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The Interaction Banquet

In JEN’s volunteer activity, a banquet for interaction and exchange between people in the villages and volunteers is held every time.
The place for the banquet is the Iketani village Meeting House called “Minoru Ikedan (Blooming Iketani)” in the centre of the village. 
This house was renovated last December and it is a symbol of restart of the village after the earthquake. (Here is a link to about “Minoru Ikedan”)

From morning to evening, after finishing the volunteer activity for the day and having dinner, we drink some alcohol or soft drinks with local people to foster friendships. 
Sometimes we are given a present by the local people. The present is that they sing for JEN volunteers the traditional celebration song called “Tenjin-bayashi”.
This is an enjoyable time for us to be told various things about the village.

In the party, the comments about the village and volunteer work were given by the volunteers through the friendly interaction between them and the local people. 
In fact, the conversation without any objective like this is extremely important. 
The people in the village are able to know about their own village in an objective matter through their impressions of the village and the toughness of work of agriculture.
Accumulation of these ideas sometimes bring some ideas for developing the village such as “What should we continue to value about this village?”.  

In many ways, the interaction between the volunteers and local people is important. 
JEN would like people who will join the volunteer activity in the future to let the local people know about their impressions of Iketani in a friendly and honest manner.

August 28, 2008 in Niigata |

Scars Left by the Cyclone

At the moment, JEN is investigating on needs for further aid and support whilst distributing shelters.
During this needs assessment, JEN asked locals about the Cyclone itself as well.

A 38-year-old man visits the site where he lost his four sons and is overcome by anguish every day.
A 25-year-old woman who lost ten members of her family burst into tears when JEN asked her about the cyclone, and thus JEN could not continue this interview.
A 36-years-old woman told JEN that she could not stop shedding tears during a meal because it reminds her about her late child’s favourite dish.

From these interviews, that there were hidden tears behind the everyday smiles of the local people effected by the cyclone.
Though JEN was aware of this from the beginning, this was the moment that JEN reaffirmed the severity of the cyclone damage.
It is difficult to send aid and support to every village where JEN conducted an investigation.
As JEN explained this to the people, they replied, “We understand that it is difficult to distribute aid supplies to every single village. Rather, we are happy that JEN listens to our voice so intently”.
JEN recognized the importance of listening to the afflicted people, and JEN is intending to continue providing aid and support by taking careful consideration of the results of this investigation.

August 28, 2008 in Myanmar |

Caring the Heart

200808212art_therapy  There are numerous people in Vakarai Division who have experienced a number of evacuations during the long-term effects of conflict and aftermath of the tsunami. JEN sends a psychologist to conduct counseling to help through the pain and distress you have studied.

JEN first identifies the people who are most in need of counseling. Group work was conducted, among various methods, and they were asked to draw whatever is on their mind.

Take this person (see the photo), for instance, who draws villagers running away from an air attack. Others draw the devastation of the tsunami, palm trees and houses that collapsed. They could not describe them in conversation, but drawing can help them to express what is deep in their mind and too hard and painful for them to express verbally.20080821art_therapy_2

Through the group work, some participants are identified as requiring mental care. In those cases, JEN’s psychologist conducts counseling for these people.

August 28, 2008 in Sri Lanka |


Do Kashmir boys like Make-up?

JEN conducts hygiene and sanitation education projects in Haveli, Bagh.
In order to prepare for this project, JEN is now interviewing teachers and students.
Based on the result of these interviews, JEN is going to reform the content of training about hygiene and sanitation education for teachers and the content of the workshop for the children.

With this, JEN found an interesting things about Pakistani culture.
The boy in the picture wears eye-liner below his eyes.
This is called “ Solma” in which he wears special black stone powder around his eyes.
This is effective to have a better eye sight, and also by wearing it while sleeping, it reduces the pain from having red eyes.
You can’t see this much in the capital city of Islamabad; however, it still exists in a place like Haveli which is located in high altitudes under the severe sunshine. 

Close to 60% Pakistani children’s cause of death is due to unsanitary water.
We hope that through the spread of knowledge by hygiene and sanitation education, JEN will make a tremendous contribution to the community.

August 21, 2008 in Pakistan |

Achievement and Appreciation

080819 10 months have passed since Remote Management from Pakistan was introduced.

The construction of 2 schools were completed by July 2008.

We had a banquet to thank the staff, who have operated projects and  put in their best efforts at the field sites on the front line, and  shared the achievements and burdens, which we overcame together.  We enjoyed the local cuisine such as Kabab, Kofta and Palaw with great relish and the natural view at a rustic restaurant along the riverside.  Just those things made everyone absolutely delighted.

We have had banquets like this every time a project was completed.  This time we felt even more achievement than usual as the project operation was done by Remote Management in the mid-flow of the project.

August 21, 2008 in Afghanistan |

The Arrival of Roofing Material

21_aug_08 Ten thousand C.G.I sheets contributed from the AEON group were unloaded at the storehouse of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) in the Yangon Port on August 6th .

The Emergency Distribution of C.G.I. sheets project is a collective effort of JEN, the Government of Japan, and the AEON Group, a group of over 140 major retail stores in Japan,

JEN organized a hand-over ceremony of the C.G.I. sheets on 12th August in the presence of the President of the Federation, Mr. U Win Myint, and Mr. Yasuaki Nogawa, the Japanese Ambassador to Myanmar.

For smooth distribution of the C.G.I. sheets, JEN, with the collaboration of the UMFCCI, is currently conducting a mapping survey on mainly schools.

Primary schools in the cyclone affected areas temporarily use tarpaulin sheets for the roofs, or the buildings have remained completely destroyed after the cyclone.

Schooling gives children opportunities to meet their friends, and heal their sorrows and fears experienced from the cyclone. Providing the educational space for children is an essential component of psycho-social care for the children.

August 21, 2008 in Myanmar |


From Dusk till Dawn, @School

080808_2_2   - Training of the management committee for borehole maintenance (1) -

Currently, the project of Improvement of School Water Sanitation and Hygiene implemented with the cooperation of the Japanese government is reaching its peak. 

Installation of the wells and latrines in the three targeted schools was completed according to schedule, and training for members of the “the management committee for facility maintenance” on the borehole maintenance is now in operation.

When staying in the field, it is necessary to decide where to stay at night.080808_2   

Although it isn’t hard to find a lodge in the middle of the town, things aren’t as easy in remote places. 

As the location of training, this time, was at an elementary school about 2 hours from town, we were able to lodge in the school’s classroom. 

The 2 Sudanese staff decided to set up a tent in the classroom and spend the night there, but since I had been suffering from the staff’s awful snoring, I decided to sleep in the car, in a sleeping bag.   

Although it gets pretty cold in the field at this time of year, sleeping in the car turned out to be warmer than I’d expected, and comfortable as well.  I might develop a habit of it!

August 14, 2008 in South Sudan |

Three Months have Passed since Cyclone Nargis

Dscn0722s In the areas where road access is poor, there are many locals who are still completely dependant upon aid for livelihoods and there are even locals without a home of their own.

The afflicted area is known for its abundant rice production.

Usually, rice planting is done by mid July and the harvest is in October or November.

However, there are fears for this year’s harvest because the rice plants were destroyed by Cyclone Nargis and even those that survived suffer from insufficient growth.

If the harvest is short, the local people cannot earn enough income to make their living.Dscn0792s

Farmers are not the only locals suffering from the disaster; fishermen are faced with a difficult situation as well because their fishing nets and boats were washed away.

Furthermore, pond water is undrinkable due to the influx of sea water caused by the high tides. This adds further hardship for the local people.

As can be seen, the scar left by the Cyclone, which has killed more than 100,000 people, is deep and serious.

Much more time and effort is needed to recover the livelihood of the local people.

JEN is considering further support to the afflicted locals whilst paying careful regard to their future perspectives.

August 14, 2008 in Myanmar |

Summer in Iketani – Let’s Go To “TAMBO”!! part 2-

= Discover the treasures in Iketani - Star Gazing =

080813__4 The Second Session of “Let’s go to “TAMBO(Paddy Field)”!! was held from 8th to 10th of August.

In the peak of the summer in Iketani, weeds have grown densely around the “TAMBO”.  Mr. Hashiba, who has been keeping an eye on the ears of rice in Iketani for several decades said, “The ears of rice in this period are most beautiful, just like women just before their wedding.  We have to weed out to prevent the weeds from spreading diseases”.

As a result of the best effort of 16 volunteers, under the strong sunshine, the view in the TAMBO has been cleared as you can see from this photo. 080813_

At night, a starry sky observation class was held.  Mr. Murakami participated as a teacher gave “students” friendly and in-depth explanation about the great triangle in the summer and satellites etc looking up into the night sky.  The students took turns observing the night sky through a telescope brought by Mr. Murakami.  There were countless stars that are invisible to the naked eyes.

It was a clear sky, so the students squealed in joy when they saw The Milky Way and a large number of shooting stars, which we cannot really see in the metropolitan area. 

080813__5 The next “Let’s go to “TAMBO”!!” in September will include finally harvesting the rice, followed by Candle-Night.  The rice seedlings have been growing steadily, so we look forward to harvesting them.  We hope it will be delicious rice!

August 14, 2008 in Niigata |

A Sign of Changes

20080626 JEN sends a psychologist and social workers to conduct a psycho-social care as well as to improve the nutrition and health status of returned people in Vakarai DS Division. JEN provides counseling for adults; and psycho-social care for children through different activities.

Children from 6 to 13 years old get together every evening to play traditional games, sports, do drawings and read books. At first they are seen breaking into groups and arguing with each other, but they gradually understand each other and now respect others when they do activities.

The education system is well developed in Sri Lanka and children generally study hard. But there are many children in Vakarai DS Division who do not attend schools. Vakarai was for a long time under the control of the anti-government force, and the effects of the tsunami and prolonged conflict extended their evacuation. Nowadays, basic infrastructures like housing are being improved through international and domestic assistance, and they are gradually returning to school.

JEN, not only helps people improve their living environment, but repeatedly tells parents about the importance of children’s education through counseling and emphasizes the importance of the children going back to school. There still are various issues ahead regarding the lives of children but JEN has made positive changes in providing a brighter future for the children.

August 14, 2008 in Sri Lanka |


School Support through BOOK MAGIC

080807_bookmagic_low Thank you so much for those who contributed to the BOOK MAGIC program. Thanks to your support, we were able to provide Pakistani children with floor mattresses for their school. As a result, 6380children at 54 schools can now continue their education in a better environment.

Because the project zone, Bagh, barely has any desks and chairs for the students, children sit on the ground directly to study. Especially during the severe winter time, it is hard for children to concentrate on studying, moreover, many children became sick because of the coldness.

JEN provided mattresses to an Islam school, which gets hardly any support from other organizations, and other schools mainly schools locating closer to the border. Some of them never got support before other than JEN, and therefore not only the teachers and students but also residents of the region also thanked this contribution deeply. JEN would appreciate your continuous support for BOOK MAGIC in the future.

August 7, 2008 in Pakistan |

Facing the issue: Water Supply in Jordan

87_low Jordan is cooler than it’s neighboring countries, and also has a large source of water. However, the time of year has come, as usual, to become worried and anxious about the water shortage. Jordan has suffered from it every year because there are no reservoir in the country. Therefore there are laws such as one that bans car-washing by hose.

The temperature in Iraq is 10 to 15 degrees C higher than that in Amman. In the summer season in Iraq, it has become 50 degrees C or over in hottest days. Reportedly, in Sadr City, a poverty stricken place in Baghdad often faces water stoppage and has insufficient public facilities for water supply. The hotter it becomes, the desire for access to safe water increases.

JEN’s school renovation project focuses on the facility related to water supply or sewage water. Because schools are public facilities, it is possible for this facility to become the water for the surrounding community as well. JEN has now decided that the current school renovation project which is supported by JPF (Japan Plat Form) and other donors shall include Elementary and Junior High Schools in Sadr City. JEN hopes the renovated schools will contribute to the communities in the area.

August 7, 2008 in Iraq |