Okinawa International Women’s Club
CONTRIBUTED BY NAOMI KATO JOHNSON
Okinawa International Women’s Club (OIWC) is a non-profit organization that has been around for 60 years. We are known for our generous donations to support local charitable organizations and for promoting cultural exchange and building international friendships between both Okinawan women and women from other countries. We learn about each other’s cultures through monthly club-wide luncheon and also smaller cultural group gatherings.
Monthly luncheons rotate between local hotel restaurants and on-base facilities with a diverse lineup of programs such as kimono fashion shows, flamenco dancing, and classical orchestra performances. OIWC members take part in a dozen smaller cultural groups, which organize monthly gatherings centered around a cultural theme like Japanese cooking or American Thanksgiving. Today, women from all over the world gather each month at various locations all over Okinawa so that we can make new and lifelong friends.
In 2015 alone, Okinawa International Women’s Club raised almost $20,000 that was all donated to a variety of local charitable organizations. Every year we accept welfare applications from local charitable organizations all over the island. We visit each of these facilities to assess the needs and to extend a hand to these worthwhile causes. Okinawa International Women’s Club has helped many local organizations by providing items essential to their operation, from uniforms to textbooks, laptop computers to musical instruments, as well as basic goods like air conditioners and walkers. Besides donating funds and equipment, we volunteer our time and labor for local organizations and community events, such as restocking cleaning supplies in a local hospice and providing interpretation services at Kadena Special Olympics.
At Okinawa International Women’s Club, we conduct our fundraising by hosting two bazaars each year, where each cultural group crafts items for sale, hosts a bake sale, raffles off larger contributions and collects gently used items for the white elephant sale. The two bazaars take place in December and March of each year. We invite non-members to attend these bazaars and luncheons to support our cause. Our 2016, December Christmas Bazaar and luncheon is happening on December 12, at 10am at the Laguna Garden Hotel. Please see our Facebook page or website (below) for more details. We look forward to seeing you there!
To learn more or contact Okinawa International Women’s Club, visit them on: