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Victims of Bajaur

090423_13_14april09nwfpassessment_3   The conflict between militants and Government Security Forces started in Bajaur Agency and some areas of Mohmand Agency in 2008. Both the parties are justifying themselves as they are winning, in connection with defeating opponents from each side, but what should be kept in mind is that the majority of people affected physically and economically in fact are the poor innocent villagers.  The local Jirga (tribal assembly of elders which takes decisions by compromise) has been resolving their internal issues, and the decision has been happily acceptable by both the parties.

  Those agencies are situated in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) of northwestern Pakistan. FATA has an exceptional administrative and political status from the British times since 1849.  The people have lived with their traditions and internal independence. This unique system is activating even today.090423_13_14april09nwfpassessment_4

  But the recent conflict has brought many changes in the areas. Many people fled their homes and came to the safe cities of NWFP. Some people are living in the IDP(Internal Displaced People) camps but much of that displaced population are living outside the camps with their relatives or in rented houses.

  JEN in Pakistan has assessed the potencial needs in NWFP, and seen a bit of reality of the people living in this area. In the camps they have the tents which are lack of rainproof. It looks they are short of medical facilities and schools for their children’s studies. Although some organizations and Government are working hard to implement the support, but still there are many gaps to be covered.

090423_13_14april09nwfpassessment_5   An old man whom I met in an IDP camp said “Summer is approaching and people don’t have fans, enough water to take a bath or cold water to drink. It will be the worst summer of their life.”

  He said that he will not return to his village until he will be 100% sure about the safe and peace in the area.

  No one knows what is the future of those displaced people come along? JEN is going to continue needs assessment in this area.

April 23, 2009 in Pakistan |

Work in progress

  I am a new Programme Officer in Baghdad. I am an Iraqi, born in 1956. I work in the field of education since 1980. I hope that peace will prevail in my country and everyone works dutifully towards construction and development in all areas.

  You know that my country was subjected to three wars since 1980 until 2003 and a scientific and an economic blockade since 1991 until 2003, as well as the problems that occurred after 2003. that these wars have led to the underdevelopment of the country to keep pace with development in all spheres of life. It has produced many of the problems of educational, health, environmental, economic and others. Japanese people would know very well the negative consequences of the wars more than others.

  In these lines, I shall focus on the most important issue that must address is the development of people’s understanding. To enable this development, each of us should understand his rights and duties and have the love of the homeland to contribute to the reconstruction of the country. All decisions need to be made based on public interests, love, peace and tolerance rather than hatred, violence, revenge. It is true that this kind of peace education requires time, I think we should start now, and the beginning with children (kindergartens and schools), because children are more flexible to new concepts and the one who hold the future of my country and its communities.

  Therefore, we have to think about how to do this task. What is the role of the state? How can non-governmental organizations to contribute to it? We should benefit from the experiences of other countries in this area, particularly Japan.

April 23, 2009 in Iraq |

Spring has come. - The day to remember -

  Spring has come in Afghanistan after a long harsh winter. The weather is fantastic. Trees, plants, and fields are covered in green in spring. We are filled with happiness although our life remains very difficult due to unemployment and lack of food. People start going out and go on a picnic.   

  In late April, we have a big event. It’s "Mujahideen Day". We celebrate the day since Mujahideen took over the control of Kabul from former president Najibullah’s communist government. It’s now a public holiday and people and children gather in mosques or in pubic halls to listen to speeches and remember the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. 

  As far as this year’s event in Afghanistan is concerned, there is a big one which is due to take place in summer. It’s our presidential election after Hamid Karzai the current President of Afghanistan. People worry about a considerable worsening of Afghanistan’s security situation and have a complex feeling about the upcoming election.


April 23, 2009 in Afghanistan |


Village Development in Niigata: Volunteers Wanted!!

080729    Recruiting Village Revitalization Volunteers for Niigata-Chuetsu Earthquake 2009

~The Challenges facing a Village to Overcome Depopulation after the Earthquake~ 

In 2004 an earthquake of great magnitude devastated the region of Niigata. Despite this tragedy, Iketani and Iriyama of Tokamachi have stood up and faced the damage and started the reconstruction process. Iketani and Iriyama are small settlements consisting of a total of 6 families. Of these 6 families, 4 families consist solely of 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 (An international NGO) has aided the busy farming season and recruited volunteers to assist towards their recovery. This year JEN is aiming to establish a system for the continuous return of volunteers to Niigata. Project volunteers are an essential component of the village recovery. We urge you to apply!

081106_dsc02652_low Activity Information
The revival of the region affected, adjustment and relief of the villagers environment, conservation, farming with the villagers, helping with the preparation of the harvest festival, collaboration with the locals.
The activities listed may vary with the season

2009 Schedule:
(1st ) 2nd May (Sat)-5th May(Tue) 4 days  Finished
(2nd ) 12 June (Fri)-14th June (Sun) 3 days Finished
(3rd ) 18th Sep(Fri)-21nd Sep(Sun) 4 Days WANTED
(4th ) 9th Oct (Fri)-12th Sept (Mon) 4 Days WANTED

(5th) 6th Nov(Fri) - 8th Nov(Sun) 3 Days WANTED

(6th) 13 Nov(Fri) - 15 Nov(Sun) 3 Days WANTED

The Iketani Branch School (A school that was closed 23 years ago has now been refurbished for your use as a lodging facility)

Available Space
15 people per session


3 days (2 nights) - \6,000
4 days (3 nights) - \8,000

Trips inclusive of lodging and food expenses

Transportation costs are not included, therefore you must make your own way to the location. The location is accessible by car or train.081120_img_0212_low

Assembly Time/Place:

The entrance (West exit) to the Tokamachi Station of the ‘Hoku Hoku Line’, Tokamachi, Niigata
Friday 07:30pm

■Departure time/place:

The entrance to the Tokamachi Station of the ‘Hoku Hoku Line’, Tokamachi, Niigata
01:00pm on the final day
※The time of departure may vary with the activity


The trip will stop taking volunteers when the number of participants is full for any of the trips.
For more information, please contact us.

How to join in:

First download our 「application_form_for_volunteer_snow_2008.pdf」をダウンロード (in japanese) and fill in the necessary information. Please send the application form by Fax or email. If you do not have the above nor not able to read japanese, then contact us by telephone (in English) or send an email for enrolment, and then we will send you the application form by mail.

After your application has been received, JEN will verify the information and contact you again. Once we have verified your application, we can finalise the necessary arrangements. The link of the application form is below:
What to bring:

Gloves( non-slip )、long boots/rubber boots、long sleeved shirt, hat, mask, rain coat etc.
-Please contact us if you would like to borrow a pair of boots

Contact Information

NGO JEN- Tokyo Headquarters
Contact - Watanabe (Program Officer for Niigata)
※This program has been made possible due to the collaboration of the Tokamachi Regional Development Planning Committee

April 9, 2009 in Niigata |

Marriage after disaster

090409_marriage_dress_2   The marriages in Baluchistan are very interesting. People are doing a lot of arrangements for this event.

  Groom’s family, relatives and friends are preparing for the event one month before. Females and children are wearing new clothes and they start to celebrate the marriage almost 3 days before. The women are gathering in the Groom’s and bride’s house at night and singing together with the beat of drums, although this area is considered to be a conservative Muslim area, but still they show their joy and happiness in that way. The food for the marriage is rice with the sheep’s meet and curry.

  As the other regions, here in Baluchistan also Groom and bride can see each others after they agree verbally, that they accept each others as a couple in presences of Molvi (a religious teacher) and two or three witnesses. Bride and groom are mainly selected within the family or tribe.

  There are a few cases of love marriages, but it is highly dislike by the parents and elder community. The divorce rate is too low.090409_quetta_marriage_2

  In many villages, men are celebrating the marriage with traditional dance called ATTAN, which is national dance of Afghanistan and very common in Pashtun tribes of Pakistan. The dancers which are friends of groom and some professional dancers move in circles while clapping their hands to the rhythm and spinning around.

  All those information I got from the local people while working in those areas, but in my presence I saw two marriages, one was in Quetta and other was in Ziarat. I didn’t see any ATTAN dance or other celebration in the marriage at Ziarat; it was due to the sorrow of earthquake. People said they are happy but they can’t show their happiness in the way of dancing and singing, because they remember the people who were killed by the earthquake a few months ago and they remember their houses which were destroyed in the same earthquake. Now they are living in the shelters and tents provided by the humanitarian agencies.

090409_tent_bedroom_2   It is sad that the people can’t celebrate their weddings in their traditional ways due to the disaster, but at the same time it is encouraging seeing that they didn’t stop the marriage ceremonies and still doing that social and spiritual union of individual; even they don’t have proper rooms for living, but they use JEN tent as a room for this good purpose.

April 9, 2009 in Pakistan |