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The Red Zone

  JEN support to the affected people of devastating earthquake is ongoing in the villages of West Sumatera Island. Thousands of houses destroyed and people lives in temporary shelters, mosques, schools or with neighbors. Many shops, schools and office buildings destroyed completely because of the earthquake.

  JEN is operating all the activities from the Provincial Capital Padang city. Padang city is located very near to the Indian Ocean. Because of the recent earthquake, there is possibility of aftershocks. Those aftershocks can create Tsunami in the area. Therefore Government declared all the areas near to the beach as a red zone. Wealthy people who were living in the houses near to the beach are fleeing their houses and coming to the center of the city to stay. However, majority of the people are still staying there because they cannot afford to live in expensive central Padang city.

  That is the reason why, almost all the houses in the safe central Padang are occupied and a few are available for rent. The rent required by the owner is too high. Many International NGOs including JEN who are staying at Padang City are facing the problem to search the space for the office in good location.

  There are houses available but those are within red zone and far from the main city. JEN is facing the problem where to live, red zone, unsecured area, or to remain staying at hotel.

October 29, 2009 in Indonesia |

We are organizing “Snowbusters” this winter again!

Coming soon!

To apply, click here.

October 29, 2009 in Niigata |

For “Snowbusters”

091029_dscf6349 Winter is around the corner in the Iketani Village at this time of year, and the locals start reaping buckwheat and making dried persimmons.

Little amount of food is necessary in Iketani because most households in Iketani are comprised of husband and wife. Still, they grow slightly more vegetables than they need so that they can offer them to the volunteers to eat after“Snowbusters”, an annual winter program. “Snowbusters” became a vital event for both Iketani and JEN. The villagers tellJEN that “we are happy that volunteers eat the vegetables we grew.”091029_dscf6355

Volunteers stay in Iketani for approximately three days, but this short stay in fact encourages the villagers to do agricultural tasks. Generally, first snow of the year is in the middle of November. They are gradually preparing for the long coming winter.

October 29, 2009 in Niigata |

New Members at Juba Office

091029_p1010025 JEN has been centering its activity on the main projects, water sanitation project and education project.  In developing these projects, the role assumed by local staffs is indispensably important.  It is very difficult for a very few Japanese staffs to accomplish such big projects solely by themselves.

Recently, JEN received new members coming from various countries.  Elizabeth from Kenya, is now in charge of Water Sanitation project.  She has had a long-term experiences of working for NGOs, and has been a specialist in the field of hygiene education.  Another new comer is Philip from the United Kingdom, and is now in charge of Education project.  He also has rich experiences of working in various areas of the world.

JEN office members, reinforced by new reliable members. will continue to do our best to carry out our the projects fruitfully.

October 29, 2009 in South Sudan |



’Of course, there is no way we could afford it.’

This is what one villager has answered when JEN asked, ‘is our tool-kit useful?’ JEN was glad to see our tool-kits being used; but, at the same time, we realized that it is time to consider our next project.

In the village, families are clearing rubbles, building shelters and tents by supporting each other. They must finish building shelters before the rainy season arrives.

Three weeks have passed since the earthquake. Before, the villagers were desperate to acquire assistance goods, however, now, they are starting to consider their future; for example, their future life, place to live and their children’s education. Mrs. Asniar, age 50, was clearing rubble with her sons-in-law when we met her in the village. During our conversation, she suddenly burst out crying, saying ‘I used to think what can be worse than this when I lost my house by the earthquake. But now, since everybody cares about me so much, I am very happy. However, I can not sleep when I think of our life from now on.’

Now villagers must consider seriously about their life after the earthquake. JEN is also at the final stage of the planning of the next project.

JEN’s staffs are busy not just with the on-going aid distribution, but with also other issues such as needs assessment in the village and coordination with the Indonesian government.

JEN would like to ask you for your continuous support.

October 26, 2009 in Indonesia |


Urgent Report from Indonesia

It is a long time since I handed in my last report, I am sorry for this belated report, Constant rip to the fields disabled me to access the internet.  In the meantime, assessment and distribution have continued.  JEN will, in a few days, have finished distribution of tool kits and UNICEF sanitary kits to total 1600 families, living in 10 villages in Pariaman area. At the same time, the next project plan has been under consideration. Let me share with you the plan in this blog once it is finalized.

I would like to discuss some stories related to school.  Every time I visited villages for assessment and distribution, I found some schools, which were, in many cases, completely destroyed. School children, however, continued studying by bringing their desks and chairs into the broken school buildings, or setting them on street sides near their school. Some schools had built simple tents in the school yards.

At one of those schools, SDN INT'L 07 GUGUS III, Ms Marcia, the School Principle, came up to us and asked us to pay attention to her school situation.

There are totally 130 students from age 6 to 12. The earthquake, however, made it impossible for many students to go to school, and those students who did come to school could not concentrate on work and went back home without finishing lessons. The children often suddenly remember lost family members and the terrible earthquake, and often break down and cry.  Under such circumstances, school hours, which were from 7 to 13, was changed to 7 to 10. Many of teaching materials such as textbooks and notes, chalks, whiteboard, even clothes are destroyed and gone. People living in this area have lived their lives by selling rice, and their lives became much harder after the earthquake, they lost their houses and they cannot afford to prepare school materials again for their children. Ms. Marcia could barely purchase desks and chairs by spending her own money.  This is all she can do now for her school.

Ms. Marcia asked us to support her school so that all of her students could come back to school. She hopes to prepare such circumstances where children can forget the awful experiences of earthquake, but now, she does not know what to do. The earthquake hurt students as well as school teachers physically and mentally, and they lost the conditions to keep studying. Both students and teachers need effective programs and tools with which they can restart and enjoy learning. She also thinks it is necessary for her and school teachers to exchange information with school staffs who have experienced earthquakes. She wants to learn something effective for her school reconstruction from us Japanese people.

3 weeks have passed since the earthquake, and many support activities are in the final stage and public report by mass-media is already decreasing. Several supporting organization like JEN, however, have prepared them for the next step, considering that assistance to restore peoples' daily lives has just begun.  I would like to ask every person who read this urgent report to give warm support to the earthquake victims.

October 22, 2009 in Indonesia |

“Global Hand washing Day”

221009_ 15th October is UN’s “Global Hand washing Day”, designed to teach the importance of washing hands for prevention of infections. The day was celebrated all over the world.

Every year, 1.5 million children of five years-old or younger lose their lives from diarrhea. It is said that washing hands with soap can reduce the occurrence of diarrhea by 60% (UNICEF, 2009). This day is therefore a very important one to save children’s lives.

JEN held workshop events at 17 junior high and high schools in Baghdad that JEN had renovated to teach children the importance of washing hands. The events were held for one week around Global Hand washing Day. JEN organized ceremonies of washing hands at renovated water supply facilities. JEN also held photo contests on hygiene. UN agencies gave cute posters and T-shirts.

221009__2 JEN will continue to focus on Hygiene education so that Iraqi children learn the habit of hand washing and live without fear of cholera.

October 22, 2009 in Iraq |

Surprise at Gwe Chaung Gyi

091022_img_0428s There was a pleasant surprise at the Gwe Chaung Gyi town where we were preparing the shelter-type school construction.

Last week, an engineer staff at JEN visited the planned construction site and complained to the local people, saying that the construction company might include additional cost for road construction in the bill since there is no road on which they could haul construction materials. Then a week later I visited the town, and somehow we now have a road!

While it’s not yet complete, it seems like the local people built it by themselves. It was a very happy moment for all of us who have been working hard to empower these local people to become more self-reliant and independent.

091022_img_0438s We are now almost done obtaining a clearance from the Myanmar Ministry of Education to have our school officially registered. It was a day when we all were starting to get excited at the near prospect of having the town people visit the shelter-type school.

October 22, 2009 in Myanmar |

DREAM BAG comes true, once again!

091022__51_astiqlal_sejedara_g2_04 Currently, JEN Afghanistan is delivering  “Dream Bag” to approximately over 3,000 children during one month from September 27th. This is our fifth year of this particular project in Afghanistan. Before then, it was distributed to the children in former Yugoslavia.

Every year  our supporters send us all the way from Japan, it contains stationery and toys in handmade bags filled with love and blessing of children from Japan. Since the distribution is not informed to the schools in advance, the staff of the JEN appeares suddenly (!) to make children surprises, just like Santa Clause !! and share the happy time with the children with full of laughter!

Thank you all of you for sending many dreams for the children in Afghanistan.

October 22, 2009 in Afghanistan |

[Northern Province] Living in Refugee Camp

091015_name_board_for_commhall We met a woman of 57 years old when visiting a refugee camp for monitoring the progress of water supply activities. She was a mother of seven children, and told us about how their lives had been before evacuation and how is now in the camp.

“It was 19th April 2009 when I evacuated from LTTE, anti-governmental armed forces, to the government control area.

Our life before entering the government control area was extremely tough. We had to leave our own village because of the war, and moreoverthere was very few assistance even where we evacuated as it was surrounded by the war zone. We were also very worried about land mines. We had to go through the war zone in order to reach the government control area.

After we moved to the government control area, we were then put in in this refugee camp of Vavunia District. Here, we have various assistance such as food, drinking water, and clothing.

Despite the availability of assistane, this place is like a bird cage. We are surrounded by barbed wires, constantly under harsh surveillance , and there is no freedom to go out of the camp. We cannot meet our relatives from outside.

We have peace without land mines, but we have no freedom.”

(Field Officer in Vavunia)

October 22, 2009 in Sri Lanka |


[BREAKING NEWS] Indonesia: Aid Distribution

131009_img_0100_low This emergency assistance is realized through partnership with UNICEF, the Japanese Government and Japan Platform. Considerable amount of issues are efficiently progressing under the management of the project leader Azmat and his local staff.

Yesterday, October 14th, became the unforgettable turning-point of this project. JEN was able to start distributing both tool and sanitary kits. The distribution site was Pariaman district located some 100 km north of central Padang. Pariaman was severely damaged compared to Padang; despite the nearly entire destruction of houses in this district there are only a few aids reaching the area. Although more than 10 days have passed since the earthquake, JEN was the second organization to bring aid supply to the district.

In addition, Japan’s Foreign Minister Mr. Okada visited the site where JEN is providing assistance. The visit of the Minister and the start of the aid distribution have coincidentally happened on the same day.

JEN’s support goods are toolkits (shovel, hammer, saw, pincers, scissors, trailer etc.) and sanitary kits provided by UNICEF (soap, dust cloth, bucket, toothbrush, toothpaste, towel etc.).

In addition, JEN has visited families from the villages of Koram Janyan and Tarau in the same Pariaman district. The distribution of support goods to these villages will start from tomorrow. In this project, JEN is planning to distribute support goods to total of 10 villages.

(From Padang, Yuka Hamatsu)

October 15, 2009 in Indonesia |

Five days before leaving office

091015_20090115_mofa2_mambulle_comm   Sudan's bitter, 22-year long civil war ended in 2005. Many people returned home from both domestic and overseas areas, and have started restoring and rebuilding their old lives.

  JEN has developed the support activity in Lainya, where intensive battles between the Governmental force and SPLA(Sudan People Liberation Army)were fought. The SPLA  also had its strategic base here, and most of the streets and town areas were turned to battlefields. Many had to evacuate the town, so as not to be involved in the war.

  Since 2007, JEN has supported returnees to restore thier lives.  The number of people in Lainya district has increased over these two years, and many newly opended shops can be seen all over the town. An improved distribution system has brought about increase in commodities in the market.

  In addition, conditions on the streets has gradually improved, as well as hinterlands have being cultivated for agricultural use.  Many tucles (houses made out of local materials) have been built on areas where there were no houses.

  I have had a very satisfying but challenging experience, working with local staff and people through sharing the thoughts and working with them for these two years since I  took charge of the progmamme.  Now I have only five days left before leaving the office, and it feels very odd when I think about my time here, and that I will never again see any of the places, roads and faces that I have come to know so well.
(By Ayako Wakano, Juba Office Programme Office)

October 15, 2009 in South Sudan |

The Fourth Session of the Village Revitalization Volunteering

091015_dscf6253 From October 9th to 12th, the fourth session of the Village Revitalization Volunteering was held. This was our first time to hold a volunteering session without a JEN coordinator, but even so, things went very well thanks to the experienced members of the Tokamachi Regional Development Planning Committee.
The participants of this session were very few, in fact only two, but this was their fourth visit to Iketani. They fully took advantage their past experiences.

First, they helped villagers “rub rice in the husk.” This means peeling of husk of rice, which is then dried using a dryer,. The dried rice is then packed  30kg each.

Following the local fathers’ and mothers’ instructions, both of them worked quickly and efficiently. Even though farmers in Iketani are professional rice growers, carrying 30kg-rice is hard for the elderly. the two participants were  great helping hands Feeling the weight of rice, they seemed to realize that their assistance was vital to rice growing.091015_dscf6271

Villagers were very happy; “the participants helped us a lot,” and on the other hand the two supporters were also pleased to hear that “we could support the locals.” JEN thinks that this volunteering session was another great success.

October 15, 2009 in Niigata |

Reaction of a House Holder

091015_kumar_and_his_family_2009100   The hygiene education and toilet construction is changing the health activities in the people’s life at Sallitivu. A house holder named Markandu Sivakumar has shared his happiness with us that how to support the toilet for the family.

  We are four members in our family; father, wife, child and myself. We have faced some difficulties that had to go forest to defecate. The forest is very far from our place. Also, we can’t go in nights in case of emergency. In addition, we had difficulty to take our child for defecate to the middle of nowhere. So, in this reasons, we had to use our living land to defecate.

  Now, we have a toilet JEN has provided. Everything became easy and very helpfull to us. We can use the toilet anytime when we want and we don't have any difficulty for defecate anymore. We can always keep our environment clean and we are often cleaning the toilets, too. We will maintain the health as well.

  We thank to JEN for giving the greater opportunity for us and we are very happy.

My observation is that they are with happiness and satisfaction.

V.Sujitharan, Field Coordinator - Valaichnai Office. 

October 15, 2009 in Sri Lanka |


<> Indonesia: JEN will Start Aid Distribution from Today

141009_img_0128_low According to interviews by the afflected people, enough food and water are provided by the Indonesian government and various international organizations. The real issues are accommodation (since their houses are damaged and many have no place to sleep but outdoors) and their livelihood.

From today, JEN will provide the tool for clearing rubbles and then start distributing shelter-kits and sanitary goods in line with other NGOs and international organizations.

All this is done by  taking into account local conditions and local people’s needs confirmed through interviews. However, this is just an emergency measure, so at the same time, JEN is also conducting  assessment for the next project. JEN not only envisages the needs of goods but sanitary conditions as well as locals that could be suffering from earthquake trauma, and shares relevant information such as assistance situations with other institutions. 

When JEN had a meeting with one French NGO yesterday, their staff were very delighted to hear that JEN will start distributing shelter-kits. They are planning to implement a training program to build  houses. However, rents around this area have soared at about 80% after the earthquake.

Since local people cannot afford to rebuild their houses and buy equipments to remove rubbles, this French staff expressed so much delight, even with body gestures, “It will be so much help for us! This partnership is a miracle! Perfect!!”

In this way, the effectiveness and the speed of our assistance will improve by enhancing the tight coordination amongst international aid agencies and/or UN institutions from all over the world.

(From Padan, Yuka Hamatsu)

October 14, 2009 in Indonesia |



131009_img_0140_low JEN kicked off the negotiations with local partners to procure tools for clearing rubble on the 11th. Meanwhile, JEN gathered and exchanged information with related parties and held recruiting interviews with potential local staff at the Governor’s House, the local hub for many assistance agencies.

As of yesterday, JEN has been operating and conducting assessment in the village of Balai Pasar Kudu in Pariaman District, which is about two hours drive from Padang. Fernando, who has joined JENsince two days ago, has been working with to continue our activities.

Continuting from before,  JEN will conduct needs assessment . We aim to finish the assessment as soon as possible in order to be able to start distributing tomorrow.

(From Padan, Yuka Hamatsu)

October 13, 2009 in Indonesia |

<> Indonesia: A Report from on the Drive to the Afflicted Area

131009__img_0180_low My name is Hamatsu and I have reached the site on 11th.

I am on my way on a car from Padan to the remote area; field-site. Padan, where JEN’s activities base, was damaged relatively little. However, the farther you are away from this city, the more severe is the damage. Most of the houses are half destroyed or fully otherwise in the district which JEN is conducting a survey from the day before yesterday.

Villagers are living in the damaged houses. Considering a risk of second disaster, this situation is seriously dangerous. There are even some who are sleeping outdoors. While some villagers are making an effort to rebuild gigantic houses by themselves, we have come across several who are being at a loss due to lack of money and several elders who reject to go outdoors due to fear from the earthquakes.

JEN hopes that we can manage to organize an arrangement to distribute emergency aid supply, as soon as possible.

(From Padan, Yuka Hamatsu )

October 13, 2009 in Indonesia |


Latest News from Padang - Cordination Meeting

20091009coordinationcenterpadang_4   After one week of the earthquake, UN  coordination is finally organized by cluster (sub groups). Each organization working for the distribution are  giving information on the capacity and time of delivery.

  The more important is that coordination is the time of delivery and the selection of area for helping the people.  it is still confusing on who is or will do what and where exactly specially for the distribution of non food item and medicines etc.

  Step by step at daily level even hours we collect new information and developing our strategy for helping the affected people. Today it is still difficult to mention how many people are affected. We will have more clear picture within a few days.

20091009coordinationcenterpadang_3   According to United Nations and the majority of the NGOs including JEN , the shelter is one of the main need for the people. We are lucky because the weather is nice and we don't have heavy rain. The people with destroy house can more or less survive under this condition but every one is afraid of the big rain.  The objective is to distribute the most rapidly as possible for helping the people. We can not wait so long for and all international actors is this governor house are aware of it.( photo: Chisa and Cyril at the temp space for the time being)


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October 9, 2009 in Indonesia |

Latest News From Padang - Big Open Air Room

20091009coordinationcenterpadang   Like in huge disaster, coordination is one of the main factor of success. In Padang, United Nations are leading the coordination at the Governor House.  It is amazing to see so many international Humanitarian  organization, UN agencies, rescue teams from many countries like Japan, France, Germany, USA, and England.  Also, Journalists who comes to this place for collecting all types of information and using internet access.

  Everyone is running everywhere and we can hear so many different languages. On my left, two Italians are talking so loudly, 4 English men's  from one NGO are trying to print one document, 3 military from unknown uniform are looking some maps and UN staff make some announcements for the health meeting. In this huge open air  room , thousand of cable are crossing all over, big TV cover the latest news regarding the earthquake, and  we, JEN staff came here to use internet access to send our first report and coordinate with other UN and In go our future plan. 20091009coordinationcenterpadang_2


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October 9, 2009 in Indonesia |


A Full Moon in Myanmar

091008_imgp0718s On the 3rd October, the Japanese enjoy the ‘harvest moon’, but in Myanmar, they call this annual event Dadenjyo-Rabi (Full moon in October) — a Buddhist festival to celebrate the beautiful October full moon.

This picture shows preople visiting Shedagon Pagoda (Buddhist stupa in Myanmar-syte) on the night of Dadenjyo-Rabi. The event saw an unusually high turn out to visit the pagoda.

The third of October is also the day to show appreciation to elders and people to whom he or she is indebted. Children visit their grandfathers and grandmothers and express their love and appreciation,and offer them gifts. Children become very excited because they can expect presents from them in return.

091008_imgp0728s Everybody at the event was very cheerful, and there was a definite atmosphere of happiness and tranquility.. Several disasters have occurred in various locations in Asia within the last two weeks, and JEN is doing all it can to return those who have been displaced, back to their homes.

October 8, 2009 in Myanmar |

A new beginning at Islamabad

090716_resized   My name is Junpei Ushikubo, assigned for the Islamabad office from the 5th of October.

  My assignment is assess the areas of administration / accounting for the program in Afghanistan and Pakistan. For the meantime, my goal is to establish a friendly rapport with the colleagues, partners and people here. This is especially important in Afghanistan, as it is a more remote system since the 2007, and as such, the opportunity to talk to face to face is limited.

  Compared to Tokyo, Islamabad is still hot in the noontime, but in the nighttime it feels cool. Maybe for that reason, Athan (a sign for to worship) becomes an awakes me up before my alarm sounds, on the first morning, a pleasant way to be woken. These simple pleasures comfort me, and remind me why it is such a nice place to live.

  I would also just like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to the supporters, for your consistent support which is so sorely needed for pogress to continue.

October 8, 2009 in Afghanistan |

Latest News from Padang - a story of victim

Img_5744_low  When we arrived here yesterday night, the situation was relatively calm. It was very surprising that we could not detect any traditional sign of after having a big natural disaster.

  This morning, we have seen the reality, the damage by the earthquake.  The earthquake had hit very brutally to some houses in Padang.  It is difficult to realize how serious it was, some houses are not damaged at all and others are completely destroyed.   They don’t have enough rescue people to save life for who is still blocked in gravel and demolish houses.

  We met one family at the hotel where we stayed.  The father of the family told us that he lost all his belongings, house and vehicle.  Luckily, all member of his family are safe and he is very happy even if he lost everything.

  “To be close to the death make you realize how material things are small” he said.  He realized many things after this disaster.  Though he is sad, he is still happy to be alive and to see his children.  He is enthusiastic about restarting something even he is old.  He also said that his neighbor had lost his wife and son and he didn’t know how he can cope with and how to recover from this tragedy. 

By Cyril Cappai (12:00 Padang Time)


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October 8, 2009 in Indonesia |

The Culture of Bowing in Japan and in Jordan

091008 It seems that when the Japanese bow endlessly in front of their houses, it feels strange to people living in Arab countries. That is because for Muslims,  bowing  is only done for Allah to show on’s devotion.

Muslims practice their religion by bowing and praying   toward the Kaaba temple at Mecca in Saudi Arabia five times a day. They go to Mosque on Friday, which is their religious holiday of Islam and pray, even  if they pray regularly in their house . Here in Jordan, weekend consists of two days, from Friday to Saturday including the Muslim holiday.

The timing to pray are 1) dawn, 2) sometime between dawn and  noon, 3) sometime until when the size of their shadow reaches the size of the actual body , 4) sometime between sunset until dusk, 5) dusk.

The praying method is very precise. First of all, they wash their hands and face in prearranged order. Sunnis are required to wash  feet as well. Then they stand upright facing toward the Mecca. Then they  repeatedly say “Allah is great” while moving your open palms to your ears, bowing, kneeling down to the ground and bowing forward until the forehead touches the ground, in veneration. Finally, kneeling and facing down, they pray for blessing of Allah to Muslim and the Prophet. In the end, they will recite their final words, “peace be upon him” while swinging your head from side to side.

Bowing is in fact a very important part of their religious practice  Of course, they also have culture to respect older persons like Japan. However, people do not bow in front of the elderly to show respect It is one of the many moments to feel the  cultural differences.

October 8, 2009 in Iraq |

[Eastern Province] Handing Over of Community Center

JEN has been constructing a community center in Kiran DS Division in Batticaloa District using the Chabo! Donations. JEN has recently handed over the community center to the community

Thanks to JEN’s project, local organizations were becoming more and more active in this community. However, they were facing various challenges with lack of  space  they needed for their activities. They  had to conduct community  activities outside under trees as there was no public facility available in neighborhood. The harsh weather such as unendurable heat, strong wind and heavy rain, and sometimes even poisonous snakes  would fall from the tree braches above, it was evident that did not allow them to conduct community activities safely.

“We are very happy because we have long wanted to have a public facility like this. This center will let us hold more meetings and invite mobile clinics,” said the representative of the community organization.

JEN is looking forward to conducting monitoring activities to see further progress in sustainable development of this community. "

October 8, 2009 in Sri Lanka |

Latest News From Padang - upon arrival

Img_5751_low  In Padang city, the water system had been completely collapsed. Rescue teams from France, Germany, New Zeeland are establishing water distribution which covers big part of the need. Unfortunately, they will leave soon and water will remain tremendously big issue in Padang.

  Most part of the Padang and affected surrounding area had lost their power supply. Generator is the only way to get electricity.  Apparently, the electrical system has also been collapsed. Though, we haven’t had precise information yet. 

  Overall, it is estimated that more than one million and half people are affected by the earthquake. The countryside, where is difficult to access, is one of the main priority.

  Tomorrow, we will move to the small villages of the countryside, where are still not accessible.


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October 8, 2009 in Indonesia |


[BREAKING NEWS] JEN has arrived in Padang

JEN Staff have safely arrived in Padang, Sumatra.

   Cyril Cappai (Derector, Overseas Dept)

   Chisa Watanabe (Program Officer, Overseas Dept)


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October 7, 2009 in Indonesia |


A Night in Africa

091001_p1070985_5 JEN has been providing school children with hygiene education by visiting some schools in Morobo, located in the border region of, Southern Sudan.

Morobo is full of nature, and people in this region have lived simple and peaceful lives for many years. They use sanitary facilities comprising of various grasses and reeds, as well as drinking the river water.  Locals claim it is safe to do so and does not taste too bad! If outsiders were to drink it everyday however, they might suffer from a stomachache problems!

Here, time seems to pass as gently and slowly as the Stream of Nile River.  It contrasts strikingly with energy and movement shown of the Sudanese people!

At night, the sky is so clear that it is lit up by the stars. You can see The Milky Way as if it were a cloud floating in the sky.  In the middle of the night during summer, summer star, the Scorpion clear, and at dawn, the winter star, the Orion and the Cassiopeia are very visible.

091001_p1080090_2 The beauty of nature is not something to be taken for granted、 , and JEN feels that it is an important part of its mission to educate those it has access to about the virtues of respecting and protecting nature.

October 1, 2009 in South Sudan |

Agricultural Trainee, Akita Momiyama 3

090931_r0018872_low This is the final episode of the story of Akita Momiyama, (Mo) which started at the beginning of the month.

You have enjoyed you time at Iketani so much that you extended your training period. Could you tell us how you feel about Iketani?

Mo: I respect the way farm families as well as other rural people work hard. Still, it is difficult for them to sustain their lives, or do they have successors. I consider the current condition of agriculture an important social issue which needs tackling especially in light of the importance of agriculture to society. If our dedication to reforming Iketani is successful, it would bode well for the prospects of other project villages in the future.

Social change, deteriorated agricultural management, the spread of agricultural machines, and other factors have caused people to leave farming villages as their labor has become obsolete. JEN’s volunteer and agricultural programs in Iketani are full of potential, and many people have participated in them every weekend.

Thank you so much! JEN hopes that we will keep a good relationship between us.

October 1, 2009 in Niigata |

The Third Session of “LET’S GO TO TAMBO!!”, 2009

091001_img_4031_low -- Achievements of the Next Generation --

  From the last September 25th to 28th, JEN implemented the last session of “LET’S GO TO TAMBO!!” which was to harvest rice.

  All 17 participants harvested rice and dried rice ear on the tree out in the sun, in the half-acre paddy field .. it's called "Hazakake" process .

  The age range of the supporters varied from a 4-year-old child to a forty-something jet setters. As Iketani has a relatively small elderly population (only 6 old-aged households) it is now not unusual to see elementary students and/or babies in the community. As usual, each child assisted in harvesting rice as much as they could.

  Unfortunately, we were unable to accept children as volunteers in the past, since it was usually to physically demanding. However, it became usual for volunteers to take part in “LET’S GO TO TAMBO!!” with their families including parents and children. This led management volunteers ask themselves  what agricultural tasks  children could do to enable them to get involved in the effort. Meals were made more appetizing for children, as well as being more careful not to place mowing equipments and blades within their reach. (The picture on the left shows the youngest caterer, 4 years old.)

  Additionally, JEN appointed one of the management volunteers a “person in charge of children” in order for their parents to concentrate on activities. Children occupied themselves by running around in paddy fields and collecting insects from the mountainside. The job of the volunteer is a busy and stressful one, as he or she always attends on children, and all their problems!

  Upon arrival, the children seemed a little uneasy in the unfamiliar environment, with its rural scenery,  insects and country life. However, easing their anxiety is one of the most important roles for the minder.

091001_img_5883   Children are not perfect hands for farming, but still villagers looked happy to see and hear children laughing and running around in the field, teaching them all the secrets in the mountainside. (The picture on the right shows the youngest, 4-year-old child, in charge of drying rice ear on Hazaki in the sun.)

Two families took part in this session of “LET’S GO TO TAMBO!!”for their second year running.
“My child said that I wanted to join this program at any cost. Participating in “LET’S GO TO TAMBO!!” is the top priority among the plans for the summer. (The picture on the left shows the youngest leader of an insect-collecting group, the second grade at an elementary school.)

October 1, 2009 in Niigata |

[BREAKING NEWS] Devastating Earthquake Hit in Sumarta, Indonesia

On 30 Sep, Huge earthquake had hit in Sumarta, Indonesia.

JEN has immediately decided to dispatch 3 staff members for the emergency aid.


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October 1, 2009 in Indonesia |

When children will grow up

  While I was walking inside the Camp, I happened to notice two girls tried to play one ball. However, they were unable to play. I believe that they are age around 7-9 years old. Both are handicapped. One of them  lost her one leg and the other lost fingers of her right hand.

  When I reached near them, they stopped playing and looked at me. I'm noticed face of the people around me. Some IDP’s were taking water from bowser and collected fire wood from road site. Others were walking around that area. I wonder if they feel happy or sad. I could not figure out by their behaviour. Then, I spoked to these girls, Thenuja and Priya.

  Thenuja lost her one leg. She is extremely quite and shy. What had happened was that she lost her leg end of last year. However, she did not like to remember the incidents. She hates war, so as  her injured arms. She remembers her hometown and sweet home, which she has lost now. She talks about her pets, too. And she has nither memories nor intention to remember the life after that.  She had lost not only her one leg, but also happy future ahead.

  Priya, who had lost her right fingers is younger than Thenuja. She lost them at the begining of this year. She believes that her fingers will grow again. She does not understand her problem, and she didn’t feel like to spend a time with me. So, she starts playing by herself again.   

  We meet many people like them in the camp. We would like them to overcome the sad memories they had encountered the past.

October 1, 2009 in Sri Lanka |