Henry Slater (18, Tokyo, Japan) is striving to tackle the global refugee crisis. He became aware of the refugee issue back in middle school when he did relief work for children displaced by Japan’s 3/11 earthquake and tsunami. The following summer, he worked with Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala, India, where he taught English and interned at the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. For his hard work, Henry earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award for 200 hours of community service. Upon his return to Japan, Henry founded a chapter of Refugees International Japan (RIJ) at his high school that conducts fundraising events to support kids in refugee camps and raises awareness on refugee crisis.
Henry raises awareness in his local community on global refugee crisis among his peer youth and writes award-winning essays for the Human Rights Watch: “Not Just Syria: Bringing the World’s Refugee Crises Together,” and “The Tibet Situation: A Clear Violation of Human Rights.” What’s more, he is reaching out to the larger, global community by blogging for The Huffington Post about refugee-related issues.
Henry is trying to show people in his local community that the refugee crisis is not a disaster, but rather an opportunity to build a more stable society. Therefore, he thinks that the crisis should be addressed with hope rather than with fear. Henry inspires his fellow youth to form refugee awareness groups in both international and Japanese schools, and to take action.
In addition to his work at RIJ, Henry completed a self-designed internship at the head RIJ office in Tokyo. During his internship time, he worked on developing a network of local high school RIJ leaders. Henry constantly shares his ideas and information about the refugee crisis and the RIJ chapter both in his school community and abroad. Last April, he had the chance to do so with students from Taipei American School and Singapore American School. He hopes that his work will bring awareness and empathy for the global refugee crisis.