This talk by Erica Baffelli addresses issues related to precarity and marginalities by looking at the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Buddhist organizations working with volunteers. More specifically, it examines how such organizations address the increasing needs of the most vulnerable in society while also dealing with new challenges and restrictions. It focuses in particular on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the social welfare activities of a Buddhist organization, Hitosaji no Kai (One Spoonful Association), in Japan.
Hitosaji no Kai is a Buddhist organization initially established by Jōdo Shū Buddhist priests. Since 2009 it has mainly operated in the San’ya district in Tokyo, an area previously known as one of Japan’s major yoseba(gathering places for day-labourers). One of its founders, Rev. Gakuken Yoshimizu was born in the area and his temple Kōshō-in serves as the headquarters of Hitosaji no Kai. The association collaborates with local communities and NPOs in supporting people in need, both by providing food, medical advice and help with applications to welfare support schemes and by creating a connection between volunteers and people living in the area.
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Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University
Asia Library, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Sölvegatan 18 B, Lund