A Message to Students Studying at SHS
Iha Foundation (a voluntary group) established the Culion Rainbow Fund (an NPO) in August 2013 to take greater responsibility for society.
In Japan, people suffering from Hansen’s disease were compulsorily segregated from society. It was the equivalent of ‘life imprisonment’. Their demonstrable crime was being victims of Hansen’s disease. It was a requirement under the law designed to prevent the spread of leprosy, legislation that was passed under the euphemistically named public health. The sufferers were not only victims of a hideous disease but also of harsh treatment and prejudice that the law did everything to foster. In other words, they were oppressed under two layers of hardship. Furthermore, they were abandoned by society, deprived of their human rights and dignity, and on top of that, their families were stigmatized and disgraced.
Finally, that iniquitous law was repealed in 1996.
The Japanese government recognized and apologized for the measures taken under this evil law and decided to provide compensation to those who had fallen victim to it.
This fund was established by Toshio Iha, one of the recipients of that compensation scheme, using the compensation money itself as the source of funds. From the money collected, scholarships will be awarded to students recommended by the Leyte Branch of the National University of the Philippines School of Medicine.
Illness brings us pain and tears. The more one suffers, the more one is susceptible to the grief of other people. Those who experience physical pain, spiritual anxiety, and social failure tend to be merciful to others. They are the last ones to allow others to experience pain and tears.
Medical science fights against human suffering and misery. Let’s hope that the students who will receive a scholarship from the Iha fund will be those who are gifted with compassion and have the courage to passionately fight against those illnesses that still cause agony and misery.
Date: June 26, 2011