Yatagai Scholarship Fund has helped 100 children complete high school education

Fumie Yatagai, 61, of Japan came to India two years ago to fulfil a dream of 40 years.

Hailing from Saitama, near Tokyo, she completed her early education in Canada. But a traditional upbringing prevented her from pursuing higher education. “At 25 I had to get married to the man my father chose for me,” she said.

When she learnt that her friend had become a professor at the age of 40, she yearned to go to college. “But I had to devote time to raise my family of two children.” It was this desire to study that led her to set up a trust with the money her parents left her.

“As I was the only child I could do what I pleased with the money. I set up an NGO and decided to help poor children complete their school education.” Through the Yatagai Scholarship Fund, she has helped 100 children in India and Nepal complete high school education in the last 15 years. “I believe if a child can complete school then it will find a way to finish college education also.”

But she also had a dream, one that she nurtured throughout her married life. “It was my dream as a child to get a Ph.D. But my husband was transferred to work in Fuji Films' factory, far from Tokyo.” At 52, she graduated with M.Sc. in Agriculture but had to move to her husband's ancestral home in the country when he settled after retirement. He belonged to one of the 40 families that trace their lineage to the Samurais.

Five years ago her husband died . An Indian friend suggested that she visit India and helped her find her feet in Chennai. She decided to study at the Madras University. Ms. Yatagai completed her M.Phil in Journalism and has registered for Ph.D. in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Madras.

Her thesis is on the well-known filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu whose films are based on the stories of ordinary people that do not feature violence, war or romance.

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