When the country of Nepal suffered not one, but two devastating earthquakes in April and May of 2015, the world responded. Immediately, relief efforts began and people across the world mobilized to support organizations on the ground. One group quick to respond was a handful of teens from Tohoku, Japan.
Following the tsunami that devastated Japan in March of 2011, these teens have been working to rebuild their communities in the Tohoku region. As a part of the Japan IsraAID Support Program (JISP), they have been participating in a youth leadership program focused on building their skills in community engagement and directing social projects as well as equipping them with the tools they will need to be successful community leaders. In understanding what recovering from disaster feels like, these youth leaders were motivated to share their skills with their peers in Nepal.
By the end of May 2015, just weeks after the earthquakes struck in Nepal, the group of JISP youth had begun collecting funds to be used for disaster relief. After raising just over $1,000 to be sent to a partner high school in Nepal, JISP's teens felt compelled to do more. Soon a Pen Pal program was started that enabled the Tohoku youth to correspond with their Nepali peers. But they didn’t stop there.
In the months since the Nepal Earthquakes, the Youth Leadership Project has developed and launched an exchange program with Nepali high school students. JISP’s Country Director, Mayumi Yoshida, pointed out that the idea of creating an exchange program originated from the teens themselves; “the concept of exchange program with the Nepalese students arose from one of our Tohoku youth, after joining our shelter building volunteer activities in Nepal and meeting one of the most inspirational female high school students.”
After arriving in Japan on December 23, 2015, the students from Nepal and Tohoku were able to learn, in-person, from each other’s experiences. With the support from JISP’s staff, the youth were able to connect through their shared experiences and discuss their plans to rebuild their respective communities.
“The 10 Tohoku/Nepalese youths spent time together whole through the 8 days program, and built such a strong bond that they now consider themselves, "a family.” They discussed potential projects to support the community in their respective situations, and confirmed the importance of education and training to cope with future disasters that repeatedly assaulted both countries over history.” - Mayumi Yoshida, Country Director JISP
Thanks to donors like you, GlobalGiving has been able to support programs working on long-term disaster recovery projects through the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. With your support, project’s like JISP’s Rebuilding 10000 lives in Japan - youth leadership can continue to develop initiatives that shape community leaders and recovery efforts, even years after a disaster.
Thank you so much for your continued support for the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund! Your generous contributions have been crucial to help many communities rebuild after the earthquake and prepare for the upcoming fishing season.
The Peace Winds America team has been hard at work building fishing sheds for tsunami victims. They have already completed over 100 sheds, which give local fisherman, who are still living in temporary housing needing to generate income, a place to work and store their equipment. The recipients of the sheds had a fantastic oyster season where they caught many large, plump oysters and were able to sell them at high prices, supporting their rebuilding and recovery. Peace Winds America is currently working on building 14 new fishing shelters which will be completed in time for the upcoming seaweed harvest and spring fishing season.
On the Road has continued its construction of the Multi-Purpose Recovery Base in the Japanese city of Ishinomaki. Over the past three months, volunteers have finished the electrical work, completed the drainage system, and painted many interior rooms. Once it is completed, the base will host community events and workshops to rebuild and strengthen community ties that were broken following the tsunami.
The Japan Emergency NGO (JEN) has sponsored many community events to help the people of Ishinomaki recover. In December, they held their “Handicrafts Market” where local artisans congregated to sell their products. Each year, this fair empowers local women to become self-sustaining and to turn their hobby into lasting businesses. JEN also built two new parks to give children an outdoors space to congregate and play. The kids’ response towards these parks will help JEN tailor an additional 70 parks tailored specifically to the wants of the children and parents. In November, JEN hosted a match-making event to help men and women find partners and learn about life in the fishing village. Congratulations to the 5 happy new couples who met during the event!
None of this would have been possible without you! Thank you for your continued support for Japan’s recovering communities.
A busy summer has come and gone for our various partner projects working in the field in Japan. Thank you for your continuous support of the relief efforts being done in Japan for the earthquake and tsunami victims! Through your support, various projects are able to help benefit the livelihoods of those affected by the disaster.
Parents were concerned about allowing their children to play outside because of the health risks of radioactivity that the earthquake may have caused, but Academy Camp has been a great outlet for children to engage in outdoor activities. During the summer, Academy Camp held camps for children living in Fukushima for them to enjoy the outdoors in areas with lower radiation levels. The children participants as well as the volunteers for the camps really enjoyed the wonderful experience that the camp provided because it was an experience that was full of kindness, warmth and bright smiles. Academy Camp also founded the first dragon boat team in Fukushima. The paddle boat practices are a great opportunity for the children to get mental and physical exercise as well as a time for the parents to be a part of their children’s new activity.
Architecture for Humanity continues to help local shops and businesses to recover and re-open to build a financial future for the communities affected by the earthquake and tsunami. In partnership with the MakiBiz RFP Program, Architecture for Humanity commenced their “Tamiko Abe” project that is to help a local aqua-farmer build a building for her to conduct her business. They recently held a Japanese ground-breaking ritual called Jichinsai for the new site, a ceremony that is held before beginning the construction of a building to pray for a safe construction.
There are many still living in temporary housing in Japan, but the Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) has been holding events to improve the stress and mental health of those living in these homes. They have conducted aromatherapy classes, where many of the elderly were able to relax through botanical aromas, and also held fun soap making class where the participants got to interact with the others living in the homes. Because many living in the temporary housing are afraid that such events will go away and that those affected by the disaster will be forgotten, AAR Japan will do what they can to continue to hold these events to remind these people that they will not be left behind.
Thanks again for your continued support for those impacted by the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Your generous donations contribute to the amazing work that is being done by many of our partner organizations!
Thank you to everyone who continues to support the on-going recovery efforts in Tohoku. Your donations helped to continue to bring attention to these recovery efforts through a matching campaign at the three-year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami. Matching campaigns of this magnitude do not come around often, but it was well worth it for this cause. Overall, $102,336 funds were raised from 783 unique donors! Out of the 32 projects that took part in this matching day, the top three performing projects all raised over $9,000 each without matching. Here are some updates from these organizations:
The Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund’s project Help Students, Families and Schools Recover raised $24,634 from 314 unique donors, making the final fundraising total, with matching, $49,203! This project is working to provide a public library and help the Asahigaoka Gakuen Children’s Home in Kesennuma. In the Fund’s latest report, donors were informed that over 100 books were donated by Ambassador Kennedy to the Taylor Anderson Reading Corner last November. Additionally, for the past three winters, the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund has provided children at the orphanage in Kesennuma with Christmas presents and other gifts through a Christmas Wish program. All gifts were tailored to each specific child, and there was even a party where the children performed on stage for each other. While the project has not been fully funded yet, the organization wishes to thank all of its incredibly gracious donors. They would not have been able to raise nearly $50,000 in one day without you!
Fukushima Kids Executive Committee has been able to send children to Hokkaido through the project Bring Smiles to 500 Children of Fukushima. Through the Matching Day, Fukushima Kids was able to raise $12,920 from 25 unique donors, rounding out to a total of $24,840 including matching! Since the tragedy, Fukushima Kids has helped over 3,200 children escape to Hokkaido to relax and play outside, instead of being trapped in the disaster-stricken Fukushima. The organization has seen great improvement in the children who have participated in the program, and many wish “when I become an adult, I want to repay the favor to the people who helped me”. Keiko, a mother two, feels so touched that so many around the world have helped Fukushima survivors like herself. She says because of the program, she is no longer “caught in the bitterness of a victim mentality”.
Academy Camp’s project School of Fun for Children in Fukushima also performed very well in the Matching Day. In just one day, Academy Camp raised $9,120 from 51 unique donors, and $18,200 in total! Similar to Fukushima Kids’ work, Academy Camp strives to help the children of Fukushima who are forced to stay indoors because of the disaster aftermath. This project brings roughly 40 children of all ages to areas with lower radiation to allow them to play, learn, and team-build all outside. In their latest report, Academy Camp told the story of a student volunteer from the last camp on Lake Inawashiro, Fukushima. The student described how they all learned how to use an AED and do chest compressions for someone who is choking. They also went out in E-boats on the lake and experienced the beautiful outdoors. The student ended the report by saying “I hope that more people will know about this camp and share the enjoyment with a large number of people together.” Thanks to donors like you, these kids continue to have meaningful experiences they might not otherwise have had a chance to have.
Because of these three organizations, many affected children and families have been able to recover from the travesty of the Japan earthquake and tsunami three years ago. Even though it has been three years, there is still much more work to be done to improve the lives of these individuals. All of this progress, however, would not be possible without all of you - keep up the great work!
"I'm thankful for the chance for kids in Fukushima to become independent."
Today, to commemorate the third anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, we invite you to see the faces and read stories from people, like Keiko, above, who have been affected by your donations: 3yearslater3-11.tumblr.com.
To date, you and other GlobalGiving donors have helped fund more than 35 organizations doing relief and recovery work. You helped Project YUI set up a nursery home in Ishinomaki, so that mothers will have time to look for jobs. You supported OISCA International with their re-forestation project in Natori City. You sent ETIC funds to send entrepreneurs to help revitalize small businesses in Tohoku. You should feel proud that you’ve helped contribute to the incredible accomplishments that these organizations have made toward re-building homes, lives, and communities in Japan.
Furthermore, because the work of recovery and community re-building in Tohoku continues, we are announcing one final matching campaign for Japan recovery organizations. GlobalGiving will match your donations to Japan projects at 100% from March 10th, 11am EDT (March 11th, 0am JST) until $100,000 matching funds last. Please consider supporting organizations that are doing amazing ongoing work in Japan.
If you would like to share a recovery story that you're thankful for, please join us in posting your #3yearslater story on Facebook, twitter, or instagram this week. Here's how: Step 1: Write on a piece of paper, "I'm thankful for...." (and fill-in the blank!) Step 2: Take an un-selfie of yourself holding the paper Step 3: Post to Facebook, twitter, or Instagram using the #3yearslater hashtag
Once again, we’d like to thank your very generous support over the last three years. Although this will be our last matching campaign for Japanese organizations, dollars raised through this fund will continue to be allocated to our partners in Tohoku, and the vital work will continue.
Mari Seto and the GlobalGiving Team
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