Awich and HelloWorld Launch Collaboration Project for Okinawa

HelloWorld, Inc. in collaboration with Awich, internationally acclaimed Japanese hip-hop artist, has launched the “Know The World – Awich” project, which will provide English learning opportunities free of charge to 100 young Okinawan residents between the ages of 16 to 22 years old through HelloWorld Cultural Exchange and a short term study abroad program in Atlanta for selected participants.

Awich’s hometown, Okinawa, is faced with social issues such as child poverty and experience disparity. This project originated from Awich’s personal desire to contribute to solving the educational challenges in Okinawa, aiming to provide young Okinawans with opportunities to explore the world and create their own future.

About the Project

100 children from economically disadvantaged households in Okinawa will be provided with a free homestay experience through HelloWorld Cultural Exchange Program. After the homestay program, three selected participants will be offered a chance to go on a fully-funded short-term study abroad in Atlanta, USA, where Awich herself studied at.

This project aims to encourage children who faced challenging family circumstances that made them feel like they had to abandon their dreams, to make those dreams come true through their efforts and determination. Seeing their success will inspire other peers of their age, creating a positive cycle where new challenges are embraced.

A Message From Awich

“The project was formed with the concept of turning one’s adversity into one’s strength. My hometown, Okinawa, is a place where the environment is a complex mixture of various cultures, different thoughts and values.

The phrase “Know The World” means not only “to know the world”, but also “to know how you feel after knowing the world”. How do you feel when you communicate with people who speak different languages and are from different backgrounds? I hope that by understanding, communicating and expressing your feelings, it can create a cycle that leads to your personal growth.

Always be curious and continue to actively learn about what you want to learn!”

A Look into Okinawa’s Social Issues

Various social challenges exist in Okinawa Prefecture. Poverty creates a gap in learning opportunities for children, which in turn contribute to the endless cycle of poverty.

Statistics in Okinawa:

  • Income per capita 2,167,000 yen (less than half the national average)
  • Young childbearing rate 2.6% (more than twice the national average)
  • Divorce rate 2.2% (No. 1 for 19 consecutive years)
  • Relative child poverty rate 29.9% (national average 16.3%)
  • Non-regular employment rate 39.7% (national average 36.9%)
  • Unemployment rate 3.8% (national average 2.6%)
  • Youth unemployment rate 6.8% (national average 4.5%)

This project aims to provide opportunities for young people and address the gap in learning opportunities.

‘Awich — Know the World’ Program details:

  1. Online Information Session for Participants (April 23, 2024 Tuesday)
  2. HelloWorld Cultural Exchange (June 8th~9th, Saturday to Sunday)
  3. Awich Lecture Event (June 9th, Sunday)
  4. Study Abroad in Atlanta (Early August) *selected participants only

Application Guidelines

  • Eligibility requirements:
    – Residents of Okinawa Prefecture
    – Individuals aged from 1st year of high school (15 or 16) to 22 years old
    – Individuals from households on social welfare assistance (Seikatsu Hogo), educational assistance, or equivalent support
    – Individuals falling under the first category of household income criteria for scholarships as set by the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO)
  • Application Period: April 23, 2024 (Tuesday) – May 6, 2024 (Monday, Public Holiday)
  • Application Method: fill in the necessary information and answer all questions on the website.

※ Details regarding the selection process for the Atlanta study abroad program will be announced to Machinaka Cultural Exchange Participants only.

Awich’s profile

Awich is a coined term derived from the direct translation of the artist’s real name’s kanji, “Asia Wish Child.” Born in Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture, in 1986, she made her debut at the age of 14 by featuring on the Okinawan hip-hop compilation album “Orion Beat” in 2000. She released her debut EP, “Inner Research,” in 2006 and simultaneously moved to Atlanta, USA. While living a “street life”, she produced her first full album, “Asian Wish Child,” which was released in 2007. The following year, she married an American man and gave birth to her first daughter. Her latest album, “Queendom,” topped the Apple album charts, and her latest single, “Rasen in Okinawa,” reached number one on various charts. In 2022, she held her first concert at Nippon Budokan, followed by a successful nationwide Zepp tour and arena performances in 2023, expanding her presence overseas as well.

Awich Instagram: