« November 2008 | Main | January 2009 »


Seeking Allah’s Forgiveness

20081225_tauba_chongizerin_low_2  During the assessment visit, I found so many broken tape recorder cassettes on the street and the reels were tied here and there by the children. Some of the children were still playing with the broken cassettes. The numbers of cassettes were so much that one can hardly avoid.

I asked a local resident; an old man namied Zia Ul Haq, sitting aside. After the greetings, I asked him about the reason why so many broken cassettes are left behind on the street.

He explained to me that his village fellows think that the earthquake happened because of the misdeeds and sins of the people. Allah has given a warning for the people to stop practicing forbidden deeds of Islam. Therefore the people decided to commit “Tauba” (Asking for Allah’s All Mighty Forgiveness for One’s Sins).20081225_tauba_chongizerin_1_low_2

Most of the people think that Music is also forbidden in Islam and therefore they broke all their music cassettes into bits and pieces to practically commit “Tauba”.

December 25, 2008 |


Best use of Sheep

081211_1__2  People here in Balochistan are eating dried meat in the winters. According to them, this meat can keep them warm during the cold weather. The process of drying the meat is very interesting. (pix:  Drying the Laanday meat of sheep)

1. First they slaughter the sheep and then they remove the skin with so much care.
2.  They remove all the organs from the body. They make pieces of the meet, fats and bones and paste a lot of salt on it.
081211_2_ 3. They hang the peaces in the sun light. In the night they put some clothes and Plastic sheet on the meat to keep it dry from the due. They are keeping it in the sun light for at least 3 months. When it becomes crispy it means it is now eatable.(pix:  Drying the fats part of sheep)
4.  They cook some meat in the winters after every 2 days. And if they have any guests they cook that Laanday meat for them. People in this area are so much hospitable. The important thing is that they don’t use cooking oil or Ghee to cook this food; they cook this dish in the dried fats of the sheep. It tastes fantastic. When JEN staff is going for assessment or distribution to the villages, a lot of villagers are insisting to present cooked Laanday meat for us. But it is very difficult to eat it every day, because it needs a very strong stomach to digest this strong meat. 081211_3_ (pix: Cooked Laanday food)

Laanday is their traditional food in the winters. They don’t eat this food in the summer, because it is very heavy and hot.(pix: Local made Jerry can made by sheep leather (Mashkeeza))

081211_4_ The removed skin of sheep is also very useful for them. They stitch all the holes of the removed skin except the hole of throat with strong thread. When it is ready to use, the women are bringing it to the springs and wells to fill the water in it. It keeps the water cold in the summer and keeping it warm in the winters. The water doesn’t freeze inside in it in the minus degrees temperature. (pix: Local made Jerry can made by sheep leather full of water (Mashkeeza)081211_5_ )

December 18, 2008 in Pakistan |

The Future of Iketani

081218_img_0543_resized   This is a report of a village revitalization meeting held in Iketani on December 5th.
Over 20 people, including the villagers and involved parties, got together at the Iketani village Meeting House.  Each participant has a different stance on the issues; however, they all share a common ambition for “Village revitalization in Iketani”.  Although the meeting was scheduled for 3 hours, the meeting went on for 4 hours due to the heated debate.

  Winters in Iketani are extremely cold, and the day of the village rivitalization meeting was a cold, snowy day.

  Once there is ample snow on the ground, the Snow Busters program will be held as part of the Village Revitalization Volunteers program.  Since the snow removal is physically tough work, the work of the volunteers will be of great help to many elderly people in this village.  Both the villagers and JEN are looking forward to your participation.

December 18, 2008 in Niigata |



080226__low Village Development in Niigata: Volunteers Needed for Snow Busters!!
~Many challenges facing the villagers in Iketani, Niigata~

Activity Information:
It has been four years since the earthquake hit the village. 4 families out of 6 families in the Iketani village are elderly people, and therefore the village faces the threat of depopulation. Despite this, the elderly are engaging in village revitalization efforts with huge energy. Since 2005, JEN has aided the busy farming season and recruited volunteers to assist towards their recovery. During the winter season, we are seeking volunteers to visit the area and help clear the snow. We need your support!

080213__low Schedule:
There will be three sessions for Snow Busters.
(1st) January 23rd ’09 – January 25th ’09 (3 days and 2 nights) 
(2nd) February 6th ’09 – February 8th ’09 (3 days and 2 nights)
(3rd) February 20th ’09 – February 22nd ’09 (3 days and 2 nights)

Please keep in mind that…
¨ The activities may vary with the changes in the weather and other conditions.
¨ Please bear the cost of the transportation on your own.
¨ You are welcome to join by car. (helping to drive other participants is welcomed)

080311__low Accommodation:
Home stay at houses in the village of Iketani, Niigata

Number of Participants needed:
10 volunteers

3 days and 2 nights = \6,000 ( 4 meals )
*Dinner will not be provided for the night of first day

What to bring:
¨ Waterproof gloves
¨ Long boots
¨ Outfit for cold weather (waterproof)
¨ Towels
¨ Change of clothes
¨ Copy of insurance card
* Please inform us if you need to borrow long boots.

Deadline of Application: Until spaces are filled

080129__low How to Apply:
1. Download an 「application_form_2007_emily_edition.pdf」をダウンロード  from here JEN website, and send the filled form to us via FAX or by mail or through an e-mail info@jen-npo.org.
2. We will then inform you where to make your payment
3. After we confirm your payment, your application is determined

Assembly Time:19:30 of the starting date at Tokamachi Station, Hokuhoku Line, West Gate
Timetable of Hokuhoku Line

080129_low Departure Time: 12:00 of the final day at Tokamachi Station, Hokuhoku Line, West Exist

* If you are travelling by car, please park in the parking area of the West or East exit and meet us at the Hokuhoku Line’s gate.

JEN Headquarters Tokyo Office, Handa or Fukuda

* This project is cooperated with Tokamachi-shi regional development executive committee.

Further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at


December 15, 2008 in Niigata |


The Challenges of the Orphans

081211_dscn2968s_low JEN is surveying in detail in order to decide the distribution site of the shelter kit.
The other day, during the needs survey, JEN met four children. The four were brothers who lost their parents and lived with their relatives because of the Cyclone. However, their relatives are out of work and have their own child, so they cannot make a living for the other four children.

Generally, children without parents are recommended to go to a foster home run by the government. However, because of the possibility that siblings become separated, the relatives decided to take in the four brothers together.

In addition to their own child, it is very difficult to send four children to school. Therefore, there is a chance that the children will stop going to school to work instead. Their life is tough, but they somehow manage to take care of the four orphans.
Through the children, we were able to see that Cyclones not only cause physical damage, but influences lifestyles in many other ways.

JEN is planning for future programs while proceeding with the present shelter distribution programs.

December 11, 2008 in Myanmar |


The Story of Yeywey

04dec_sany0219__low   Several days ago, JEN visited the village of Yeywey to monitor our project. Yeywey is located two hours by boat from Lapta. Yeywey encountered the highest wave (ca. 3 m 60 cm) amongst the affected regions. Therefore, the population of the village declined from the pre-Cyclone condition of 1,500 (300 households) to 500 (150 households) including households from neighboring villages.

  When the Cyclone hit the village, a temple, which had been considered the strongest structure in the village was the first to collapse. The villagers who saw this temple collapse survived by rushing into a two-story school building or the homes of influential villagers, or clung to big trees,.

  The most well-known story is that of a mother and her baby who survived in a two-story house. JEN was introduced to this mother as soon as we entered the village and was given an opportunity to hear her story. JEN was told that they have rushed into a two-story house to escape from high waves. However, they had barely reached the second floor when the roof of the house was blown off (see image). Seconds after this incident, they were hit by high waves. The mother desperately clung to a post of the house with her one arm while she upheld her baby with the other. In this way, they both just barely survived.04dec_sany0264_low

  The devastating power of the Cyclone and high waves can be sensed from this building which still remains as it was. On the other hand, this building is also a place where the members of the village can share the joy of the miracle of survival of this baby.

  JEN has learned the importance to live through providing aid to villagers and, catalyzed by their strength, continues our activities.

December 4, 2008 in Myanmar |

The Autumn Harvesting Festival

081120_img_0040_low_2    This is a summarized report of the Village Revitalization Volunteering that was held for 3 days and 2 nights from the end of October to the beginning of November.

  There were nine participants this time. The volunteers prepared for village's “The Harvesting Festival”, which is the biggest event in the village of the year. They were under the instruction of the villagers, such as cleaning the site and cooking and making the signboards. In preparation for the festival, the volunteers had many opportunities to talk with the female villagers, especially more so than the usual Village Revitalization Volunteering sessions. The volunteers enjoyed working with the villagers.

At the festival, there were some programmes such as a presentation by the volunteers about the “Charm of Iketani ”. It was prepared by the volunteers themselves, and it is a play by a local theatre company and it is a talk-relay by concerned parties.  Everyone involved in Iketani in a variety of ways discussed issues seriously and enjoyably, and shared a wonderful time together.  The big banquet, which was attended by over 50 people in total, and it became memorable event for both the volunteers and the villagers.

This year JEN will organize “SNOW BUSTERS” again, Click here to apply.

December 4, 2008 in Niigata |

Practice! Practice!

20081204research_training_3_low   JEN conducts various surveys when designing its assistance projects. This is through a Needs Assessment Survey in which JEN identifies local people’s requirements and prioritizes among them, a preliminary survey for fact finding before the project implementation, and post-evaluation survey etc. Qualitative data collection is not an easy job as such information is not measurable, and it depends on the enumerators’ skills to what extent useful information is collected.

  JEN recently organized an internal training to improve the survey quality just before starting one. Experienced staff members played the villagers’ roles, to who young staff asked questions to those who were going to work as enumerators in the survey. Others observed how both of them worked and reflected on what they found good and identified areas for improvement.

  Young staffs were impressed by the demonstrations the experienced staff showed acting as villagers. They acted as if they he was real villagers, which helped us feel how the survey interview would be in reality,’ they said. Through this JEN’s field staff members, with various different backgrounds, got close to those people in the villages in need, and their good performance was the key to a successful project implementation. JEN will keep supporting them to meet their needs for their best field work from every aspect.

December 4, 2008 in Sri Lanka |