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2018.01.18 "I Am 10 Years Old, and I Have Never Seen a Book" Published by Shanti Volunteer Association
Shanti Volunteer Association (Shanti) in Tokyo, an organization that has been active in distributing picture books to various countries in Asia, has looked back on their overseas humanitarian activities in a new book, "I Am 10 Years Old, and I Have Never Seen a Book (provisional translation)." Shanti was initially founded in 1981 to provide support for the refugees that were displaced from Cambodia. Subsequently, through its philosophy that "education has life-changing powers" and that educational opportunities cultivate a future for children, it has continued to aid people both overseas and in Japan, including people living in impoverished countries and domestic victims of natural disasters. 

Shanti’s picture book initiative began in 1999. It involves Japanese picture books with translated text stickers pasted over the original text being sent to countries around Asia. Those in Japan who want to contribute pay a fee and register as a Shanti volunteer, and Shanti sends them a picture book and corresponding translation text stickers. Once the volunteer pastes the stickers into the picture book and returns it to Shanti, Shanti sends the books in batches to the regions which require them. So far, around 275,000 picture books have been sent. The translation stickers are also made by volunteers.
On December 25, 2017, Shanti published a book, "I Am 10 Years Old, and I Have Never Seen a Book. 270,000 Books Delivered to Children in Asia (provisional translation)." It is a compilation of the struggles and voices of the people that Shanti has come into contact with over its years of activities in various countries. The book includes stories of children who are unable to go to school, and some of the 750 million people who cannot read or write in the world. Also included are messages from picture book authors Eric Carle and Satoshi Kako. 

Living in Japan, it is difficult to fathom a life without picture books, but there are still many countries like that all over the world. Pasting translation stickers on books is a little way of taking part in the mission of international cooperation. Registration for new volunteers starts from January 5, 2018.

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