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07/28/2006

JEN Jackets-the latest craze?!

1_6   One March day, as we were putting up a classroom tent at a public all male high school in Kalamula village, we found ourselves surrounded by the village children. We recognized a few of them wearing familiar looking jackets.

    They were jackets distributed by JEN to the children for the winter, as a part of JEN's post disaster education support program. It is hard to see in the photo, but there is a tag that has "JEN" on the side of the sleeves.

    There are 2 sizes; one for 6~10 year olds, and another for 11~14 year olds; and come in 4 colors; green, blue, red, and orange. We passed many more children wearing the JEN jackets on the way back as well.

Who knows, perhaps they may create a new trend?!

July 28, 2006 in Pakistan |

07/20/2006

The Talk of the Town -the Tsunami Disaster Prevention Workshop

3_3     On the 20th of April, an article appeared in the local newspaper about a tsunami workshop. This workshop, carried out by JEN with the kind support of Sompo Japan, was conducted for children that were affected by the tsunami in Hambantota province.

    In spite of voices strongly arguing for the need of disaster prevention education, in reality, most schools had no such programs introduced after the tsunami. JEN's workshop proved to answer such people's needs by disseminating necessary disaster prevention knowledge to children, and has been regarded highly.

    The newspaper article stated above began by introducing JEN, and went on to assess our workshops for children, introduced messages from workshop participants, and concluded by proposing that these types of workshops should be conducted throughout the country.

    Although all 4 sessions of the workshop have been successfully completed, we have begun conducting counseling for children through sports activities, and are continuing to provide support for tsunami-affected children.

July 20, 2006 in Sri Lanka |

The Beginning of School Reconstruction

1_31   From January through April, JEN distributed 249 classroom type tents for children who had lost their schools and were being forced to study outdoors in the harsh, winter air.
From the 1st of May, we began reconstructing 2 public elementary schools in the Bedhal union council of Haveli tehsil. The new school buildings are earthquake resistant.

    Many children believe that the earthquake happened for religious reasons, and the fear that has been so deeply planted in them remain, leaving behind great scars yet to begin healing. JEN, by giving correct information about earthquakes to these children, aims to lessen their psychological pain.

    "I was in the classroom when the quake hit. Suddenly, the ground started violently shaking. All the students were in a panic and rushing to the door; it took time for me to get even near it from my seat at the back. Just then, a part of the wall caved in, and the entire building swayed towards one side. As I was slipping my way through the door, it shut on my leg and thus I became unable to move. I still have that scar today.

    After about 30 minutes in that situation, I heard the voices of villagers, and myself as well as the other students that had been locked up inside the classroom were finally helped out."
-Dhara Khas village Aziz (11 years old)

July 20, 2006 in Pakistan |

Living Side by Side with Death

I1     Terrorist attacks are all the talk in Baghdad.

    Whenever or wherever you may be, including your own house, death is always lurking around the corner. If a family member is just a few minutes late in coming back, you cannot but help call them on their cell phones to make sure of their safety.

    Not only adults but many children as well own cell phones, so that should something happen, they can contact their family immediately.

    Although there still are children who go to school on foot, there are others who go by car, or have monthly contracts with shared taxis. Schools are basically open throughout the school term, however, parents decide daily whether they should send their children to school or not based on daily security reports. Teachers understand and respect this circumstance.

    The marketplace, a place where many people gather, is a typical target for bombings. Therefore, locals avoid the market as much as possible, and instead try to get their shopping done at nearby grocery stores.

    Even when living side by side with many such dangers, people go shopping, children go to school...Peoples' lives go on.

July 20, 2006 in Iraq |

A Dream Come True-The Woolang School, Complete!

A1     The Woolang School, that had been under construction since last August as part of the MOFA (Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs) funded "Parwan Province Returnee Support Project," finally saw its completion on the 15th of June, 2006. Many distinguished guests, including the Governor of Parwan, Chief of the Education Bureau, and Secretary from the Japanese Embassy attended the opening ceremony that was held to celebrate the memorable day.

A2_1     The Principal of the school, Mr Abdulluh Sabul, is a man that recognizes the importance of education. He has petitioned the Afghani government and numerous support groups to build more schools in the country, as well as visited the JEN office in Kabul. Since there was no assurance of funding, we supplied 5 large tents to substitute as schools. However, being situated in harsh lands, at the bottom of valleys where the winds are strong, the tents became worn and tattered within the year. Therefore, the children did not have any other choice but to continue their studies inside dark, and occasionally torn tents.

    The opening of the Woolang School marked the day when Mr Sabul's hopes and dreams for the children were finally realized-324 boys and 305 girls, divided into morning and afternoon classes, were able to begin their studies in a brand new school building.

July 20, 2006 in Afghanistan |

Onigiri from Iketani

N     On the 14th of June, some locals from the Iketani and Iriyama districts, where our Niigata projects are currently located, came to visit us at the JEN headquarters in Tokyo.

N2_1     It turns out that they woke up at 5 in the morning, cooked 7.5kg (!) of rice, and made it into more than 100 onigiris, just for us JEN staff. On top of all the onigiri, they brought us dishes of wild vegetables and Japanese pickles, all made from ingredients taken from the hills of Iketani and Iriyama. Everything was delicious-what seemed like an infinite amount of food vanished down the staff's bellies in no time.

    A big thank you for all who made today such a wonderful day!

 Join now! Volunteer in Niigata

July 20, 2006 in Niigata |

A Success Story

E1     The village of Gerset is a settlement created for returnees, whom constitute 90 percent of the resident population. On the 4th of May, a ceremony was held in this small village to hand over the JEN tractors and accompanying materials. Utilizing this equipment, the women in the association will be able to harvest their own land this year. At the ceremony the village mayor gave a speech, and セベネ, the head of the association, signed the contract.

    Another person who signed the papers was Sofia, who is in charge of all accounting matters of the association. She is from Gerset village, and is its up-and-comer. Sofia used to be one of the poorest women in the village, living by the day on international aid materials and odd jobs. 2 years ago however, with a freshly borrowed 2000 yen in her hand, she began a business selling clothes purchased from a town 30 kms away. She worked hard, and now has a shop in the village market. Her remarkable effort and ability earned her the position of accountant in the association.

    The accounting officer is an extremely important position, being in charge of money needed for the tractor's fuel as well as for the general maintenance of the machine. Reading and writing skills are a must. The large account book she holds in the picture is the cash receipt book she is in charge of. The clothes hanging in the back are the ones she sells for business.

    With Sofia's help, we sincerely hope that the tractors JEN handed over will be well maintained so it may live a long life.

July 20, 2006 in Eritrea |