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08/27/2009

Can’t go to school because of the rainy season…

090827_bglktytbk048_23709s Currently, JEN is supporting construction of several small bridges in the villages we have distributed our shelter-kits. In these villages, all the houses were washed away by the cyclone. Some afflicted villagers built their new houses at different locations after the cyclone in order to gain more security against similar disasters in the future. Among them, some who did not need to cross the rivers to go to their school or monastery from their previous houses, now need to cross the rivers.

090827_bglktytbk071_23709s During the dry season, villagers were able to walk across these rivers, since water level is low; however, now during the rainy season, though it is possible to cross the rivers during a low tide, even adults can hardly reach the bottom of the during a high tide. In such a circumstance, children cannot attend school and monks are unable to go to their monastery.

JEN was asked to provide assistance regarding bridges by such villagers. After our survey,  JEN realized that rivers are causing barriers to having an ordinary village life. Therefore, on the condition that villagers will build bridges themselves between rice planting labor, JEN is proving materials for these bridges. Villagers are very cooperative and construction is ahead of schedule in the village Dabochon, shown in the image. In the beginning, JEN was anxious whether villagers were capable of building such bridges themselves with only a limited number of tools. However, given the current progress, we are now confident that villagers can build them by themselves.

090827_bglktytbk078_23709s JEN is hoping from the bottom of our heart that the bridges will be built soon and all the villagers will be able to attend school and go to monastery safely.

August 27, 2009 in Myanmar |

Old House Restoration is Close to Completion

090723_4img_3747     All walls have been plastered, and varnish put on the pillars dried and turned to good colour.  The floor is shining as it has been waxed.  New straw-mats (tatami) have arrived, and all we have to do for  people to stay is to install electricity.

  Volunteers were installing tanks for irrigation and storage of natural water from the mountains.  Also they were putting bricks on the flower beds.

  A name of this house is now being considered by Tokamachi Regional Development Planning Committee.  Please let Tokamachi Regional Development Planning Committee (chiikiokoshi@gmail.com)know if you have a name which you think “This is it!”.  We look forward to an adorable and wonderful name.

  We have one more topic this time.  On July 26th Echigo-Tsumari Triennale (Daichi-no Geijutu-sai) started.  There are full of installation art works, which are too unconventional to understand, from all over the world.

  This is 4th session of this festival this year and a work has shown up at Iketani!  It is “Mori-no-Hitokakera (A Piece of the Forest )”  created by an artist / architect; Ms Shoko Fukuya.  Many swings are placed at grove of beech trees. We can actually ride on these swings, and the swings look like “Heidi’s swing” as those are hanged by long wires from high place of the trees.  Adults even enjoyed that as if they were children.

  Further more, in Bon Festival period this year, a festival will take place in Iketani!.  Bon-Dance festival will revive after 30 years absence!  What is more, we will dance to live songs and live Japanese drums.  All villagers in Iketani are really looking forward to this Bon-Dance festival. (Click here for details)

  Get together at the Iketani Blanch School at August 15th night!  Please join us!

  Village revitalization volunteers are wanted.
  (Click here for details)

August 27, 2009 in Niigata |

How can we stay in Jordan in the long term?

  Visitor paper is very useful to stay in Amman in the long term. However issuance of the paper needs several procedures. At first, you need to register your organization with the Ministry of Industry and Trade of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. And then, you also need to register your office with the city government of Amman and take an HIV/AIDS blood test.

  Then, you need to file some documents at the Ministry of Interior for foreiner registration, get a work permit from the Ministry of Labor and be interviewed at police stations. Through these six steps, the visitor paper will be finally issued.

  Jordan accepts many immigrants from states such as the neighboring country Egypt, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. There are many agencies that were developed to deal with the legal procedures. It is not rare that one applicant has around 20 passports. However, individual applicants must go through the crowd at the desk and convince and beg the lazy officials, to promptly deal with its procedures, again and again.

  This process for Japanese people is the same as Iraqi people. However,  for Iraqi people, bank’s balance statement and an interview to investigatewhether they have any relationships with fringe groups and other steps are needed.

August 27, 2009 in Iraq |

The Presidential Election

  On August 20th,  Presidential elections took place in Afghanistan for the first time in four years. The number of eligible voters currently stands at 17 million, and voter turnout is considered to be between 40 to 50%.

  Due to security reasons, 10% of the polls have been closed and relocated to a selection of the other 6,200 (approx.) sites.. To prevent multiple voting, qualified voters had their fingertips branded with ink, which  led to threats from anti-government militias that any voters would have their fingers cut-off. This threat was mainly aimed at women, although many still braved the polls – testament to the growing political determination in the country. 

  However, in light of security worries, JEN closed their offices in Kabul and Charikar on the day of election.  The day prior to the election, one member of the local staff was so concerned about the anti-government militias, that he escorted his wife to the polling station so that she could cast her vote unharmed..

The official announcement of the counting of votes takes place on 17th September. If no candidate (including President Karzai, who is expected to be re-elected) wins a majority, a run-off will be held in October. During the election period, it was predicted that further attacks acoss Afghanistan would ensue. However, as yet, there have been no reports regarding any terrorist activity in Parwan Province of Charikar, where JEN's activities are implemented.

August 27, 2009 in Afghanistan |

Feelings on Independence Day

090827_independence_day_image   Pakistan came into being on 14th August 1947. Pakistani nation celebrate this day with great pomp and shown every year. People of Pakistan wait very anxiously for the celebration of Independence Day.

  Being patriotic citizens of Pakistan people of Swat also celebrate this day with great enthusiasm. But this year people of some of Swat people were out of Swat because of war between security forces and militants. They moved to other parts of the country to secure their children, women and aged people from war.

  On Independence Day JEN staff visited field while some IDP’s of Swat were returning to their hometown. Meanwhile JEN staff talked to some people from Swat regarding their returning and Independence Day. They said that “we are celebrating double independence, because one is for Pakistan independence and the second is that we are going back to our hometown. Because after clearance of our areas we fell very happy that war is over and now we can spend same secure life as we were spending before the war.” Their eyes were full of tears but this time these tears were not because of fear and worries but because of happiness.

August 27, 2009 in Pakistan |

08/21/2009

Hardship of Field Work

090813_2009junesdkajokeji_roadcondi   I have been in charge of the Admin and finance in Juba office.  In July, I had a chance to visit Kashokeji district, where JEN has been working for and with the local people. I left for the district with the following purposes and anticipationsin my mind:to see hygiene education promoters, who were recently employed, to take part in the preliminary research for the hygiene education in school, andto visit the region near the Ugandan border

  On the very day of departure, however, many unexpected accidents occurred, such as the necessity to arrange the substitute car and the accommodation on the way, because the car got out of order in bad road conditions. Early departure on the next morning enabled me to get to Kashokeji at noon.  After an exhausting trip, it was a great pleasure to see the hygiene education promoters, who seemed so happy to offer hygiene education to school children.

  (picture: A road to Kashokeji, looks like just a grassy plain,    Taken from the car,  July 2009)

  This trip turned out to be a good opportunity to know the hardship of field work. I will keep supporting the local staff working in the field, and will work hard in Juba office so that JEN can give effective support to people in Sudan to improve their lives.

August 21, 2009 in South Sudan |

08/20/2009

JEN’s Support

JEN started the water supply project for the IDP in the Vavuniya District last June, with financial support from the Japan Platform and kind assistance from individual supporters.
The District Water Supply Department with which JEN is in partnership is always struggling to secure enough water for supply at the height of this dry season.

In order to prepare drinking water, we filter water from rivers or disinfect water from agricultural wells and newly set up wells. . JEN carries the water from the Water Department, and transports it to the supply spots inside of the refugee camp.

090820_2 The first picture shows a well exclusively for water intake. The Water Dept develops wells like this one at nearby ponds around the camp. They pump up the well water by electric pumps to fill up the water supply vehicle.

090820_3 The second picture displays a lady, who is the operator of this electric pump. Even at the age of 70, she works from 6AM until 8PM to put operate the pump. She lives nearby this well and the Water Dept pays her a small wage.

JEN’s emergency and humanitarian support is made possible thanks to the many people who lend their time and effort, like the Water Dept staff and the old lady.

August 20, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

Dance And Frog

090903_20090803_jpf2_kajo_keji_akub   Assisted by supporters and Japan Platform since April 2009, JEN has continued with hygiene education at elementary schools in Morobo district and Kashokeji district, located in Central Equatoria State. Let me show what children can learn through the education.

  As a first step to introduce the hygiene education, children were encouraged to find problems in their daily lives that relate to hygiene education.  For students in 4th grade to 6th grade, they were asked to draw any one scene in his or her daily life. Then, they talked about their drawings, and made a story with 4 drawings.

  The purpose of this work was to let children find the problems concerning water hygiene in their lives. But drawings and stories, written by the children, were full of fresh new ideas, not influenced by the hygiene problems.

  For example, some students drew frogs as main characters in the daily life, and others drew scenes like " catching bees" and " cutting trees ". These are scenes that children feel the most familiar in their daily lives.

  When asked "What do you think is the problem in your everyday life?", a student answered "dance". His reason was that he thought "dance" was closely related to drinking alcohol.

  Though this kind of answers seem at the first place irrelevant to the concerned question, it shows that children think about problems in their daily life very seriously. It was actually a great relief that there were less model answers of hygiene education.

August 20, 2009 in South Sudan |

For the future of returnees

  Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from Swat received relief items from many humanitarian organizations while they were spending life in camps or with host families.

  After the clearance of some areas in Swat, IDP has been started to return to their hometown. During this period, JEN's staff interviewed some people from Swat who were about to go back to their origin. One of them told us that

“Many organizations supported us when we were facing terrible situation and were in need of help. We are very satisfied by the packages because these items have almost fulfilled our needs. Now we are going back with hope to our new life. However, in our hometown, there are some destroyed places such as houses, schools, hospitals, water system caused by the conflict.

Our children may not have enough places for studying. Some tents are provided by army on temporary base in the schools.

Winter season in Swat starts early as it is mountainous area. Children get traumatized during conflict which badly impacts their studies. Now we are looking for children studying in schools with fully recharged."

August 20, 2009 in Pakistan |

08/18/2009

Only 10 minutes.

  In the IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) camp, I saw many sad stories, but I am going to focus on one of them. 

  I met one pregnant woman there. She was walking on the road in side of the camp. When I started to talk with her, she was crying. She said that by this war so many people were injured by shelling and bombing also there was no medical facilities. Even though there is not such a problem in this IDP camp, I am desperate to go back home seeing my parents. Since they give Special Food and mental support, it will be very helpful to me and my child. They are waiting for me in front of the camp with their tears. When they come to see me, police allow them to talk with me only for 10 minutes, which is not enough to share our feelings. Any how, I want to live with my parents at our home. I am waiting for the day with lot of wishes and expects.

(Sureshkumar, Field Officer, Vavuniya Office)

August 18, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

08/13/2009

Hospitality of Pashtun People

The old Pashtuns were very famous for their hospitality.

This was an important element of their culture. Many books and articles are available on Pashtuns culture and habits which clearly mention their love and care with the guests.

Some critics says that from last few years their habit of hospitality has been changed because the world is changing and people don’t take much care of their traditions and cultures, but last 4 months has proved those critics wrong when the world saw the greatest example of hospitality in NWFP.

Host families opened their doors for the IDPs guests of Buner and Swat. They shared their food, accommodation, toilets, and beds, cooking pans and many other things with the guests who couldn't bring anything with them because of sudden emergency in their areas.

During the interviews and meetings with the IDPs many of them said that they are feeling the host families as their personal families. JEN staff saw a host family who gave their only Electric Pedestal fan to an IDP family which have 5 children and they were suffering with the hot weather. During the IDPs stay in the various cities of NWFP, we saw the tremendous spirit of hospitality. 

After JEN provided beds, fans, gas cylinders, kitchen and hygiene sets to the IDP families, many of those families returned the items to the host families with a lot of thanks.

August 13, 2009 in Pakistan |

Bon Dance Festival, is coming back, after 30 Years

090820_img_4135_low    In Iketani, people in the village are now in the middle of preparation for Bon Dance festival after 30 years .

  Thanks to the village revitalization program which started when the village was restored from Niigata Chuetsu-Oki Earthquake in 2004, many people are starting to visit this depopulated village.  The villagers started challenging depopulation now.

  It has been 5 years since the earthquake occurred, this year, people who used to live in Iketani will visit there again and sing and contest a traditional, regional song with the current villagers. The villagers, the volunteers and visitors at the Bon Dance festival will dance together with the singing voices and Japanese Drums. These drums were protected by grove of the village shrine and survived the earth quake. During the festival, local cuisine cooked by women in the village will be served as well.

 Please support “The next challenge of Iketani and Iriyama” with your power.
We look forward to seeing you at Iketani!

<Bon Dance Festival Schedule>
Place: the Square in front of the Iketani village Meeting House “Blooming Ikedan”(Minoru Ikedan)
Time: Start at 20:30 and end at around 23:00 (estimated)

The photo gallery for the festival is now open

Click here

August 13, 2009 in Niigata |

Maintain good partnership

090604_no1h_71_low   JEN’s Afghanistan program, school rehabilitation program that started from April is proceeded smoothly. Recruiting constructors for the next coming project runs parallel as well.

  JEN has its activity in Afghanistan since 2001, but, still up to the year 2009, selecting constructors is one of the most important, tedious and the most difficult.

  That is because, since autumn 2007, major operation has been shifted to manage remotely from neigbouring country, Islamabad, Pakistan, thus, it requires a lot of effort to comply the extra works. It is an extremely tough task to maintain the good relationship with the suppliers in such circumstances in Afghanistan.

  In Afghanistan, it is not rare to receive employment applications from connection and legacy, and it difficult to find constructors that match our criteria. This time, from a multiple UN related offices in Kabul, we were introduced a number of local constructors. We are negotiating to develop partnership with them at the moment.

  In such remote management, we cannot come up with new change, unless we improve the the way to work. JEN would like to consistently dedicate our effort to develop the network with the local constructors, the government and  the international organizations from Islamabad.

August 13, 2009 in Afghanistan |

Force of Partnership

  JEN has supported 17 Elementary and Junior High Schools in Baghdad to renovate water and hygiene equipments supporters and Japanese Government. Now 10 out of 17 schools have been completed since February 2009. Another 7 schools have entered the final stage.

  Most of the building constructors which join JEN’s school renovation projects have been in partnership with JEN since they started the projects in Iraq in 2003. JEN registered building constructors made requirements for security, in observance of the guidelines by the Iraqi Ministry of Construction and Housing, referring to the quality of work, access to the sites and price. JEN called for bids for the projects so their skill to renovate the schools was proven and JEN knows their ability of office work through actual bids and contracts.

  When I came here as a finance officer, invoices and receipts issued by the building constructors included many typo errors. So sometimes it took two months to make them issue the correct documents. Over the last year, their ability of office work has developed gradually. Some companies changed the design of their documents and they responded to our requests quickly and correctly.

  I am very pleased if JEN’s projects contribute to development of the local building constructors’ written competence.

August 13, 2009 in Iraq |

08/10/2009

The cooperation and leader ship amongst the beneficiaries

The project of “Toilet Construction and Hygiene Education” is implementing by JEN at Sallithivu in Vaharai. The 50 beneficiaries are involving in the project. The project is moving with beneficiaries’ participation. They should do the dig work for latrine construction.

090813ptt_wab_article_photo  Who is the woman standing on the picture Tharmalingam Nirojini living along with a child. She is a widow nobody to support her. Also, she is one of beneficiary for the construction project. In the circumstances she has contacted JEN staff and expressed her situation. The JEN PTT staff have contacted the team which formed already by JEN staff before commence the construction work. (We have formed ten groups five member are involving in a group for support like those activities in the site). In order to they have come to her place and given support to the beneficiary.

We could look around the situation there. After that, she was happy and served (given water to the peoples) them who were working at the place.This was a great movement in the site and we could felt that “if motivate the village peoples, they can make solution for any problems.

The event store has written by V.Sujitharan, Field Coodinator support with PTT staff.

August 10, 2009 in Sri Lanka |