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2012.01.26

Days in Toutif

We would like to share the usage of water supply and washing facility which Jen has built in Toutif.

At 11 am. The sun is blazing on skin.
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At the washing facility, four or five women wash clothes of their families singing and chatting about for 2 hours.
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They used to do laundry under strong direct sunlight before, but the roof at the washing facility made it so much easier for them.
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A woman, wearing a yellow shirt and shining brightly under the blue sky, has to go to draw water with 15 minutes’ walk, at least three times every day.
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It takes about three minutes to fill a bucket, and one bucket is about 20 kilograms approximately.
She handles it very well as if it were common sense; however, the work is very tough.

Before the water supply facility was built by JEN, the nearest water source was a river which 700 meters away, and it took more than 30 minutes by walk.

An accumulation of small improvements is gradually changing people's lifestyle.

January 26, 2012 in Haiti |

Eastern province: Field visit with the officials from the Japanese Embassy

 Early this month, the officials from the Japanese Embassy visited Batticaloa district in the Eastern region to inspect the sites of the previous projects (completed at the end of 2011) and also to study the new project sites.

 In Sinnawattai, the officials interviewed the villagers about their lives since their repatriation and about agriculture, their major source of income.

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 The farmers here cannot expect much agricultural revenue during the dry season, between April and December, as they rely on rainfall for agriculture. They cannot even draw water from the river nearby, because the water gates are closed during this period to secure the water supply for the urban areas.

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It was a perfect opportunity to explain the need for agricultural wells.

 At Rajapuram village, the officials asked the villagers how the completed wells were being used and how the wells changed the lives of the villagers, and also inspected the wells and the agricultural fields.

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We learned that the villagers had started to grow new crops, different from what they had been growing so far.
They are putting into practice what they had learned in the workshop “Coordinating agricultural planning in the community to achieve effective production and marketing”.

   
 The new crop is being cultivated only in a limited area and quantity to start with in order to check various issues, such as the adaptability to the soil and climate of the region or whether the insects which feed on the new crop will influence other crops grown in the vicinity.


If major problems are not found, the cultivation will be increased in the next season.

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(In the photograph, the farmers are standing behind the Kurakkan beds. Kurakkan was described in the last activity report.)

January 26, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

Community Unifies for Well Maintenance

JEN establishes the management committee for borehole maintenance at each school when it comes to build wells so that the local residents can fix or maintain the wells by themselves.

Therefore we have found some issues for the past several years:
1.The committee is able to fix only small problems but when it comes to a big problem, there is no choice but to ask the local waterworks department.
2.It takes time for the waterworks department come to the site due to lack of staffers and budget.
3.The department does not have spare parts in stock and the parts are difficult to get in the area.

Therefore, JEN is trying to organize the experienced local repairmen who are getting to have better skills in Lainya County. We are also making a system so that the local residents and private repairmen cooperate to maintain the wells, not to depend on the government. Regarding spare parts, the repairmen association manages the stock so as not to be out of stock. At the same time, we encourage the government to support the communication between the highly public association and the residents.

The other day, we offered training for member repairmen to reconfirm their skills.

(They are reconfirming their skills.)
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Mr. John Rado said, “I reaffirmed through the foundation of the association that we repairmen are responsible for the borehole maintenance, not the government. Some communities are thinking about asking the borehole maintenance to us so now I am studying about the contract with my collegue.” He is an original member of the foundation as a repairman.

(Mr. John Rado on the left)
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JEN is promoting independence support for communities in order that they can maintain their wells for themselves by making a private association centered in the “housing-public-private” network, not depending only on the government.

January 26, 2012 in South Sudan |

2012.01.19

Self-introduction from Staff Member: Mian Hamad Asif

I am from Walai Village, a small village in Nowshera District in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. I have been working as a project assistant for JEN more than a year.

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I got a master's degree in International Relations at University of Peshawar in 2005. When I was a student, I designed and joined a lot of workshops and regional and international conferences.

After that, I took some expertise courses by private corporations including business development, communication and presentation, and negotiation. Then, I started to work in the development field.

For the first three years, I worked for Non-Governmental Organizations in and outside Pakistan. In Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, affected by the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, I was engaged in the following:
1. Reconstruction program for community
2. Business skill development training for the living
3. Project for improvement of living and business development

Working for such projects, I communicated with people with a variety of background and learned how to keep good relationships with community and be flexible among people with different languages, cultures and religions. I also learned to consider genders and manage time.

After the projects were completed, I went back to Pakistan in July, 2010, when a new disaster occurred. Historical floods hit Pakistan, which brought great damages nationwide.

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I was engaged in volunteer activities in my hometown for two months after the floods began. After that, in September, 2010, I joined JEN in order to expand my contribution.
My first project at JEN is market research at the stricken areas and support for suffers in Charsadda.

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What I like JEN about are as below.

1.The managers take and respect new ideas from field staff.
2.They not only strengthen capability of staff members but instruct us to achieve project goals.
3.They offers friendly environment so we can relax to learn. They encourage and support the staff in spite of their busy schedule.
4.They are always considering how to bring the best result with less resource.
5.Every staff member works with ownership both at Headquarters and at local offices.

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January 19, 2012 in Pakistan |

The ripple effect of the hygiene education program

As we introduced in this report previously, according to the education program performed last year among the 42 schools in the Salang District and the Sayed Khel district, it was quite for sure that the knowledge and hygiene habits among the children become stable who learned about it.
Additionally, after the survey, we were able to confirm that the children are having a healthy life than before.

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This is the hygiene education program class of the fiscal year of 2011. 
Then, do you think the family benefit from their children who received this education?
JEN surveyed each family and checked whether the message regarding hygiene has been delivered from the children who learned about hygiene, and therefore surveyed whether these educations are practiced among individual families.
This will be the introduction of this survey.

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At Salang District, Heshmatullah)who has a child going at Bagh-e-Lala Middle School.
“I personally and our family became aware of hygiene. Our family learned to keep the clean environment of the home. “ He told us.

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At Sayed Khel District, Abdul Khalil who has a child going at the Emam-e-Azam No-2 Middle School.
“Do you think washing your hands with soap is important?” asked the field officer of JEN.
“Yes, keeping your hands will keep your health.”
In their home, soap is being prepared and hand washing seems to be a habit already.

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In Salang district, there are a lot of mountains and even in the noon it is below freezing point. Reaching there was also tough.

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At Salang district, Allah Dad who has a child going to Haji Abdul Hakim Middle School.
He mentioned that “Among our family, especially the children wash their hands frequently. They even brush their teeth. This kind of hygiene education program is very efficient, not only for our family but for the community as well.”

We performed personal visits and surveyed 3 families from the 42 schools which ended to count 126 families where we were able to confirm the ripple effect of the hygiene education.

We asked “Who provided the information about hygiene?” and 96% of the response to the question was “The children.”  When we asked “What did you use to wash your hands?” The response to this question was 88% used soap.[
 
Additionally, when we question “During this 2 weeks, did you or your children had diarrhea?” No one had it was their response. Their mind towards diarrhea and to keep their environment clean has improved.

We wish that people can consistently practice the message received form the hygiene educational project and hope it can be spread to the other people in the community and hope that more people can have a safer life.

January 19, 2012 in Afghanistan |

It’s time to departure!

Mr. Bassim Yaqoub,who is one of the staff working at the office as a program officer
in Bagdad, is going to participate in the meeting held in Tokyo from next week.

He plans to go to Japan via Jordan. At the beginning of this week,
he had arrived here, Amman.

This is first time for him to visit Japan and take such a long journey
with transfer.
So he checked carefully how to spend his time at the airport and the
way of transfer.

And he visit the countries out of Middle East for the first time,
so we are looking forward to hearing his impression of Japan.

We work in Amman and we can rarely meet the staffs in Bagdad
because Bagdad is far from here. So we took commemorative pictures!

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January 19, 2012 in Iraq |

The 1st Karaoke Party at the Makeshift house complex

The 1st tea party and Karaoke was held at the meeting gathering room of a makeshift house complex in the Kahoku district on the Thursday, January 19th.

This was held at the request of residents there, and was the 1st Karaoke event JEN worked on to support communities. When JEN members visited the meeting gathering room to report this event, residents had already started singing merrily and freely to Karaoke music.

[ picture ] A lot of people gathered in the morning
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Residents rarely have chances to sing out loudly, living in makeshift houses for a long time.

“I haven’t sung for ages “
“Since I don’t usually sing out loud, I’m not in good voice.”
“That’s because walls are not thick enough.”

We saw some realities of resident in their shy faces. Some people even requested asked to sing duets with JEN staff members. We laughed and sang pleasantly merrily together.

Some residents
A song often sung at oyster processing factories reminded some residents of their those old days.
Some residents brought snacks or Japanese pickles with them, and we have felt this gathering place(room has now come to be supporting their daily lives.

[ picture ] Duets with JEN staff members !!
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A woman who had lost her grandchild sang an Enka song, “ My Grandchild (Mago)” in tears.
A woman sang a song which has a line, “ Flowers will bloom when snow melts away, hopping for brighter future.

This Karaoke was a special event with memories and hopes of so many people.

January 19, 2012 in Tohoku earthquake |

2012.01.12

Puthandu Vazthukal / Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa

Happy New Year!
I hope you all enjoyed your holidays.

 Here in Colombo, the New Year’ Eve was celebrated with the launching of aerial fireworks which started at about 22:00. Then at 22.57, people all over the city started to set off firecrackers and fireworks continuously to welcome the start of the New Year.

 Today’s report is about the festivities in Sri Lanka.

 What you see in the photograph is Halapa, one of the traditional Sinhalese sweets. Each family shares the joy of the New Year with the neighbors by sharing home-made Halapa. (Sri Lanka is a Buddhist nation and the traditional New Year is celebrated in April.)
 Halapa is also made for other celebrations, including birthdays.

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It is quite simple to make Halapa. Just mix Kurakkan flour (flour of “finger millet”, a type of gramineous crop), grated coconuts, sugar, and salt. Spread the mixture between Kanda leaves, steam for 15 minutes, and it’s ready to eat!

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But each family has its original recipe. Unfamiliar ingredients and salty flavor may taste very different to a Japanese person compared with what Japanese usually eat, but some Halapas are richly flavored with coconuts and may be quite appealing to Japanese, too.

 I wish the year 2012 will be a wonderful year for everyone.

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(The title is “Happy New Year” in Tamil (left) and Sinhalese (right))

January 12, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

Safe water - Power of knowledge

In Haiti, epidemic disease like cholera has spread due to lack of proper knowledge and habit of water sanitation.
Staffs from JEN who have been trained to chlorinate water properly held workshop for the residents. They can learn the proper knowlege of hygiene and how chroline plays its role in water sanitation.

Each community that JEN has been working with selected 3 people to get training to make liquid chroline.(2people from Water Control Comittee which controls the water-supplying facilities and 1 person from JEN's hygiene promotion project which promotes knowledge of hygiene.)

Here are the contents of the training;

1. The team leader from JEN explained why they need chroline for water sanitation.
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2. Staffs from JEN enthusiastically explained how to make liquid chroline followed by Q&A with the class.
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At the end of the workshop, each one of them tried to make the water chroline by themselves with masks and goggles which provided by JEN.
The staff from JEN supported them during the procedure.
Guess she was feeling like she was their mom.
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After the workshop, staffs from JEN made sure, over and over, that people from Water Control Comittee and the hygiene promotion project understood enough to educate their communities.
We expect this process will encourage them to transform their action as well as hygiene education in their communities.

January 12, 2012 in Haiti |

New Year in Yeitown

Yeitown is located at about three-or-four-hour drive to the south from Juba, the capital city of South Sudan. It is a hub of JEN staff members working in Morobo County and Lainya County, JEN’s project sites; Staff come to Yeitown to feed their cars with oil or stay overnight when necessary.

I asked Samuel, a staff member who spent the year-end and the New Year in Yeitown about New Year’s Day here. Let me share what I heard and experienced.

New Year’s Day is as important as Christmas. They usually go to church as they do on Christmas. So I went to a church at six o’clock on the morning of New Year’s Day. Hundreds of people came to the church despite it was cold in the early morning. It got warmer later.

Finally, around 400 people were at the church built in 1980s, and another hundreds were outside the church. We congratulated ourselves on being able to start a new year for the first time after the independence.

(Those who came to church)
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(They came to greet the New Year even during the church service.)
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Meals are also important on New Year’s Day. They prepare boiled or grilled meat --beef, pork or chicken -- and vegetable dish for the New Year. Women and girls usually join the church service in the late morning because of the meal preparation.

After the church service, they ate all day at their friends’ house or at home inviting their friends.

They have to spend less money in the rest of January and February because they spent so much on New Year’s Day.

The year 2011 saw a lot of events such as the referendum and the independence. The commodity price increased and conflicts have continued in some areas. On the other day, thousands of attacks occurred in the northern part of South Sudan, and tens of thousands of people were evacuated.

I hope the year 2012 will bring fruitful lives; Economy is stabilized and conflicts calm down which leads to stabilizing peace.

January 12, 2012 in South Sudan |

2012.01.09

HBS Students Visited Ishinomaki –First Day

Students from Harvard Business School (HBS) visited Ishinomaki, for two days, on January 7th and 8th. The aim of their visit was to observe current situation at Ishinomaki and interview with local people about JEN’s cloths distribution project supported by UNIQLO in April 2011.

At first, they were gathered at JEN Ishinomaki office.
They seriously listen to the explanations from JEN staff who had provided supports since the time when the Great East Japan Earthquake just occurred.

The students questioned about variety of points about distribution of cloths.

[Students from HBS at JEN Ishinomaki office]

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[The HBS students gazed at the information about the disaster time]
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Next, they went to Fukki-ura at Ojika peninsula. On the way of Fukki-ura, they dropped at Hiyori-yama park and it was their first time to see the whole scenery of Ishinomaki-city. We could feel they were at a loss for words.
 
When we arrived at Fukki-ura, local people kindly welcomed us. At first, the students and local people introduced each other sitting at round table. Despite the language difference, they gradually feel each other’s feeling and they smiled naturally.

[Smiled naturally each other for first meeting]

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Local people told that how had been when the earthquake had occurred and how glad they had been when they received the cloths etc. They had variety conversations through interpreters. We could know their happiness which was led by the choice of cloths from which they could chose what they like ,their size and favourite colour.
HBS students left Fukki-ura with strong hope of reconstruction in the future.
Their visit would continued to the next day.

[Photo with every one]

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January 9, 2012 in Tohoku earthquake |

HBS Students Visited Ishinomaki –Second Day

On Sunday, January 8th, it was the second day of Ishinomaki-visit by Students from Harvard Business School (HBS). On that day, they jointed in volunteers from Rissho-kosei-kai and individual volunteers and worked together, so that there were 45 volunteers in total.

The task on that day was removal of a plum tree and plastic green house in Watanoha area. That land enable to be used as a farm again, however, the owner would like it to re-born as raw-land and kindly requested JEN to do the volunteer task.

They have long waiting list of children to enter nurseries, although there are some nursery around. By making raw-land at that land, there are some possibilities to construct kindergartens and nurseries to meet the needs of local government and each organization in the furture.

[To knock down the frame work of plastic green house]

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The work was carried out with spades and pickax brought from JEN Volunteers’ rest house (Watanoha rest house) which is located near the land.

As for the cutting plum tree, firstly we broke the branches but the tree had not died down so that the task was very tough.

Next, for removing the root, although it was big job with digging hole for wide area, the volunteers helped each other and completed before noon.

JEN staff wish the re-born land would be used efficiently in the future.

[Struggling with removing plum tree’s roots]

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[Pile of the removed roots]

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In the afternoon, HBS students moved to Ayukawa which is located at the top of Ojika peninsula. The project site was near the temporary commercial avenue “Oshika-noren-gai” which was opened middle of last November.

The work was begun with weeding, then they removed and separated of the small rubbles and rubbish.
After aploximately 2-hour work, they made 2 big piles. The pile included big staff such as tires and fridge, and the boards with nails, so that they need much attention for their safety.

[Rubbish taken out one after another]

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There are few houses and Oshilka-noren-gai around the cleaned place. JEN believe that the cleaned place would be a step of bright future for the residents and people come to the commercial avenue. JEN will continue volunteer activity.

[The result of the volunteers’ work]

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January 9, 2012 in Tohoku earthquake |

2012.01.06

Rubbles removal volunteer report – Tanigawa primary School, Ishinomaki city (December 17, 2011)

Period : December 17 and 18, 2011
Total number of Volunteers : 4,463 people

On December 17 and 18, JEN, together with twelve Mitsui Corporation staff, for the first time entered the school building of Tanigawa primary school run by Ishinomaki city, which had been utterly destroyed by tsunami. JEN and Mitsui staff removed rubbles and carry out equipments.

Tanigawa primary school is located on Samenoura bay of Ojika peninsula.

On March 11, when pupils were rehearsing graduation ceremony, the Higashinihon earthquake disaster happened. Then, many people took refuge to this school, however, by the instruction of local people who felt danger seeing extraordinary move of tide, all people again took refuge to the mountain nearby. Thanks to this quick judge, no people was killed by tsunami in this area, which is a lucky case.

But plenty of sand flowed in the school building of Tanigawa primary school, it is extremely difficult to carry out rubbles and school equipments.

{Rubbles are scattered about inside of the school building}

The photos below shows that Tanigawa primary school was attacked by tsunami.
This is a clock on the entrance of school building, a part that was covered by tsunami is now brown color. The clock shows time tsunami attacked this school as if time stopped on March 11.

{Clock showed trace of tsunami}

A big trees is still on the landing of stairs to second floor of school building. We cannot foresee when we will be able to carry out school equipments from the second floor.

{A big tree on the landing of stairs}

Pupils of Tanigawa primary school are now studying in another school.  In the areas which faces sea, like Ojika peninsula, there are several zones where repair work is making little progress.

JEN continuously supports such difficult area. However, for the reconstruction of these areas, your corporation and long time is necessary.

JEN continuously accept supporters who are willing to corporate with us.
      

January 6, 2012 in Tohoku earthquake |

Rubbles removal volunteer report – Tanigawa primary School, Ishinomaki city

Period :December 17 and 18, 2011
Total number of Volunteers : 4,463 people

On December 17 and 18, JEN, together with twelve Mitsui Corporation staff, for the first time entered the school building of Tanigawa primary school run by Ishinomaki city, which had been utterly destroyed by tsunami. JEN and Mitsui staff removed rubbles and carry out equipments.

Tanigawa primary school is located on Samenoura bay of Ojika peninsula.

On March 11, when pupils were rehearsing graduation ceremony, the Higashinihon earthquake disaster happened. Then, many people took refuge to this school, however, by the instruction of local people who felt danger seeing extraordinary move of tide, all people again took refuge to the mountain nearby. Thanks to this quick judge, no people was killed by tsunami in this area, which is a lucky case.

But plenty of sand flowed in the school building of Tanigawa primary school, it is extremely difficult to carry out rubbles and school equipments.

{Rubbles are scattered about inside of the school building}
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The photos below shows that Tanigawa primary school was attacked by tsunami.
This is a clock on the entrance of school building, a part that was covered by tsunami is now brown color. The clock shows time tsunami attacked this school as if time stopped on March 11.

{Clock showed trace of tsunami}
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A big trees is still on the landing of stairs to second floor of school building. We cannot foresee when we will be able to carry out school equipments from the second floor.

{A big tree on the landing of stairs}

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Pupils of Tanigawa primary school are now studying in another school.  In the areas which faces sea, like Ojika peninsula, there are several zones where repair work is making little progress.

JEN continuously supports such difficult area. However, for the reconstruction of these areas, your corporation and long time is necessary.

JEN continuously accept supporters who are willing to corporate with us.
      

January 6, 2012 in Tohoku earthquake |

2012.01.05

Until the construction is complete

Until the construction is complete Last year we again safely completed all our planned construction projects. JEN has restored and constructed 14 schoool facilities last year in the Saran and Saidoheru district and the number of construction sites has risen to 45. (Picture: The external wall) 120105_4 (Picture: Toilet) 120105_5 (Picture: Hand-wash station) 120105_6 For security reasons, the international team that oversees activities in Afghanistan has been unable to reside in country. For this reason, the international staff have been administering the progress of construction and working entirely out of Islamabad in Pakistan.  The construction itself has been delegated to a local construction company, but the local Afghani JEN staff make daily trips to the construction site and report on the progress of construction to the Pakistan based international staff. In addition, the local staff share pictures taken at the site the Islamabad office so the international staff can visually monitor the status of the site. Pictures are taken from the same angle so we can get precise information about the progress of the construction. For example, this is what the construction of the classrooms of Chenaki Boy’s School looked like. Foundations were laid during the 1st week. In the 2nd and 3rd week, bricks were laid. In the 4th week, the roof was completed. Window frames were added in the 5th week and in the 6th week, painting was finished and the school was completed. With this type of effort, we have completed constracution of all 45 sites planned last year. To complete the construction on time and allow the children to study in a comfortable environment, requires cooperation of local and international staff to drive projects forward. This year we will continue with more projects so that we can give our support to as many children as we can.

January 5, 2012 in Afghanistan |

Has Iraq war finished?

The news said that U.S. forces except Security Assistance Force in Iraqhad withdrew on 18th December 2011.President Obama declared end of Iraq war which had continued for nine years.

However, has war in Iraq really finished?

I asked to a Iraqi staff ‘How do you think about Obama’s announcement?’
He said ‘Mr. Obama is a president of America, isn’t he?
The declaration is not for people in Iraq but for people in citizens.
These days, new wars occur in Iraq. The confrontations among
religions and politics still exist. We have no idea when we can settle them.’

It is said that the public security and order in Iraq have been getting better.
But there are news of terrorism on the TV every day
and Iraq citizens are still fighting against the fear.

JEN keep supporting Iraq until people in Iraq can live safely with true peace.

January 5, 2012 in Iraq |

Brick factory at Dera Ismail Khan

The houses in cities of Pakistan including Dera Ismail Khan are built of bricks.
In Pakistan, bricks for roads and buildings are generally made from dirt and sand. This is because they are relatively reasonably priced and strong.

Bricks are made at factories called ‘Batai’ in Pashtun. There are about 80 Batais in Dera Ismail Kahn, and it is said that about 6000 people are working there.

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Today, we would like to introduce a story from a man who is the manager of a Batai.

There are two kinds of Batai. One is run by the owner of the Batai who supervises the Battai workers directly. The other is run by has been run by a contractor who is under an annual contract with the owner.

Barth Muhammad living in Dera Ismail Kahn is a contractor who is under an annual contract with the owner.

The Batai managed by Mr. Muhammad has 80 workers.

In order to make strong bricks, it is important to use solid dirt.

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First, at the Batai, the dirt is brought by a truck and then spaked,

 
mixed sand to prevent contracting and then fired in a special wood brick fire.

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The bricks are then left to dry in the sun for seven days.

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To increase the strength, after the bricks have dried, they are placed in a heating device for an additional 21 days.

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About 350,000 bricks are made in each batch.

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Finally, those bricks are loaded on truck and delivered to consumers.
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January 5, 2012 in Pakistan |