Free Ie Beef for high school students from neighboring islands

Free Ie Beef for high school students from neighboring islands

On June 1, in Nishizaki, Itoman, Kenji Naka of Ie Gyu and his employee Natsuko Kyan support high school students from neighboring islands.

June 5, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

“We hope students from neighboring islands will eat well,” said Kenji Naka, 37, the manager of the Itoman direct sales shop of the Agricultural Production Cooperation Group Ie Gyu. This shop, which opened in April in Nishizaki, Itoman, offers support for high school students from neighboring islands by reducing the price of pre-cooked dishes and offering specialty Ie Beef for free. Naka who is also from a neighboring island, runs the shop with his wife Aiko. Despite making no profit from this initiative, they want to help the students grow up healthily.

Many students from neighboring islands without high schools leave home and start living on their own as they start high school. Some do not receive enough financial support from their parents to cover their needs, so they spend a lot of time working. Some students find it difficult to get accustomed to living alone and lose the balance on their lives. Supporting the academic and daily needs of high school students from neighboring islands has become a challenge.

Kenji devoted his high school life to club activities when he went to high school on Okinawa Island. He explains the reason for providing this support, “When some parents of high school age students from neighboring islands send their children away to high school they take out loans to pay for the running of two households. Some students who do not receive sufficient money to get by end up skimping on food costs. I want them to have a full meal without restraining themselves.”

Aiko hopes to expand the circle of support, “We also have a one year old child. So this situation may happen for us in future. If more people offer support, parents can send their children from neighboring islands without having to worry too much.

It has been one month since opening the shop. Since they put a poster up in the store advertising the service hungry high school students have come two or three times a week to receive their support.

(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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