teachers participating in a two-night camp program. The camp offered activities to encourage children to grow, be independent, and to learn.
  • Friends of the World is an organization based in Chiba that has various programs empowering parents to become more confident in raising their children. The programs include:
    • Establish the Baby Visiting Program in which public health workers and nurses visit households with babies up to 2 months old.
    • Provide multilingual and multicultural services to help Thai, Chinese, and English speaking mothers to communicate their concerns with public health nurses.
    The grant was used to establish the Baby Visiting Program. The program aims to:
    • Continue providing free baby visiting services.
    • Assist in covering the transportation costs for volunteers to approach mothers who are Thai, Chinese, and Caucasian.
  • Project HANA was established after the passing of a flower arrangement teacher, in whose memory her home was renovated into a community center for residents in Kitami city, Hokkaido with purposes of strengthening local neighborhood relations.
    The grant was used to create a place for people to gather and serve as a community for the elderly living alone. Specifically, the grant was used to:
    • Establish a gathering place for local residents, regardless of age and gender.
    • Host activities for the community such as flower arranging, calligraphy, and tea parties.
  • The Edible School Yard Japan (ESYJ) connects educators around the world to build and share a K-12 edible education curriculum. The goal of ESYJ’s edible education curriculum is to empower students with the knowledge and values to make food choices that are healthy for them, their communities, and the environment.
    Specifically, the grant was used to:
    • Create a learning environment that will help Japanese children understand the “sustainable way of life” and help them create emotional ties with the natural world.
    • Envision gardens and kitchens as interactive classrooms for all academic subjects, and a sustainable, delicious, and free lunch for every student.
    • build and share a national edible Integrating this curriculum into schools can transform the health and values of every child in Japan.
  • Blue Sky Reading is an org started and operated by Rika Tanioka. In 2016, Rika launched the “Blue Sky Reading” project, a website in which people who are handicapped, elderly, and children can enjoy listening to audiobooks.
    Specifically, the grant was used to: