Christmas Village is bringing help and hope to thousands of Tokyo's ragpickers. It was founded in 1958 by Fr. F. X. Meyer, S.J., in the middle of 20 ragpickers' villages with a population of about 40.000. The only assets the cheerful German Jesuit had were a charitable heart, a pocketful of dreams and i resourceful personality.
He launched the venture by issuing bonds for Christmas Village, and peddling them from door to door among the. Japanese and foreign communities, particularly among the U.S. Armed Forces. With them he bought land and began building his village on the outskirts of Tokyo.
Under the auspices of the Jesuit Sophia University, about 150 student volunteers are running a distribution centre for free food and clothing. There is a clinic and dispensary manned by three doctors and two nurses, a recovery centre for undernourished children, a credit union, and a marketing cooperative. A trade school teaches car. televisiem, radio and electrical repair work.