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2007.07.26

Distributing Dream Bags!

Students4 We have again started distributing dream bags to children this year!

This is the third consecutive year that we have carried out this project, which started in 2005. With the collaboration of RKK (Rissho Kosei-kai) 9,549 dream bags have been sent to Afghanistan. The dream bags are handmade by kids and their families in Japan, and they are as big as a supermarket bag.

They are full of stationery and toys that Japanese kids thought would make really nice presents. On June 26th we distributed 186 of these dream bags in KEIBO elementary school, located in the Akrobat region of Bamiyan Province.

The distance from Kabul to Bamiyan is 220km, or a one-day trip; and from there to the School is only 26 km but it takes one and a half hours due to the bad road conditions. A local NGO, as well as teachers and students, participated in the distribution of the dream bags.

The teachers and students welcomed us saying "thank you for bringing such wonderful presents to this remote region"

We still have 9,363 dream bags to distribute during 2007. Since this project started in Afghanistan in 2005, many schools in Parwan Province have already received the dream bags before, so we would like to take the dream bags to more remote places this time. And bring those children what their Japanese friends prepared for them with so much love.

July 26, 2007 in Afghanistan |

The aftermaths of the school tents

20070213jpf On May 31st, the Assistance for Reforming the Educational Environment was completed thanks to the support of Japan Platform, individual donors and NGOs.

Today, we would like to pass on to you the local people's messages.
The children expressed that "the reinforced tents protected us against rain and strong winds. Thank you!"

The Teachers also expressed that "Thanks to the desks, chairs and reinforced tents the children were able to study in a better environment than that of the open air and sitting on logs"

"We were also shown how to reinforce the tents and we feel confident we can fix them when necessary"

"With the training about disaster prevention, we also learned how to cope with the stresses the children face after an earthquake"

JEN has distributed desks, chairs, and reinforced tents, and conducted disaster prevention courses for teachers at 64 primary education schools in Havaili, Bagh Province. Around 11,247 students and teachers benefited from these reforms of the Educational Environment.

July 26, 2007 in Pakistan |

2007.07.25

Recruiting volunteers for the Chuetsu-oki earthquake.

-For those in need of assistance we provide our support.-

Getting on the move to respond to the emergency, the Kashiwazaki Social Welfare Conference in Nishiyama has began to assess the medium-to-long term needs of the earthquake victims.

Based on this assessment, the "psychosocial care" project will be carried out as a major project by the Toka Machi Welfare Conference, which belongs to the jurisdiction of Iketani (Toka Machi), where JEN has worked since 1994.

All interested applicants who want to participate in these volunteer activities are welcome to apply here.

JEN is also collecting donations to assist with these emergency efforts in Niigata.
We appreciate your cooperation.
Account Number: 00170-2-538657
Account Holder: JEN
* Please specify if your donation is for the purpose of assisting the “Chuetsu-oki earthquake emergency”.
=This account is available only in Japan=

July 25, 2007 in Niigata |

2007.07.24

Japan's Most Beautiful Sunset.

The day at Nishiyama's volunteer center starts with the head of the office greeting us energetically, "Good morning! Let's do our best with a smile in our faces again today!"
 

Then, at around 5 o'clock, Mr. Abe gives a small speech like "according to… the English science magazine….” etc, and the day ends with everyone paying regards to the day's efforts.

Mr. Abe also told us that the "Ishiji" (A region in northern Nishiyama that faces the Sea of Japan) sunset is the best one in all of Japan. He recommended the volunteers that arrived from all over Japan to take the chance to enjoy the sunset at 7 o'clock. The exact place where the sun sets is thought to be the epicenter of the Chuetsu earthquake. On your way there though, you must pay enough attention because the road is in a fairly bad condition due to the quake.

 

In spite of the tension and tiredness of the day's hard work, Ms. Tanaka and I decided to follow his recommendation and go have a look.

Sorting things out on the way, we managed to arrive at Ishiji at 7:05. The most beautiful sunset in Japan, with such a crimson sun setting in the horizon, was breathtaking.
 

At this point, I am reminded of how much I want to help people who are in trouble…  I used to work at a corporate company, when I visited the Thai island of Phi Phi for monitor the progress of reconstruction efforts, and felt helpless. Today, those feelings came flooding back.

JEN is also collecting donations to assist with these emergency efforts in Niigata.
We appreciate your cooperation.
Account Number: 00170-2-538657
Account Holder: JEN
* Please specify if your donation is for the purpose of assisting the “Chuetsu-oki earthquake emergency”.
=This account is available only in Japan=

July 24, 2007 in Niigata |

2007.07.22

Sending Volunteers to Help

The Nishiyama volunteer center has begun its operations, and from 9 AM volunteers will begin responding to requests for help from the quake’s victims.

Between yesterday and today we received 41 requests for volunteer assistance, and 81 volunteers have been mobilized.

"I need some help to fix the roof that has fallen off", "I need help to get to the hospital for my medicine", "While I fix the house I want help with my small children", etc, are some of the requests we receive daily.

Until today, volunteers from outside of the Province where not accepted, and thus, we were unable to respond to many requests for help.

On 23rd of July we expect many volunteers from Kashiwazaki, and we are aiming to respond to all needs with flexibility.

(Above) Matching the needs of the victims with the volunteers is from today being conducted in tents.
(Below) The interior of a collapsed house. Inspections of half and fully collapsed houses were held in Nishiyama. Assistance is urgent.

JEN is also collecting donations to assist with these emergency efforts in Niigata.
We appreciate your cooperation.
Account Number: 00170-2-538657
Account Holder: JEN
* Please specify if your donation is for the purpose of assisting the “Chuetsu-oki earthquake emergency”.
=This account is available only in Japan=

July 22, 2007 in Niigata |

2007.07.20

JEN to Begin Assistance Operations.

On the 19th of July, JEN carried out inspections in the region struck by the Chuetsu-oki earthquake.

In coordination with the Toka Machi Regional Development Committee (Chairman Mr. Yamamoto), we decided to support the creation of a volunteer center through the Kashiwazaki Social Welfare Confernce in the town of Nishiyama.
 

Our inspections today were carried out at the village of Kariwa, and Nishiyama town, where 1500 and 2000 families live, respectively. The main need in many affected areas is water, which is insufficient for daily purposes and hygiene during this hot season.

The recently created volunteer center of Nishiyama town will mainly respond to the needs of these 2000 families.

JEN is also collecting donations to assist with these emergency efforts in Niigata.

We appreciate your cooperation.

Account Number: 00170-2-538657
Account Holder: JEN
* Please specify if your donation is for the purpose of assisting the “Chuetsu-oki earthquake emergency”.
=This account is available only in Japan=

July 20, 2007 in Niigata |

2007.07.19

The situation on July 19th

Throughout the morning, Keiko Kiyama (JEN’s Secretary General), Ai Tanaka (Program Officer), and Hiroshi Yamamoto (The Toka Machi Regional Development Committee’s Chairman), assessed the situation in Nagaoka, Kashiwazaki, and Kariwa, and also participated in hearings at the volunteer center.

From this evening they will continue carrying out inspections in unassisted areas.

JEN is also collecting donations to assist with these emergency efforts in Niigata. We appreciate your cooperation.

Account Number: 00170-2-538657. Account Holder: JEN
Please specify if your donation is for the purpose of assisting the “Chuetsu-oki earthquake emergency”.
=This account is available only in Japan=

July 19, 2007 in Niigata |

Niigata Chuetsu-oki earthquake: JEN has began local inspections.

JEN has dispatched an inspection team to assess the situation in the region where the Chuetsu- oki earthquake struck on Monday the 16th of July.

<The dispatched officers>
* JEN’s Secretary General: Keiko Kiyama(Ms.)
* JEN's Program Officer: Ai Tanaka (Ms.)
* Inspector cum Chairman of Toka Machi Regional Development Committee: Yamamoto Hiroshi (Mr., - Native of Niigata)

We will carry out the inspections in Kashiwazaki and other areas where emergency assistance is difficult to reach. Then, based on our analysis of the situation, we will use the experience built up over the years in Niigata to provide flexible and appropriate assistance to meet the people’s needs.

JEN is also collecting donations to assist with these emergency efforts in Niigata.

We appreciate your cooperation.

July 19, 2007 in Niigata |

2007.07.17

Village Development in Niigata: All volunteers returned home safely

We send our highest regards to the people who suffered the Niigata Chuetsu-oki earthquake.

When the earthquake struck at 10:13 am on the 16th of July, nine volunteers belonging to one of JEN’s programs in the Iketani and Iriyama areas were in the process of learning how to weave “zori” traditional Japanese straw sandals.

Even though the earthquake was quite strong there weren’t any collapsed houses or significant damage, and the villagers and volunteers were unharmed. Services on the local railway; Hokuhoku Line were suspended, so the volunteers were taken to Echigo Yuzawa station, and returned home safely.

The Toka Machi Regional Development Committee’s Chairman, Mr. Yamamoto, assessed the situation at neighboring Iketani and Iriyama, and stated that the damages did not appear to have reached their rice fields, crops or roads.

After we verified the situation at Iketani and Iriyama, we are considering collecting data in the Kashiwazaki region, which suffered the most damage, and looking into the possibility of extending our assistance there.

July 17, 2007 in Niigata |

2007.07.12

My Birthday in Juba

Photo A few days ago, I celebrated my birthday in Juba.

I was doing my normal daily work at the office, when I suddenly heard from behind me the local staff and the head of the office in Juba start singing Happy Birthday. They also surprised me with a cake, which I thought to be impossible to get around here!

They looked all over Juba for a cake, and found the only restaurant that can make it. Since they couldn't find any cake candles, they stuck a thick one like those used when there is a blackout in the town.Photo_2

This homemade-like birthday present will make this day a very memorable one for me.

July 12, 2007 in South Sudan |

2007.07.05

Relieve a Pain

JEN’s vocational training saw its third-term finish on 27th June. We walked down to our car to leave one of the four villages where we attended the commencement ceremony, and then it happened.

A guy was shouting at us. He was from the neighboring village across the road. The massive tsunami of December 2004 washed away his two children, his house, ship and all fishing tools. He lost everything he used to make a living. With a strong smell of alcohol in his breath, his anger and agony came out of his mouth. And he complained “JEN’s assistance reached my neighboring village, but not my village”.

JEN selected villages where JEN’s assistance could meet the needs of the affected people. The village size, the degree of devastation caused by the tsunami, the population, and the economic condition before and after the tsunami were the aspects examined in our survey, and his village was not among the targets.

He saw JEN’s vocational training actively conducted in the other village alongside the road. He heard people’s cheerful voices and saw their smiles in the gatherings and it made him feel uneasy and angry.

His words left us speechless and we apologized for what we hadn’t done for people in his village. There are always people who are left behind when we decide to support others, and it is us who left him in devastation. We learned what we couldn’t do did for him, and something visible, goods for instance, couldn’t relieve the deep sorrow brought by the tsunami.

July 5, 2007 in Sri Lanka |