Munakata Foundation has accepted our exchange students every year since 2018, when we welcomed our first exchange students from PIASS. Thembo and Henri also did their internships there and researched on the projects they chose. Encouraged by Ms. Mana Tanaka, a chairperson of the foundation, Thembo and Henri could learn a lot.
The following is his essay.
Since being in Japan was a great opportunity for me, I thought of using this opportunity to look for any organization or company as to where I could do my internship as it's required of me by my home university to qualify for graduation. My thinking was that, since I'm in Japan I will be able to find an NGO or company which is more relevant to my major of "Peace and Conflict Studies" for my internship. But to my dismay, the pandemic had pushed many working places as well as Organizations or companies into a state of panic and fear, and thus, when two organizations downplayed my application, I resigned and consulted the former exchange students who advised me to consult a Japanese professor (Dr. Kazuyuki Sasaki) at my home university who later on, connected me to Munakata Foundation where the former exchange students had done their internship from. Without a waste of a minute's time, fortunately, Munakata Foundation consented to my request.
After a few days of my application acceptance, the director of Munakata invited me for our first meeting. In the meeting, I presented about myself, and later on, we agreed on how to commence and how we will be working since the pandemic could possibly limit us from going to the field. We agreed that the following meetings and reporting shall either be face-to-face or online depending on the pandemic situation. In the second meeting, I was asked to present about my country and what surprised me on arrival in Japan, and possibly what I could have learned so far. In the end, I was informed to search for a case study for my internship which is relevant to the four main areas of the Munakata Foundation (girl child education, minority support, poverty alleviation, and diversity support). first, having seen that Munakata helps girl child education, I proposed to work on the promotion of girl child education taking a case study of my home district village in Uganda. But as I worked on it, I realized my country Uganda is said as the worst country to be a member of Sex minorities. Thus, I changed my topic from girl child education to the Protection of the LGBTQ+ Community during the pandemic, taking a case study of Uganda. My thought was that since the pandemic had affected most masses not only in Uganda but globally, and thus the minority people such as the LGBTQ+ community could have been severely affected as the people who lived from hand to mouth employment opportunities.
As I was making research in order to collect information, I connected to my friend who was a generalist who helped me to look for the group of the LGBTQ+
+ community residing in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. After we organized an online interview with 8 of them, we discussed about theirs during the pandemic. Secondly, I was informed of another group of the LGBTQ+ community residing in my home district, and I again organized for an online interview with 6 of them and promised to visit them once I returned back to Uganda since they would be near my home place. At the end of my internship, I was given a certificate and I will always be glad of the support rendered to me by the Munakata Foundation.