Rena was 8 years old when she read a book in which she learned that there were children who could not go to school due to the political situation in their country. This struck Rena as a situation that had to be remedied. She began to participate in various volunteer projects to assist. Since then, Rena’s motivation has been anger at the injustice children face. Rena quickly noticed that she was looking to foreign countries to make a difference for disadvantaged youth. However, when she looked back at Japan, she realised that the youth in her own country was too in need of assistance. Especially the educational system that rejects individuality and the government and corporations, which often discriminate against youth and limit diversity in Japanese society overall. Therefore, Rena took it upon herself to introduce projects which target the injustice that Japanese youth face in their daily life.
Earth Guardians Japan
At the young age of 14 years old, Rena started her organisation, Earth Guardians Japan, which she founded with a friend. The motivation behind the start of the organisation was to alleviate the devastating consequences of the education system in Japan and to remedy the lack of faith in the Japanese government that the youth had. Rena and her team created a solution to this through a new system that allows children to be the change they want to see in the world. One of the most notable ways in which they achieved this was by implementing a project which connected schools and local political representatives via Zoom. The project aimed to increase the interest of Japanese youth in getting involved in politics.
Rena’s organisation is also focused on aiding the environment with projects such as running a river cleaning in the local river at Juso, Osaka Japan. In addition to the above, they also plan programmes for student entrepreneurs to propose ideas to large corporations in Japan. This is a great tool to empower students to demonstrate that their ideas can make an impact too.
Due to Rena’s work, her organization is the youngest youth organization officially working with the Japanese government’s ministry of environment sector to include the voice of youth in government operations.
Youngest Chief Future Officer
Rena is known as the leading youth advocate in Japan. This has led to Rena being appointed as the youngest Chief Future Officer, for a bio-fueled jet company in Japan. Owing to this achievement Tokyo’s government approached her to advise their team on reforming Tokyo’s region. Through this project, Rena is working on the Tokyo Bay project, which envisages urban development looking ahead to 50 to 100 years. The purpose of the project is to create a sustainable city that combines nature and convenience and is estimated to impact the entire area of Tokyo, where 37 million people live. Rena was also invited to participate in the TURETECH project where she with her team developed a QR code system that would incorporate young people’s voices in decisions. This idea was adopted by the Mayor of Niihama and will impact the entire population of the city
Rena is paving the way forward to make it possible for youth to participate in all layers and sectors of society in Japan. She has become a beckon of hope, and a visible representative of Youth in Japan, running impactful projects. Rena’s goal is not to only ensure her generation has better opportunities, but that future generations have them too. Therefore, education and environment are topics that are of paramount importance to her, which she strives to set high on the agenda in society.
Rena is an extraordinary pioneer in her country, for making the voices heard of youth and converting them into tangible impact. To ensure her efforts are not only impactful in Japan, but rather globally she plans to create educational young leadership programs fit for each country, during the next ten years of her life.
An incredibly brave person, daring to stand up as a young female and break through traditional barriers in a peaceful but very compelling way, Rena is a real changemaker and the rightful winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize 2022.
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