Sanbien Children’s Home: A Place where Magic Happens

Every month a group of JET ALTs head to the Sanbien Children’s Home for an afternoon of fun and interaction with disadvantaged children from the Onomichi area.


Sanbien’s Children’s Home: A Place where Magic Happens

By Joel Wilkinson

Every month a group of JET ALTs head to the Sanbien Children’s Home for an afternoon of fun and interaction with disadvantaged children from the Onomichi area. We typically play games and do craft activities with the kids. It’s great soul food for the ALTs and more importantly an opportunity to shine a little light into the lives of kids who don’t always have it easy. First, let’s cover a little bit of history.

How it Began

In 2009, now ex-JET,  Alie was suffering from a family crisis and needed a positive direction to take her energy. She partnered with Smile Kids Japan to find an organisation in the local area willing to accept volunteers for community work. After substantial bureaucratic to-and-fro, a deal was struck permitting ALTs to conduct visits to the home and interact with the children in a positive and exciting way. It’s 2017 now and the visits are still going strong.

How the Magic Happens

The visits typically occur on the last Sunday of every month. Volunteers meet for pickup at Onomichi station and are conveyed to the home by a van provided and operated by the home staff. From there, we conduct a great variety of activities, and games both indoor, and out. These are often related to the season or special events that occur through the year. There is also plenty of free time to interact with the kids. It’s not uncommon for fast friendships to develop and the children have lots of love to give. If you’re interested in joining us please see the information below.

If you would like to contribute to the Sanbien visits but can’t, then there’s another way you can help! It’s not easy for everyone to get to Onomichi and spaces are limited which leads us to the Sanbien Fundraiser.

What is it?

The Sanbien Fundraiser will be held on June 3rd in Hiroshima City at Gallery 1/1. In the past, it’s been a really cool event with ALTs coming from all over the prefecture to contribute crafts, foods, and skills to auction. The auction is in order to raise funds to cover our various expenses accrued through the visits. It’s also an opportunity to hang out with other ALTs, in a super chill spot with food, wine and music. Last year we had Virtual Reality (VR), portraiture and all manner of totally sweet handicrafts available. We’d like to recreate this again in June and we’re looking for contributions. So if you can donate to the fundraiser we’d love to hear about it, otherwise just come along and place a bid. Stay for as short or as long as you please. We can’t wait to see what amazing creations you can come up with!

Hiroshima AJET: Sanbien Children’s Home Fundraising Event Facebook page:

For Sanbien Children’s Home volunteer visit enquiries please contact Jen or Joel at:




Visitor notes

*JET ALTs have the privilege of visiting the home as they have cleared police and working with children checks as part of their employment which means you can’t bring friends to the home. Sorry!

**Spaces are limited for home visits. We try to get as many people in as we can but preference will often go to repeat visitors out of consideration for the kids. If you don’t get in one time don’t despair, try again! Thank you for your understanding.