Kiwanis is a private service organization.
The name Kiwanis is an adaptation of "Nun-Kee-Wan-is," an expression that originates from the Otchipwe dialect (the Otchipwe are a Native American tribe that lived in the Detroit area). Its nuance includes the meanings "We get together" and "We share and exchange," and the club's motto "We build" also represents such ideas.
As symbolized by its etymological meaning, Kiwanis Club aims to conduct service activities in the local community as an upstanding member of society.
Kiwanis was originally founded back on January 21, 1915 in Detroit, Michigan in the United States. Subsequently in 1963, the organization's international extension program led to the establishment of Kiwanis in three European cities, Vienna, Austria, and Basel, Switzerland.
Today, the Kiwanis organization consists of 8,447 clubs and approx. 290,000 members in major cities in 86 countries/regions throughout the world.
On January 24, 1964, the first club in the Japan Kiwanis District was chartered with the opening of the Kiwanis Club of Tokyo. That was followed later by the founding of the Nagoya Kiwanis Club and eventually numerous others. These include Kiwanis clubs in Osaka, Hiroshima, Kobe, Sendai, Sapporo, Yokohama, Takamatsu, Fukuoka, Kyoto, Chiba, Shinjuku, Wakayama, Niigata, Senshu, Saitama, Nishinomiya, Shibuya, Fukuyama and Kumamoto (listed in order of establishment), bringing the current total to 21.
The initiatives of Kiwanis International are diverse and broad-ranging. They include a partnership that was formed with UNICEF back in 1991 to promote the eradication of IDD (Iodine Deficiency Disorders), which was successfully completed last year.
The aim of the project was to build local factories throughout the world to increase the production of iodized household salt, which was distributed to children suffering from various disorders caused by iodine deficiency. This highly significant goal was accomplished last year.
The Nagoya Kiwanis Club is very concerned about the recent trend for children to have an alienation toward reading. And it wants to foster a love of books and reading in young children in the future. With this wish in mind, the Club conducts various activities to donate books to children.
The Nagoya Kiwanis Club recently donated \500,000 worth of books and reading material to special schools for the disabled in Aichi Prefecture that have educational classroom instruction (6 hospitals and 1 care facility) as well as to the Aichi Children's Medical and Heath Center (ACHEMEC).
Funding for this Kiwanis book drive comes from our donation chest called the "Happy Box" and is furnished through the contributions of Kiwanis members. Money received during the charity bazaar held at our annual family Christmas event and from the system where members voluntarily make donations on or around their birthday at regular meetings, goes towards the community service activities conducted by the Club.