Twin 35-year-old brothers have pledged a total of $20,000 to the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter in order to bring exposure to their “V.E.T. Program” (Volunteer English Teacher) in which they help the children and young adults in and around the small villages of China’s Guilin area to learn English.
One of the brothers explains on ShenmueDojo that they spent $10,000 to set-up the program in 2012 after a friend committed suicide in front of him and a girl he loved said she couldn’t be with him as he’s a bad person in the space of a month. And so, inspired by Shenmue, he “decided to let go of fixing [his] life and think about others so [he] went to China.”
The program they set-up gets English-speaking volunteers over to these Chinese schools to help the poorest kids (typically from farm families) whose parents struggle to get them an education learn written and especially oral English, introduce them to foreign cultures, and get them scholarships. This helps the kids when “looking for a job in the future especially in tourist rich Yangshuo and the surrounding regions.” More about the V.E.T. Program can be found out on its Facebook page.
Initially, the brothers pledged $10,000 to the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter that gets them a meal with Yu Suzuki. Due to this initial pledge, the brothers say that “the school received an amazing amount of attention in China, social media and gaming websites.” And so they’ve decided to make a second $10,000 pledge in order to hopefully increase that exposure.
“We are not wealthy! This was a hard decision,” explains one of the brothers. “We could have given $20,000 directly to building the school and it’s programs but we feel that this pledge will lead to more exposure and support than what we could do through other mediums.”
With this pledge they’ve now got the chance to have character appear in Shenmue 3. “We don’t want to be a character attacking Ryo though,” writes one of the brothers. “We are going to try and ask Yu Suzuki to let us have one of our Volunteer Chinese teaching assistants be a character in one of the villages. They deserve to be recognized for their hard work. They are volunteers and many of them come from poor rice farms.”
They are also hoping that they can be listed in the game’s credits as a special sponsor with the school, its logo, and website included instead of their names. And they’d also love for Yu Suzuki to come to the school one day but “don’t want to be greedy.”
Soon, the brothers say they will open up a way for people to donate to the V.E.T. Program and the schools but won’t do it yet as they don’t want to distract too much from the game’s Kickstarter campaign and look like donation hunters.