Listening to the voices of single parent families

This year JEN, with our partner organization, Muse Planning (contents available only in Japanese), gave help to single parents who were affected by the Kumamoto earthquake as part of our assistance activities for victims of the earthquake.

The “Single-Parent Chat and Lunch Meetings” were held in Mashiki Town and Higashi-ku, Kumamoto City in March and April, respectively. In these meetings, single parents took the time to talk to each other about their daily lives. A career counselor ran a workshop to give advice on how to get a job.

The participants really appreciated the meetings as exemplified by their comments:

“I was able to talk about my worries and anxieties and get peace of mind as I now realise that everyone is in the same boat”
“It was good that I could get to hear the stories of various people”
“My heart felt lighter when I met people who had similar problems”
[The workshop flyer]

Average annual income of single mothers in Kumamoto City has not increased for quite some time and has been stuck at about 1.8 million yen, which is less than half the average wage of the entire Kumamoto Prefecture.

Single fathers earn 2.91 million yen, which is about 70% of the prefecture’s average (according to the Kumamoto prefecture single parent family survey). The earthquake affected areas where already earning a living was not easy.

Kumamoto Prefecture conducted a survey on single parent families in August, four months after the disaster (findings on the conditions of single parent families after Kumamoto earthquake can be found here - contents available only in Japanese).

July 31, 2017 in Kumamoto |


[Emergency assistance] JEN’s activities for flood victims in the Ratnapura District

JEN provides emergency shelter assistance to residents affected by the monsoon that occurred in southern Sri Lanka in May.
The Ratnapura District, the target area of our project, is located in the southwest part of the country. The district suffered extensive damage due to repetitive floods and landslides, killing 86 people, completely destroying 860 buildings and partially destroying 7,846.
Most of the damaged buildings have broken roofs and walls and cracks in their foundations, so are no longer usable.
JEN is distributing materials to families who have lost their homes and have had to move in with relatives or to evacuation centers. Using these materials families are able to build their own simple shelters in which to live until their homes are rebuilt.
The Ratnapura District, is famous for jewelry production which is one of Sri Lanka’s major industries. Cat’s-eye and sapphire gemstones can be found in the local rivers and mountains, so people search for gemstones everywhere.
The district is also rich in produce such as tea, rubber, rambutans and avocados which cannot be cultivated in the north.
[A rubber tree farm]
Whilst setting up the office JEN immediately obtained approval for the project and started a preliminary needs assessment. Because many of the affected households live deep in the mountains where access by car is not possible, JEN had to do investigations on foot.
Once  complete, the distribution of relief goods start.
[JEN staff walking up a rough mountain path for the investigation]
[A building destroyed by a landslide]
[JEN staff interviewing residents]
[Many of the clay houses are easily damaged by floods]

【JEN is now asking for donations. Click here to donate】

July 18, 2017 in Sri Lanka |


Impressions from Sinjar, Bashiqa and Bahzani

People’s lives in the city of Sinjar and its surroundings are like hell.
JEN was one of the first organizations that began supporting the people of Sinjar after the city was liberated from armed groups.
When I first visited Sinjar as a staff member of JEN, the people were totally dispirited. Most of the houses and government buildings had been destroyed. To take the first step forward, we began the essential work of repairing wells in the city so that people could have access to drinking water.
Life in the Sinjar Mountains is more difficult than in the city.  JEN has repeatedly investigated what is essential for the people living there and is providing public water storage tanks which are filled up daily from tanker trucks.
[Water supply tanker trucks JEN has rented; JEN distributes drinking water to people taking refuge in the mountains]
[A well being repaired in Sinjar City; installation of a water storage tank and generator]
[Bashiqa and Bahzani]
Bashiqa and Bahzani Villages, located in eastern Mosul, had been under the armed group’s control for two years.
JEN provides assistance to people who are returning to their  villages. Although the houses were safe, the rubble caused by the battle was piled up all over the roads so JEN carried out a road and household waste clean-up operation.
Our activities are much appreciated by the villagers, and the number of returnees is increasing every week.
JEN’s staff engineers discussing well administration huts, water storage tanks and water supply networks with the director of the Bashiqa Waterworks Bureau and a Nineveh waterworks engineer.
[The director of the Bashiqa Waterworks Bureau and the Nineveh waterworks engineer have expressed appreciation to JEN]
[A repaired well near the village of Bashiqa]
Rebar Ali Mella
JEN Iraq
【JEN is now asking for donations. Click here to donate】

July 6, 2017 in Iraq |


Launch of a registration System for internally displaced persons


[Use of the new registration system to distribute hygiene supplies]

JEN has launched a new registration system to help with the correct distribution of hygiene supplies. It allows easier and more accurate distribution than before and without using paper documents.

The system requires a smart phone and an app containing the data of all households in the camp.

When visiting families in the camp staff can check family details including the supplies the family are eligible to receive along with whether they have received these supplies or not. 

So the system ensures the correct supply and avoids duplicating the supply of goods.

The system was developed by the Kurdistan Regional Government and another non-profit organisation. 

All internally-displaced persons living in the camp and around Dahuk have been registered on the system.

Soon, the system is going to be used in all distribution operations in the Kurdistan Region.

Ezzat Ahmed Bapeer, JEN Field Staff

【JEN is now asking for donations. Click here to donate】

May 25, 2017 in Iraq |

Supporting Male Nursing Care Providers—A Challenge in Ishinomaki

What kind of people do you associate with the word “caregivers”?
In fact, ‘female care people’ is a very common image in Japan.
In a reality, the most common caregivers is spouses who are living together account for the largest percentage of 26.2%. This is followed by adult children living together at 21.8%. In fact, one in three caregivers is male.
In Ishinomaki City, an area that suffered severe damage due to the Great East Japan Earthquake, the percentage of people identified as needing long-term care has increased from 16.1% in February 2011 to 19.0% three years later, which is a 1.3-fold rise.
JEN has partnered with a voluntary organization called the “Caregiving Class for Men” composed of medical and nursing care specialists in order to support male caregivers.
The “Caregiving Class for Men” was launched after the earthquake to hold nursing care study classes for male caregivers who have limited experience in housework and tended to be isolated.
[The workshop of oral care]
The “classes,” which are held once a month, are a great success with about 30 participants every time. The nursing care managers have tenaciously requested male caregivers to participate in the classes and have been providing programs to meet the needs of the participants.

In the classes, the participants can not only acquire the basic knowledge and skills of nursing care, but also enjoy an environment in which they can talk about their daily problems with each other and engage in networking with specialists and medical staff.

[Making rice balls]
The main programs so far are as follows below bullets.
This coming September, a symposium will be held on the Miyagi coast to share the experiences and lessons learned from the “Caregiving Class for Men” of Ishinomaki City with nursing care and medical specialists in Tohoku region.
Details will be announced once decided.
- How to cook nursing meals
- Easy cooking recipes (packed and ready eat meals, etc.)
- Workshop on dysphagia
- Workshop on oral care
- Workshop on heat stroke and its countermeasures
- Workshop on the prevention of influenza and gastroenteritis
- Workshop on dementia care
- Workshop on bedsore prevention
- Emergency life-saving training
- Workshop on nursing skills (diaper changing, feeding, and transfer assistance, etc.)
- Health care for caregivers
- Pottery classes to ease caregiver stress
- Group meetings to exchange opinions and promote good fellowship among the participants

【JEN is now asking for donations. Click here to donate】

May 25, 2017 in Tohoku Earthquake |


Towards an Official Trip to Sri Lanka

Hello. I am a program officer for Sri Lanka based at JEN’s Tokyo Headquarters.

The main work of the Tokyo Headquarters team is to launch projects abroad. Program officers prepare applications for grants, submit completion reports, manage the progress of the projects and send thank you letters to supporters.

Also, program officers visit the country for which they are responsible if necessary, they temporarily fill any vacant positions and monitor the project. They discuss with the local team what kind of support activities should be carried out in the future.

Soon, I’ll be going to Sri Lanka to check on the progress of a project and after I’ll report my findings so that supporters will see what we have managed to achieve with their help and also to update my colleagues so we can feel encouraged by the progress we have made.

Here, I would like to give you some information about Sri Lanka.
Official Name : Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Meaning: Shining Island Geography: An island in the Indian Ocean to the south of India. A little smaller in area than Hokkaido. Religion: Buddhist 70%, Hindu 10%, Muslim 10%, and Christian 10%. Colonial history: Portugal →the Netherlands→ England
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Home Page (as of April 2017)

Though Sri Lanka has been influenced by European countries, it has kept a lot of its cultural heritage.  It has a lot of archeological sites.

It is a country of everlasting summers and is famous for resorts, but there are also a lot of cooler areas in the mountains. You can enjoy a variety of activities including a jungle safari. I would strongly recommend that you visit the country, at least once. 

[The nearby station in the town where the local office is located]

[It is drier than expected though it is rainier than Tokyo in some areas.]

[Tropical fruits grow in the garden in the warm areas.]

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here to donate】

May 11, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

Prroviding emergency supplies

JEN has begun to distribute water hygiene related supplies.

[The staff are preparing the set up of the supplies]

[People receiving the supplies and bringing them back home].

Refugees began to return to the area in January 2017, but during the combat,

the wells were severely damaged.  Restoring the water supply has been a challenge, so providing water for daily use has been difficult.

Therefore, JEN has repaired wells in the area, distributed water and sanitary goods as well as providing hygiene education in collaboration with UNICEF.

[People checking registration to ensure distribution is correct and not duplicated]

【JEN is now asking for donations. Click
here to donate】

May 11, 2017 in Iraq |


【Emergency assistance】A repatriated refugee’s son “I study hard for my mother”

JEN distributed daily necessities to repatriated refugees from Pakistan in Chaparhar District of Nangarhar Province, located in the eastern part of Afghanistan. We met a mother with her two sons who are 14 and 9 years old and helped them to carry the necessities. The mother’s name is Dil Jan

[Dil Jan follows receiving procedure. 22 April, 2017]

[Dil Jan, her sons and JEN’s team carry the necessities. 22 April, 2017]

“We lived stably in Pakistan but we returned to Afghanistan in August last year. Three months later, my husband died. I have three sons.  The oldest one is married, so I’m left caring for the other two,.” Dil Jan said.

She hoped that the supplies provided would help improve their standard of living . Her older son suddenly cut into our conversation, saying, “we need school buildings.”

I was surprised and interested to know what he meant.  I talked with him, his name is Hadesullah , a sixth grader.

[Hadesullah talked with the team. 22 April, 2017]

“Sorry for cutting in on your conversation but I’d like to say that, as my mother said, we need lots of things because we are a family of 6 and our father is dead.  Can you imagine how hard my mother works to earn a living sewing clothes? ”

“I’m sorry to be demanding but I wish we had buildings for my school. Especially, I want a laboratory and a computer room. I will study hard to enter high school and then university.”

“I have a dream to be a doctor to help people and to earn good money. This is also my mother’s wish.” He said.

There are no school buildings.  So they study on worn-out rugs in the shade of a wall.  At around 9 :00 a.m. the sun is really strong and they can’t continue studying any longer.

[It’s the school.]

“This is our daily life. We really need a school building even if there isn’t a laboratory nor a computer room.” He begged.

Hameedullah Hamid
Project manager
JEN Afghanistan

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.


May 2, 2017 in Afghanistan |


A family who got a cow

With the help of JEN’s supporters and the Japanese government JEN is working on a livelihood improvement program, targeting the repatriated inhabitants of FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Area) Khyber Agency. 
This program focuses on breeding livestock.
More the details are available.
Today, we will show you the case of Mrs. Itebara, (50 years old). She has difficulty walking, three years ago she lost her husband during the army’s operation to mop-up terrorists.
She has five daughters and two sons. Her husband had several wives and Mrs. Itebara lives with the second one.
Mrs. Itebara and her family used to live only on her husband’s daily wages. Her sons are still students and are not able to earn an income. Two of her daughters are married, and the other three help her with the housework.
The second wife works for the neighbors in exchange for wheat flour, sugar and vegetables in order to maintain the family’s minimum standard of living.
Mrs. Itebara used to have three livestock, but had to sell one of them because she needed the money. Because of her situation Mrs. Itebara qualified to receive support from JEN. JEN provided a cow, feed and insecticides.
Mrs. Itebara was very pleased to get a cow, she never thought she would have one. The family hopes that this support will improve their standard of living.
[The cow has brought to Mrs. Itebara and the family members a lot of opportunities]
The second wife took part in livestock management training organized by JEN. She learned the importance of stalls, watering and timely vaccinations.
Mrs.Itebara hopes to earn a higher income so improving her family’s standard of living thanks to JEN’s support.
【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated. DONATE here

April 27, 2017 in Pakistan |


[Emergency assistance] Distributing relief supplies to repatriated refugees in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan

About 2 million refugees from Afghanistan are living in Pakistan but last year around 600,000 were forced to return home.

To do so many had to sell off their belongings. Many had lived as refugees in Pakistan for a long time, some for 30 years.

Therefore, they are facing challenges, like no relatives in Afghanistan, no place to settle and no jobs.

Since March JEN has started emergency aid to 1000 families of repatriated refugees in Nangarhar Province.

JEN distributes relief supplies, like tanks to store water and sanitary materials. So far JEN has provided supplies to about 600 families.

This distribution will continue.

[Tents for repatriated refugees]
[Toilet for repatriated refugees]
[Repatriated refugees]
[People who received supplies]
[Handicapped people also received supplies. JEN staff helps to carry]

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.


April 21, 2017 in Afghanistan |