BY CHAT SEKI
A not very commonly known Filipino networking gem exists in Hiroshima, Japan. It’s where people give back but receive more.
Established over 8 years ago, the Hiroshima Filipino Association (the HFA) is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization aimed at helping improve the quality of lives of Filipinos in Hiroshima Prefecture. It is fulfilling for me to have helped set it up together with other leaders in the Filipino community, and to have seen it grow from its inception in 2008.
Through the years, the HFA has continued to line up events that bring together Filipinos from all over the Chugoku region. During these events, we receive some support from small businesses that market to the Filipino community in Japan or from established companies, such as banks, that have a business presence in the Philippines.
Its most recent activity was held in August 2016 when it successfully assisted the Philippine government through its coordination with the Philippine Consulate in Osaka in bringing a “Consular Outreach” to Filipinos in Hiroshima City. This is the second to hopefully a series of government service outreaches in the area that started in August 2015, which I wrote about in a major newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Many of the HFA volunteers, officers and advisers are Filipino professionals, engineers, small business owners and English teachers who speak Japanese and are well accustomed to Japanese culture. While I come from Manila, many of the volunteers hail from Cebu and all over the country. The HFA continues to enjoy support from the Japanese community in the Hiroshima Cathedral for World Peace in Noboricho, Hiroshima City. I continue to support it as an adviser, a lawyer, and a foreign resident who wants to make a difference in Japan.
Top featured photo: Networking between HFA and a chemical service company during an outreach for victims of typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013.