Who We Are

Who We Are

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Arigatou International is a non-profit organization which works to bring people from all walks of life together to build a better world for children. Arigatou International is “All for Children,” and draws on universal principles of common good to offer compelling new ways for people of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds to come together to address children’s issues.

Arigatou International develops and sustains unique multi-stakeholder initiatives designed to ensure that all children are treated with dignity, all children’s rights are respected, and all children have the opportunity to freely pursue their full human potential. Involving diverse partners, these initiatives emphasize both grassroots action and international advocacy.

Arigatou International has great faith in children, who actively help shape its work. Young people are deeply respected, active partners in every Arigatou International initiative.

Arigatou International holds special consultative status with UN ECOSOC and consultative status with UNICEF, and is a member of Child Rights Connect (formerly the NGO Group for the CRC). It liaises and works jointly with UN agencies and other NGOs to foster cooperation within a rights-based approach to the profound issues faced by children and youth today. For Arigatou International, the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a critical goal and essential step on the path to a world that is healthy and just for all children and youth.

Arigatou International recognizes the vital role that religious leaders and their communities can play in fostering healthy values and supporting positive behaviors in their societies. To provide a global platform for interreligious cooperation for children, Arigatou launched the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) in May 2000 at the first global forum in Tokyo. With global forums held in Geneva in 2004, Hiroshima in 2008, Nairobi in 2012, and Panama in 2017, the GNRC has grown to become an extensive interfaith network of faith-based organizations and people of faith who work together for the rights and well being of children around the world.

In 2004, Arigatou International began promoting Ethics Education for Children, aiming to nurture values and ethics and empower children in order to create a world of greater justice, peace and dignity. This initiative envisions a world where children are equipped to make ethical decisions, nurture their spirituality, and make positive contributions to transform their communities together, based on values that promote respect for their own and others' cultures and beliefs. One of its major programs is Learning to Live Together: An Intercultural and Interfaith Programme for Ethics Education, developed in close collaboration with UNESCO and UNICEF and launched in 2008. 

In 2008, Arigatou International launched the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, aiming to encourage religious leaders and people of faith from diverse religious traditions to work towards improving children’s lives through prayer and actions that benefit children. Since then each year on November 20, Universal Children’s Day, the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children is celebrated in many parts of the world to raise the status of children and to promote and protect their rights by commemorating the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. The Prayer and Action initiative has grown to become a year-round program of action focused on ending violence against children through dialogue and collaboration with both faith-based and other organizations.

In 2012 at the fourth global forum of the GNRC in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Arigatou International launched the Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty (End Child Poverty). This initiative mobilizes faith-inspired resources to eradicate poverty affecting children. It addresses both the root causes of poverty in the human heart and the structural causes of poverty including the unequal distribution of resources, war and violence, poor governance and corruption. It utilizes interfaith advocacy and grassroots action to overcome poverty. At the fifth global forum of the GNRC in Panama City in 2017, the initiative launched “An Interfaith Guide to End Child Poverty: Inspire. Act. Change.

Arigatou International has its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, and offices in Geneva, New York, and Nairobi which support its global initiatives.

The bulk of Arigatou International's funding comes from donations made by individual donors in Japan who support the organization's mission. The work of the organization around the world is also supported by many volunteers, by in-kind and financial contributions from project collaborators, and by occasional project- or partnership-based grants obtained from foundations or other institutional donors.

For more information on these four major initiatives of Arigatou International, visit the websites of the GNRC, Ethics Education, Prayer and Action and End Child Poverty.