« January 2012 | Main | March 2012 »


HOW JEN is restoring people’s dignity in South Sudan.

The world’s 193rd state faces a difficult start. Now only seven months since it was born, poverty is widespread and there is little decent infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals or sanitation. One in ten children die before their first birthday and more than 80 per cent of southerners don’t have access to any kind of toilet.

South Sudan has a record of un-imaginable suffering with decades of conflict taking the lives of 1.5 million people.

The existing southern population faces added pressure in that many thousands of people are joining the country from the north, most of which originally hail from the south and this has contributed to pressure on the existing meager resources in the country.

JEN has been working in the south for  slightly over 5 years, primarily through implementation of water supply, hygiene education and sanitation for schools. Watch our interview with one of our beneficiaries from Kajo Keji, to learn more about the role of the JEN in South Sudan……

Kajo Keji is home to an ethnic community known as ‘kuku’, who are primarily farmers.  Juan Esther was recently interviewed by JEN’s teams in the field regarding what has changed since JEN started implementing in her area.


Juan who is 26 years old and a mother of 5 said that she settled in Kajo Keji in 2006 as a returnee.  Life was unbearable as she had to walk for over 4 kms in search of ‘safe water’.  She would spend her entire day making two trips only to get enough water for cooking and drinking.

This left her family quite miserable as the children had to fend for themselves.  The younger son suffered bouts of diarrhea so frequently that she almost lived in and out of hospital all the time.  JEN drilled a borehole in a nearby school only 600m from her home.  ‘ I have never been happier as now I have enough time to take care of my family and don’t have to worry about water.  More over, the yield of the water is quite good hence I don’t have to queue for my turn’ she said. 


Juan  is a member of the water management committee says :  Sanitation in my household has improved tremendously.  I am now thinking of constructing a hand washing facility, as I don’t have to worry about the source of water any more.  She said that as a committee member her role is to ensure that the borehole is maintained and is clean at all times.

Juan is among many beneficiaries across Kajo Keji where JEN has recently drilled 10 boreholes.
JEN’s efforts to impact on people’s lives are also geared towards ensuring that they have restored dignities as well.

(Program Officer: Elizabeth Mose)

February 23, 2012 in South Sudan |


"...Everybody knows how it is. Things are always like this. BLOKIS makes you miss an important appointment that you have to lie on the phone. "Tap Tap(public bus in Haiti)" is always packed that makes me feel irritated then I will be so close to explode.
On the phone, lying "I'm almost there". Sure you are not. Knowing it's faster if you get on foot but still you have a long way to go..."

This is some rilycs from the smash hit song in Haiti by this young pop singer called Wanito. "Blokis" means "Traffic Jam"

Traffic Jam in Haiti is horrible, especially in the Metropolitan area.
It often affects JEN's operation.

Speaking of the song, it's not simply about the cars being "stuck" in the traffic but tells you how peole being "stuck" and suffer in their everyday lives.

"...BLOKIS that's how it is always. Whole Haiti is in BLOKIS..."

February 23, 2012 in Haiti |

Dengue fever

It was on the 11th month after my arrival in Sri Lanka, when I came down with the disease. Dengue fever.
Dengue fever is probably an unfamiliar disease in Japan, but you may have heard of its name.

 It is one of the mosquito-borne infectious diseases for which preventive vaccine does not yet exist. Avoiding being bitten by mosquitos is the only preventive measure.

 Main symptoms include high fever and headache but severe cases may result in hemorrhages and death.   

 The number of infected persons and Dengue-related deaths are frequently reported in the local newspapers. The reality is that the number of patients and deaths are much higher than the Government’s capacity.

 As for myself, I experienced the first hospital stay in my life and was discharged a couple of days ago.
 I am filled with gratitude for the support that has been offered to me by all my friends, superiors, and colleagues in and out of Sri Lanka. I cannot thank them enough.

February 23, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

Kazuma Himawari-Kai meeting in HANA house

Old familiar faces came back after a long while. 16 members of Kazuma Himawari-Kai gathered in HANA house in Kazuma district.

About Kazuma Himawari-Kai


Kazuma Sumire-Kai was former name of this community. We heard about 40 to 60 female members over 70 were there before the earthquake. It was originally established for elderly people who are healthy enough but not having much opportunity to go out --because they live alone-- to provide place to meet and talk to each other. In that time there were also 15 to 20 of the age 50’s and support of local community to help them.

Many of them have gone elsewhere because of the earthquake, but gradually they are coming back. This gathering for was held by those of them who came back, and who keep staying. And they started new community as Kazuma Himawari-Kai. Even there are not so many people as it used to be, somehow seeing faces of friends and neighbors appeared to be so delightful to them.

The gathering started from a message of the chairperson, then session about “How to wash hands and gargle” and “Necessity of wearing a mask”. Everyone was listening carefully about the guidance by municipal healthcare officer.

(Guidance of how to wash hands by healthcare officer)

Next we played ball game using a ball made with milk packs. We match each other with scores. After it was over, we chat with friends sipping tea.

(Throwing a ball)

During the gathering we sang “Bokenai (not demented) song” and “Bokemasu (become demented) song” with given handouts. We sang a cappella or with hand claps. As we went on, some members started to sing whatever songs they like and started to dance. Everyone looked really lively and joyful.

(We enjoy singing, dancing)

“We’ll meet here again.” Said one of participants and marked on a reservation note in HANA house. Everyone was pleased that they found a wonderful place.

HANA house was usually used for gathering of children and their mothers. This time it was used for the elderly such as Kazuma Himawari-Kai. Now they are is aiming to support restoration of community of all kinds of generations through various kinds of activities.

Scars of the disaster are still remaining everywhere in the town or inside one’s heart in invisible way.
JEN will support maintaining moment or place of relief so that people suffering difficult condition can recall “their feeling before” at least for a moment.

February 23, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |


The three-month anniversary event on Oshika-noren Avenue -A live concert by Katsuragi Yuki-

On Saturday, February 18, a concert was held to commemorate that three months had passed since the opening of Oshika-noren Avenue, which is located in Ayukawa Beach on Oshika Peninsula. It was clear in the morning and the event started with an open-air karaoke contest. Local karaoke fans got together and they sang their favorite songs.

[ Karaoke fans are singing strongly to the clear blue sky!]

At the same time, Jen staff members asked them to fill out a questionnaire. Jen conducted a customer survey on Noren Avenue and also asked questions of residents in make-shift houses. About 100 people filled out the questionnaire in all. Some customers were from some other cities or prefectures. One of them said, “ I’ve come to do some volunteer work near here and today I visited this venue.”

[ Conducting a survey on the Noren Avenue ]

[ Conducting a survey at the nearby make-shift houses ]

In the afternoon, Katsuragi Yuki, who paid a consolation visit to this place just after the disaster and a live concert was held. People started to gather and the audience was about 300 people. This event finished in a great success . The town and its residents have taken another step forward.

[ A live concert by Katsuragi Yuki ]

[ A lot of people gathering on the Noren Avenue ]

In the late afternoon, Katsuragi Yuki visited Hana House in the Kasai district. She also visited this place just after the earthquake. A lot of people waiting for Yuki to arrive here had their clothes autographed, and shook hands with her. Hana House was filled with their happy smiles.

[ People waiting for her autographs and handshakes with her ]

In the end, people in all took pictures of themselves to commemorate this day. People on Noren Avenue and Hana House will surely meet some other new people. People meet and build up their ties. Jen will support people so that they can share such scenes more.

[ People took pictures in commemoration of the reunion.]

[ Dispatching Volunteers] Kitsunezaki Inari Shrine  ~ Omikoshi Volunteers ~

Duration: From February 24 through 27, 2012
Total number of volunteers participated in: 3980
Total number of volunteers supporting fisheries industry: 755

For three days, from Feb.25 through 27, 36 volunteers including employees of Mitsuibussan Co. took part in this activity.

February 18, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |


The start of goat management training

The workshops for stockbreeding trainers being held in Dera Ismail Khan district are important part of the livelihood recovery project for internally displaced persons.

Based on the standards made by JEN, the field team will select stockbreeding trainers from the area the project will be based on. The members selected will all be young, educated, filled with the volunteer spirit and enthusiastic about learning.

The stockbreeding trainers will first participate in a 10-day goat management training course, then attend a supplementary training course, and take on a role to spread the knowledge about raising and managing goats to other displaced households.

In 2012, we split the 80 stockbreeding trainers into 4 groups of 20 and have held training sessions for each group in order.


On the first day of training for Group #1, which was held the other day, the stockbreeding trainers asked many questions regarding the objectives of the training and the benefits of attending the course. The livestock experts in charge of the training course listened with great interest to the concerns of the trainers.


The following are the comments from the stockbreeding trainers who participated in the training course.

- For us, livestock is the main source of income, but because the livestock was mainly consumed by our own family until now, the benefits thereof were limited.
Through this training course, I was able to learn in depth about the benefits through the use of livestock.

- We are receiving education, but at the refugee shelters all we do is waste time and there is nothing to do all day.
Thanks to this training course, I have acquired the skills needed to work and I am able to contribute to helpless communities that need our support.

- Due to the training course, I was able to learn about goat management methods, social mobilization, and enterprise development.
From now on, I have decided to change the use of livestock from personal consumption to business use.

- We, the community of the Massoud tribe have a reputation for our hospitality.
From the training course that we attended, I believe we can have the opportunity to help other people in an even better way.


February 16, 2012 in Pakistan |

We held a general meeting with a health education specialist

Like last year, in 2012, we will work towards improving health education, the water supply and health facilities, and the schools in two districts, Bagram and Jaburusaraji of Parwan Province.

The goal for health education is to disseminate knowledge from health education specialists with the Ministry of Education to newly trained heath education trainers, who will then educate instructors, who in turn will educate the students, so that the knowledge will proliferate through the families and consequently the entire community.
Last month in JEN’s Charika office, we held a meeting with a health education specialist/trainer about health education for this fiscal year.


(Picture: A JEN field officer explains about the overall health education projects for this fiscal year)

(Picture: A health education specialist shares his thoughts)

In the meeting, 14 health education specialists and trainers, who were in charge of JEN’s health education training in 2010 and 2011 participated, demonstrating again a lot of enthusiasm for the project this year.


(Picture: 14 health education specialists and trainers participated in a preparatory meeting about the way health education training should be run)

Currently, the  Ministry health education specialists and trainers are holding health education training for teachers. We will introduce them next time.

February 16, 2012 in Afghanistan |

The soccer qualifying round for Olympic was held in Amman (Japan vs. Syria)

February 5, the London Olympics qualifying match was held in Amman, capital of Jordan.  It was the match between Japan national football team U-23 and the representative of Syria.

The game, lots of Japanese who are living in Jordan was rushed to the support. The team Japan, unfortunately, lost 2-1 to Syria because of the second point by Syria just before the end of the game. The sprit of the team Syria by the players was very impressive.


The stadium was mobilized by a lot of security guards concerning about the unstable situation in Syria. However, the game ended safely without any confusion.


This victory of Syria would be good news for Syria in which dark topics have continued for a long time.

JEN office in Jordan has been working to repair schools in Iraq and to promote sanitary business. We are also currently collecting information about the situation in Syria.

February 16, 2012 in Iraq |


Restoration of livelihood –A step to the future

After the quake disaster, Ishinomaki City had been in a situation where all the business was out of operation, as workers specializing in removing rubble throughout the town and collecting garbage suffered a great deal of damage too.

JEN conducted an investigation in order to make the affected associations contribute to removal of debris and collection of garbage, by providing trucks.

As a result of the investigation, the most severely affected was a manager of a 120-year-old recycling firm, whose house with the office was located near the mouth of former Kitakami River.

At the time of the earthquake, 10 out of 33 employees died in the disaster.

In the depths of despair, he did not have any drive to restart working. He had various difficulties: “The reality was that even if I wanted to reconstruct the company, actually there was nothing, no office, no work. However hard I tried it was impossible to rebuild the firm. Is there no choice but to give up? But.”

In such a situation, when JEN talked about renting dump trucks and trucks for collecting garbage for free, he did not believe at first, but saw a little light of hope: “If we have cars, we can work. We have to resume business. We can only move forward step by step, but as I survived, I was determined to work hard for the employees too.”

Rented trucks for garbage collection

In addition, as cars are available, not only he can resume business operations, an effect of promoting employment has been created, and 5 of former employees have come back and are working. He expressed his gratitude: “As from 70 to 80 percent of the customers have been affected, we do not have as much work as before, but we have work to collect scrap iron and retail too. This is also thanks to the cars that can be used for work.”

Furthermore, they participated in an activity contributing to society, such as repairing wharfs gouged out by the tsunami with the cars.

Dump trucks repairing a wharf

Recently, they have been repairing a half of an affected plant in Kawaguchi Town, while operating in another half. He also said that he wanted to grapple with trade, which he thought of as a part of the business. “From now on, we have to tread a thorny path, but first of all, from minus to zero step by step, we are planning to move forward steadily.”

A plant in Kawaguchi Town

Although he had some hard time in Minato Elementary School, he had many pleasant times too.

He said “We cooked meals together, and were invited for a trip from Yamagata too, so we could do worse than having friendship of the Japanese. I am grateful. Through encounters and experiences with people from many different countries, not only Japan, bonds have no borders.

He smiled cheerfully, “Although we are not sure in what way we can, we would like to repay favor to people who supported us.”

The manager of the recycling firm and his wife

This project is carried out thanks to all the supporters and in cooperation with Japan Platform. To assist as many people’s support of themselves as possible, Jen would like to carry out supports that will be nourishment for hopes. Step by step, to a hopeful future.

February 14, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |


Beginning a new project ~State of North Bahr el Ghzal~

The project that we are undertaking since May of last year in Central Equatoria  State is at last reaching its final steps.

On the other hand、the preparations for our next Project are also in progress. As a part of it, since February we are conducting a field survey at the relatively safe zone of the State of North Bahr el Ghzal in South Sudan.

The State of North Bahr el Ghzal is situated on the Northern part of South Sudan, and is right near the frontier with Sudan. There are many returning citizens from outside and inside the country trying to go back to their hometowns since last year’s voting, which made South Sudan an independent country, and from all the 10 states that the country has, this is the second state that has the most returning citizens.

 It takes us 3 hours from the capital of Juba inside the state of Central Equatoria and stopping at the city of Wao. The place at which we arrived was an airport constituted only by a runway.
(Photo of the plane, used by the United Nations)


The Southern part of North Bahr el Ghzal State, due to the raining season from June to December that makes going from the main road to the villages by car difficult, has been always a region avoided by the support groups.
We took a look at those villages.


At the village of Manga Gier, we visited the family of  Magd Muwarel. It was midday, when the kids had just returned from getting water. It takes 40 minutes to go and get the water and another 40 to come back. It is the work they do in the morning and in the afternoon. 
That day, they had just returned from getting also some extra water with a small recipient for a sick kid.


This little kid washed a cup, poured some water in it and gave it to the sick kid. Although it seems that he does not wash his hands before eating or after he goes to the toilet.
We hear that the not knowing the importance of hygiene and being unable to get clean water through the raining season provokes diarrhea on both kids and adults.


A normal day for them goes like this: they cut grass (check the photo below) from the forest and they make them into bundles to sell for about 10 pounds each (about 300 yen). Apparently the father goes to the capital which is hundreds of kilometers far from here to work, together with the brothers that also study there.


Later we visited the nearby school to which the kids go to study, the Elementary School of Manga Gier. As we were on the holidays of the dry season(from December to April)we could not find any students, but we managed to meet vice-principal and talked with him.
(vice-principal is on the right side of the photo below)

He told us about the conditions of the well and the toilets, and also about hygiene education. There are near to 800 students studying here, but there are no school buildings or teachers. The classrooms are the shadows under the big trees on the surroundings of the training field.

There is also a toilet made by the community.


Inside there is a hole made with rocks.


It felt quite small for an adult.

There are only 2 toilets like this one. We hear that the female students use them while the male students do their necessities where the grass is abundant. The below item is strongly needed in that kind of moments.


It is just a tree branch, but they use it as toilet paper. Apparently there are states where people use rocks. They throw them inside the hole after.
As there is no well in this school, the students can’t wash their hands after they are done. As it takes 40 minutes by feet to the nearest well, they cannot spend their precious school time on going to get water.
Commemorative picture with all the family.

We have just begun our survey in this prefecture、but we plan on comparing the results from this field survey with other regions and public data from organizations such as the UN, discussing with local administrations etc. so we can understand this problem better.

February 9, 2012 in South Sudan |

About Labriette

In Labriette, many residents didn’t use a communal laundry place which Jen has built, but they used the river nearby for washing.  The reason is that, in order to use a lot of water for the washing, they needed to pump over and over again and it was very tough work for them.

So, I put a drum can to fill it with water.


Then, the communal laundry place is fully packed with mothers although it was empty before.


In addition, the mothers are crowded out of the place and said "make the place much wider ! "
A little idea to set up a drum can has led to the gathering place for the residents.


The place is now a base to share information as well as to talk each other, such as an information session about the use of chlorine by a water management committee.

February 9, 2012 in Haiti |

Northern Province: The start of a new project.

Northern Province: The start of a new project.

Our aim in Sri Lanka this year is to complete the resettlement of the people who have become internally-displaced due to the civil war.
 One of the main target areas is Puthukudiyiruppu Divisional Secretariat in Mullaitivu District and JEN has started a new project here, on January 1.

Resettlement in this area has only begun last June.
The people in this area had enjoyed prosperous agriculture and commercial fishing before the civil war, but today, we see piles of abandoned objects on the agricultural lands and fishing is forbidden by the Government.

 Repatriated persons are currently living on the daily wage of a project called “Emergency Northern Recovery Project” (ENREP). This is a 45-day project to clear the public spaces and surface the roads with sand and gravel.



The well in the photograph had been dug during the war. You can see that the protective wall that had once surrounded the well has disappeared, making it unsafe for children and elderly people to use.

 Furthermore, since this well can no longer be used for drinking water, the villagers have to travel at least 4 times a day to collect water from another well which is located about 1 to 1.5km away.

 In this area, 6 public wells for drinking water have been cleaned by the Sri Lanka Army; however, this is hardly enough considering the number of residents (750 households, as of January 16).

 JEN will support the resettlement of the repatriated people by repairing and cleaning the wells which had been destructed during the war.

February 9, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

Why don’t we plant flowers together?!

Last October and November, JEN staff members and volunteers planted young flowers of viola and tulip bulbs at several makeshift housing complexes in Ishinomaki City.

This event was realized in cooperation with Felishimo Co., Ltd. And supporters, who helped us providing planters, soil and young flowers.

What is the most important in doing some activities in the makeshift house complex is to inform the residents of a program in advance.  One week before this event, JEN handed out each door the leaflet saying ‘Let’s plant flowers together!!’

The local seed shop owner helped us provide young flowers and bulbs of flowers and on that day he taught JEN staff members how to plant young flowers and take care of bulbs.

Explaining how to plant flowers to JEN staff members


When the time to start this program was coming, residents gathered one by one, and JEN staff members explained how to plant flowers.

‘Tulips don’t wake up unless they are exposed to cold.’
‘This time planters are not deep enough, so please plant nearer to the surface of soil; otherwise they could not grow their roots deep enough.
‘Oh, that’s new to me!’

[photo] Residents listening to JEN staff members


So, time to start!
‘I can’t decide what color to choose.’
You can choose the colors for violas but you can’t tell what colors to come up as they are bulbs.
The event went on in a peaceful and pleasant atmosphere, and residents got stuck on planting flowers.

[photo]  Residents working on planting without saying anything


On that day some families were not able to take part in this event due to their private business.  Some other residents were kind enough to plant flowers in planters for such families. 
JEN placed the planter with a leaflet. 
We finished planting flowers for all residents and also placed planters of flowers around the meeting place.
You can enjoy violas in winter and tulips in spring.

[photo] Residents enjoying chatting


After planting flowers, we all gathered at the meeting place and had some tea.
‘I had not been gardening for the past six months.’
‘I feel pleasantly tired.’
I’m convinced everyone felt refreshed.  Good job!

[photo] Chatting over a cup of tea


Later, we received thank-you calls from the residents.
‘When I came home, I was surprised to find a planter in front of my house.
Since I live alone, this made me happy.  Thank you.’
‘I received a planter JEN provided.  I was just about to plant some flowers. Thank you so much.’
Those voices have made us happy, too.

We hope to see the good smiles again in spring when colorful tulips are in full bloom.
JEN will go on taking mental care and supporting community activities in the hope of extending friendship ties.

February 9, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |


A message from JEN's new staff member

We would like to welcome our new member of our staff, Naeem Khan, the general affairs and accounting assistant.

At this time, I am honored that I can introduce myself as a new employee for JEN.


From the influence of my parents and my alma mater, University of Malakand in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, I have wanted to be involved in humanitarian aid from when I was a student. I was appointed as a representative for a student welfare organization called WIFT (Society for Welfare Interaction and Tours) by my professors.

This organization is non-government and non-profit organization that supports students who need various types of aid like financial aid, moral aid, and etc. and has even been historically promoted as a model for the university by the vice president of the university.

After getting a bachelor’s degree in business management from the university, I worked at a private company in the personnel department and learned about human affairs and general affairs. While working, I continued my studies and after 2 years I completed my masters course in human resource management.

With the 3 years and 8 months of experience working at the company and the master’s degree that I obtained, I developed self-confidence and achieved my long-held dream and to be hired to work for an international NGO. Throughout the year that it took to complete the objectives for our projects, I was able to learn even a lot more by working together with the international staff.

I feel very fortunate to work for the Afghanistan projects in JEN’s Islamabad office and to have the opportunity to work for humanitarian aid again.

All the members of the team are very cooperative and the way they work ambitiously towards a common goal is very professional. I have also realized that the development in my career has allowed me to grow as an individual.

This type of environment works in a positive way as we work to support the people in Afghanistan, who have lived a difficult life for a long time.

The local staff in Afghanistan are also respected and cooperative and they work ambitiously towards a goal.

My goal is to take initiative and to work professionally in an organization like JEN, which provides humanitarian aid to people who really need it.

I am grateful to my parents and my professors who have guided me thus far.

February 2, 2012 in Afghanistan |

Testimonial from Department of Education

At the beginning of last month, JEN staffs took part in the conference
held by Iraq Department of Education.

The department is promoting ‘improvement of educational environment’
and ‘health maintenance of children’.

Deputy Minister of Department of Education also participated in the conference
and we discussed educational issues in Iraq.


At the awards ceremony for the organization which is aiming at
improving the school education, JEN is commended
by Department of Education for the school repairing project and the
health promoting project, which have been held since 2003.


It is our pleasure that the projects in Iraq are evaluated.
We’ll continuously do our best for supporting Iraq.

February 2, 2012 in Iraq |

Riaz’s Trauma

Both natural and man-made disasters will affect suffers’ lifestyles for a long time.
Riaz ad-Dīn’s trauma is one example.

In South Waziristan, where Riaz used to live, a battle occurred between an armed group and the government military. The battle got serious, using fighters, armed helicopters, machine guns battle planes and trench mortars, eventually forcing residents to evacuate. Riaz and his family took refuge, too.

Riaz’s house was devastated and many people were killed by bombing. He was mentally damaged by losing neighbors and loved ones, houses and assets and being forced to evacuate from his home.

Riaz’s father hospitalized Riaz in a mental hospital in Peshawar spending all the money he had, but Riaz has not got well.

Today, Riaz lives in a tent distributed by UNHC with his parents and his 7 brothers and sisters in Dera Ismail Khan. He is suffering from poverty.

His father and brothers work by the day. Their earnings are short for the family life and expensive Riaz’s medical cost.

When Riaz came to register for JEN’s support, JEN asked his father because he did not answer the interview himself.


His father said that Riaz takes prescribed tranquilizer due to frequent disturbance of consciousness.


I heard many people here suffer from mental disorder and sense of loss caused by conflicts like Riaz.

JEN will continue our support in order to support as many people with trauma as possible.

February 2, 2012 in Pakistan |