Table for Two
Kohey Takashima, Founder and Chief Executive Officer Oisix Inc., Japan Class of 2007
Back in 2005, three Japanese YGLs came up with an idea on how to solve the global imbalance of hunger and overeating – to find a common solution to the 1 billion obese and 1 billion hungry people on our planet. They had carried out a pilot study in 2006, which had been successful, and when a new class of YGLs joined in 2007, the prototype was ready. Kouta Matsuda and I, a fellow Japanese YGL who was operating a coffee shop chain, were enthused, and soon we were able to convince a handful of YGLs to join us. This is thanks to the open lines of communication among Japanese YGLs – we meet informally for breakfast at least once every month. Each of the seven board members paid a certain amount to create the organization, we hired a full-time worker and since then, we haven’t looked back.
The idea is simple: for every healthy lunch served in the developed world, 25 cents is donated to an organization that provides meals to school children in the developing world. This amount is enough to deliver a healthy, nutritious meal to a school kid in Africa. Initially we enrolled company cafeterias, but we now work with restaurants, supermarkets, online shopping sites and so on. Today, 20 YGLs work together on this – 10 from Japan and 10 from other countries – and several World Economic Forum Global Shapers are also involved. To date, we have served 22 million meals in six developing countries (five in Africa and Myanmar in Asia) and 10 developed countries including Japan, the US, Switzerland and the UK.
To me, being a YGL means to think and act not only for my own organization but also in a way that contributes to making the world a better place. It is my duty to do something, I can do something, and I will do something. When you do so as part of the YGL community, you’ll find that many YGLs will join you. It will become much easier to do what you set out to, and you will learn many wonderful things along the way.