SOFIS is an annual event where representatives from the five Sacred Heart schools in Japan (Sapporo Sacred Heart School; Sacred Heart School, Tokyo; Fuji Sacred Heart School; Obayashi Sacred Heart School; International School of the Sacred Heart) gather together to learn and discuss about specific social issues and design an effective action plan that can be accomplished in their own school communities. The event is one of the few opportunities where our students can meet and interact with students from the other Japanese Sacred Heart schools. 

Regularly, SOFIS is held in the form of an excursion during the summer vacation, where all participants travel to one host sister school and stay there for three days. However, due to the COVID pandemic, SOFIS 2021 was hosted online by the Sacred Heart School, Tokyo (commonly known as Sankocho) over two days in August. Although this was the first time in SOFIS history to hold this event online, students were able to have a very fruitful experience overall. The theme for SOFIS 2021 was: “Understanding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Connecting Them Back to Ourselves ~Aiming for a Gender-Equal Society ~”. The ISSH representatives examined this theme specifically through the SDGs goal 10, “Reduce inequality within and among countries”. 

The event consisted of a series of presentations made by each school’s representatives, as well as lectures, workshops, and discussions led by specialists and advocates in the field of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Although we could not meet and interact with the participants from the sister schools physically, we were able to collaborate, exchange opinions, and bond with them during discussions and the ice-breaking party. 

Through this experience, students were able to reflect on how urgently gender equality must be achieved, and reaffirmed how relevant the matter is to our school community. At the end of the workshop, ISSH representatives collaboratively devised an action plan to further promote gender equality in our school community.