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11/29/2012

Staff celebrating Birthdays at office

This is Shahid Khan, working with JEN as Program assistant for Afghanistan program in Islamabad office. Today, let me tell you about an activity being followed in JEN Islamabad office since last year, “Staff Celebrating their Birthday” at office with colleagues. 

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Usually, when we think of birthday the initial thought we get is cakes, balloons, gifts, party etc. But celebrating birthday at JEN Islamabad is quite different from what we have on our minds. Here, the birthdays are very simple but yet rejuvenating. The birthday boy or girl has to order a cake him/herself and receives birthday wishes from colleagues and everybody enjoy the cake with tea.

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I, personally see this fifteen minutes activity as a very positive practice. It gives a chance to all staff to get out of the stress of tough work schedule by having a casual chat with colleagues and enjoying the cake. Receiving birthday wishes from everyone works as morale booster and motivation is increased. Most importantly this activity creates an opportunity of good team building informally. The celebrations often have a relaxed atmosphere, where colleagues are able to get to know one another beyond the daily work they do together. In addition, this connection helps our team to work together better in achieving projects goal.

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I, think such type of activities should be encouraged at work place as it helps to connect, in networking, motivation and bringing everyone together.

November 29, 2012 in Afghanistan |

The reality about FATA

 

 

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To the west of JEN’s operation site, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, lies a region bordering Afghanistan called FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas). In some parts of FATA, armed conflict between the Pakistani military and insurgents is continuing.

 

 

 

The tribal people of FATA have their own culture and norms. Many people living in other parts of our country and the world might call them brutal, cruel and illiterate and they might think that FATA is the center of regional problems. But I guarantee that once one visits FATA, their perception of FATA will change 100%.

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They are not brutal but are loving and caring. They are not cruel but they are so kind with generosity, they are welcoming and hospitable. They are not illiterate but they are much educated in their inside. Their way of looking at the world is very positive. They are simple people and in fact it is difficult to find complicated people among the real people of FATA. 

 


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FATA is not the center of problem, but it is the global political situation, different countries’ interests and greed that have made it dangerous. Because of the simplicity of the people of FATA, they are being used by the other powers easily.

 

 

 

Soon after our group arrived in FATA, our host was waiting for us. We were treated with traditional custom and provided with tea and dry fruits. Our host didn’t allow us to work on day 1 because he wanted us to see the beauty of that part of FATA. Maybe he didn’t want us to see the damages because he knows that ‘First impression is the last impression or first impression is the best impression’.

 

 

 

In FATA I saw the bluest sky, and big stars were very much visible at night.

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Water was floating in the rivers like
chains that bind the communities living on opposite sides, and I could see a beautiful
panoramic mountain range.

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Maple trees made a beautiful scenery in autumn.

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If the situation in FATA becomes normal and the outsiders would live there peacefully instead of making troubles, then this area would be one of the best holiday destinations in Pakistan. People living in cities are fed up with the crowd, pollution and artificial things. They want a break in some places that purify their souls, and FATA is one of such places.

 

 

 

Azmat Ali, Head of Islamabad Office 

 

 

 

 

November 29, 2012 in Pakistan |

Sri Lanka official trip report- northern area/part 1

This is Ueda, JEN’s Sri Lanka Program Manager from Tokyo Headquarters.  I visited Sri Lanka last October on an on-site inspection trip to survey the local situation.  Allow me to introduce the first half of my two part official trip report. 

On a map, Sri Lanka appears to be a small island.  In actuality, Sri Lanka’s land area is vast, about 80% of Hokkaido.  Hence, travelling in this country proved to be much more difficult than I had initially expected.

First, I visited Puthukkudiyiruppu DS and Maritimepattu DS of Mullativu District, 6 hours to the north by car from the closest major city, Colombo.  According to our local staff, residents of these areas had to escape to camp quickly, so were unable to carry a majority of their possessions, which they buried in the ground.  Some of the scattered living wares were exposed as time passed by, and some were dug up by the residents.  In fact, I witnessed families excavating the ground numerous times.

[Various things were scattered on the ground]
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[Destroyed house which has been deserted]
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Recently, few houses were constructed in an area where residents were allowed to return to.  These houses, which house several families under the same roof, are very basic and consist of wooden frames, zinc walls and plastic sheets, which were supplied by the UN.  Prior to my visit, I had imagined that many residents currently lead relatively stable lives, as the conflict ended 3 years ago, yet the reality of the situation was different from what I had imagined.  Despite regional differences, in most areas, residents still require emergency support in the form of water, shelter and food. 

[Displaced people are living in huts like this]
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[In the absence of a local well, some districts are still dependent on water trucks]
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I interviewed a 25 year old woman who returned to this village last August.  She was seven months pregnant at the time of the interview.  According to her, a hospital in Mullativu District had just started operating when residents resumed living in the area.  Yet as its facilities are inadequate, she gave birth in a hospital in the Jaffna District, which is 6 hours by bus.  Health and medical care is another field with a profusion of persistent problems. 

[Interviewed woman]
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[A family who returned to the area in August.  They are anxious about their future.]
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In the northern part of Sri Lanka, we have been repairing and cleaning wells destroyed in the conflict.  I could see the community workers engaging in the repair and cleaning work in cooperation with local residents.

JEN’s wells have unique details.  For example, in order to make their insides safer to clean, block-projections are constructed, so that it is possible to descend utilizing these stair-like features in a swift yet safe manner, in contrast to the conventional rope-only method.

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[Community worker and JEN staff.  They are talking about this well]
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[He is going down the well using the projecting blocks and a rope]
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(continued in part 2)

November 29, 2012 in South Sudan |

11/22/2012

Takeda's trainees volunteer for fishemen's restart

The twenty-four new recruits, trainees of an induction course, of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. volunteered to engage in reconstruction assistance for three days from November 15.

【The trainees attend an orientation.】
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After the group of the new recruits arrived at Ishinomaki, they made a guided tour around areas stricken by the disaster such as Hiyoriyama park, the district of Kadowaki and Minamihama, and the town of  Sakanama and Onagawa and then got lectured about reconstruction assistance projects from JEN staff members.
Then they moved to the workplace of Minami-sanriku Oyster Farmers' Association at the town of Minami-sanriku. It is a new cooperative association set up after the disaster by farmers who had been fishing under individual management.

【JEN staff member teaches volunteers how to go about today's work at the workplace of Minami-sanriku Oyster Farmers' Association.】
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They got right down to business. On that day they worked on "ear-hanging" scallop spat(piercing the resilium to string them).

【"Ear-hanging" scallop spat】
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They tied one-year-old scallops one after another with a rope to hang them in the sea, which had been transferred from Hokkaido.

【An one-year-old spat】
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【Trainees get on their work, learning from farmers.】
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Some two hundred thousand scallops were just transferred earlier in the day. It's necessary to get the work done before they languish. Farmers usually start their work before down and continue until midnight in the next day, but on that day they could finish their work by five p.m. thanks to those volunteers.

Mr. Sasaki, a farmer with the association, says that the timing of volunteer's help came when farmers were busy harvesting wakame seaweed and kelp and planting sea squirts---quote---"We really appreciate people's applying to be volunteers. I can't say anything except thank you. While we are truly grateful for their help in ear-hanging scallops, we will be also happy if their experiences here in the production center of marine products of Sanriku would remind them of us when they go to a supermarket nearby to pick up marine products." The fisheries in the coast of Sanriku are still under severe conditions; port facilities remain damaged; serious shortage of human resources who support fisheries; harmful rumor. It's important for as many volunteers as possible visit there, witness what happened and is going on there and build a bond with people there.

【The scallops strung together are fork lifted and finally placed on farming rafts.】
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【Planting of kelp. Kelps held between twines of a rope grow to about two meters in a couple of months.】
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【At the end of the final day, looking back the day's work with farmers, volunteers ask farmers questions that they had in their mind during their work.】
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JEN will continue to accept volunteers from enterprises or organizations so as to develop people-to-people links

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓
○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN

 
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.
○Credit card:
http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

November 22, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

Mysticism

【Excerpt of a voodoo hall’s wall pictured in 2010 in Leogane】
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“Haiti - Society: A woman declared dead in September 2011, found alive on the day of the dead 2012”

This is not a joke. This is the title of an article published this week on Haitian media . Explaining when and how the woman was buried in 2011, and how she “resurrected” in 2012. More than 1 year later. Conditional is not the frame.
The article does not question the “facts”, neither it tries to explain the “miracle”. Almost nobody does actually, except foreigners.

Quite surprisingly for people familiar with monotheist religion, this kind of thing is not so rare in Haiti. So, is Haiti a new Eden or the place where Jesus or another prophet would have decided to come back prior to the so-called Maya’s December 21st? Or is there any other reason behind that?
Actually you cannot understand Haiti, if you do not try understanding why people could take such “information” as granted, or why a relatively serious media could participate to what would appear to external observers as a reinforcement of the lack of education in the country.

Haitians believe en masse to mysticism. This certainly has a direct link with Voodoo, where Evils, Zombies or Vampires are legion. Nevertheless nobody knows if Voodoo is at the origin of so much mysticism, or vice-versa.
But there is something that is certain: mysticism is really useful to explain what you do not understand. Especially when you do not know, or you are not able to look for a proper solution.

Unfortunately, this is the fate of all countries where education is too much neglected.

November 22, 2012 in Haiti |

In order to prolong the life of wells~retraining for hand pump mechanics in Kajo Keji County~

In the area where JEN has been working, villages have some wells other than JEN built for schools. However even though wells are once broken, currently those are hardly fixed.

One of the reasons is that the villagers do not know where they can find well-trained hand pump mechanics.

In addition to that, it is also a severe problem that people in there tend to repair wells after completely broken because there is no custom of regular maintenance, and which causes the repair cost very high. As a result, they cannot afford to fix.

For the sake of prolonging the life of wells, last year JEN established an association for the hand pump mechanics in Lainya County and created a system for them to cooperate with the community for regular maintenance.

This year, in Kajo Keji County and Morobo County, we have been working toward building a maintenance and management system for wells by connecting individual hand pump mechanics to communities directly.

The other day, in Kajo Keji County, we held a training session for thirty one hand pump mechanics nominated by different villages in order to improve their ability.

In the training, not only repair skill but the skill for Preventive Operation and Maintenance (POM) was focused, and which helped them to fix the wells before completely broken.

【Wearing work clothes distributed by JEN】
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Every hand pump mechanic showed high interest in the training for POM, and one of the attendants, Mr. Chaplain Soro (age 35), gave us a comment that he was sure that this activity should improve the condition of water supply

【Mr. Chaplain preparing for acknowledgment at completion ceremony】
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Mr. Asu Joseph (age 24) told us that he was able to learn concrete techniques such as measuring the depth of well and how to acquire cooperation effectively from the community through the training of communication skill as well.

【Mr. Asu with the manual JEN handed】
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Through the training for hand pump mechanics, we will continue our activities giving opportunities for villagers to acquire a better understanding of POM.

【All participants in Kajo Keji County】
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This project is supported by Japan Plat Form and all of you.

Head of Juba Office, Shu Nishimaru

November 22, 2012 in South Sudan |

11/15/2012

Coordination with Government Livestock Department

In the year 2010, Government of Pakistan established a Livestock Research Station in Union Council Band Korai, Tehsil Paharpur Dera Ismail Khan.


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The entire staffs are comprised of 3 Senior Research Officers, 7 Research Officers and 1 Acting Director. This Research Center lies in JEN’s target area of the Livelihood Recovery project for IDPs. JEN is liable to coordinate its project activities with Government Livestock Department. JEN has shared it’s project activities and future planning with representatives of Government Livestock Department in the working group meetings of Food Security Cluster.
Representatives of Livestock Department regularly visits JEN’s warehouse during quarantine period of goats to share their technical expertise. They help JEN’s staff in vaccinating Goats against endemic diseases. After successful quarantine period of goats, Livestock Department issues “Good Health Status Certificate” to JEN which means that goats are now ready for distribution.

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1 representative of Livestock Department regularly delivers sessions to JEN’s LEWS for 2 days in Goat Management Training. He covers the topics of Endemic diseases of goats and their prevention with practical demonstrations.   

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JEN’s veterinary assistants coordinate with Senior Research Officers of the Livestock Research Station during follow up of goats and inculcate their inputs in treatment of goats and advising the beneficiaries.   
Representatives of Livestock department appreciate JEN’s endeavors for the Livelihood recovery of IDPs through provision of livestock. They appreciate strict measures adopted during quarantine period of goats at JEN warehouse. They see provision of Beetel Goats as “Genetic Improvement” in the target area. 

November 15, 2012 in Pakistan |

Crossing arms

Iraq project of JEN target local primary schools and secondary schools. From the field, the headquarters have received pictures of activities and students. And there are many photos of children with serious face folding their arms.

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Actually, this is an attitude to show their politeness in Iraq.  Yes, pictures confirmed that everyone were listening the instruction of teachers earnestly.

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November 15, 2012 in Iraq |

Staff Training

Previously in our rapid aid report, we reported about the security training that JEN does not only receive programs from outside but also within their group. Each staff is based on different background and their supporting content differs as well.

The activities of JEN are based on “what kind of aid is required in the local area” and not “what we like to aid”, so a wide view and knowledge is required to fulfill the aid. For example, other than security managing projects or gender will be an issue.

This kind of training is not only for the international staff but it can take place with the local staff. Early November in Afghanistan, in order to improve the communication and sharing information efficiently the training was done only among the local staff.

The international staff of JEN manages the supporting project of Afghanistan from Islamabad of Pakistan communicating with the local staff based on mail and telephone.
Therefore, communication skill will be vital for the program and improvement of everyone’s ability is essential.
This time, the local staff experienced in communication skill became a lecturer and performed the training by themselves. We will do our best to update the ability of the staff and organization by this kind of training to achieve a high quality aid.

November 15, 2012 in Afghanistan |

RYONRYON teaches how to dance!

The first dance class for children was opened up on October 28.
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It has been pointed out that children in the disaster-stricken area who are forced to study in temporary school buildings or live in provisional houses don't get much exercise. Though opening a dance class was a small step to address that problem, it aimed to help children to take more physical exercise and to release their daily stress,

【Children gather in gym.】
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When the scheduled time for the class came, children were in the middle of playing chasing. The children seemed to like simply exercising.
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The dance lesson started right after a warm up. The instructors of the lesson were Ms. Kyoko Nomura, also known as RYONRYON, who is doing excellent jobs as a choreographer and a backup dancer, and Ms. Minami Zushi who joined as Ms. Nomura's assistant. They came here from Tokyo to help teach how to dance.

【The children concentrate on dancing.】
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Younger children's group practiced tail-wagging dance to the tune titled "Mister" (KARA), elder children's group practiced Michael Jackson's "Beat it." It's getting exercise vigorously that is simple but important.

The child has such an ability to adapt to change in environment that the children have adjusted themselves to lives changed by the disaster. But as was pointed out in the lessons learned from Kobe earthquake or past disasters, there is a concern that juvenile delinquency will increase due to the change in living environment. It's essential for children's healthy growth that they have chances to acquit themselves of their living environment, exercise and relieve their stress.

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【The children take a commemorative photo with RYONRYON.】
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Pleasant hours flew past. The second dance class is expected to take place in November. JEN is committed to continuing to support children. We ask our supporters for their continued understanding and cooperation on our activities.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓

○Postal transfer account No.: 00170-2-538657
Account holder: JEN

 
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.
○Credit card:
http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

November 15, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

11/08/2012

Well excavation in Juba County

For this season we have scheduled the excavation of 10 wells nearby schools. After finishing the search for underground water on September, we began with the excavation process on October and we already have 8 of the wells excavated.

 

(Searching for underground water)
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 (Well drilling equipment)
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 (Drilling the well)
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(Setting a pipe inside the excavated hole)
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 (Building the well platform nearby Ganji Elementary School)
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(Finished well)
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After this task is done, we will inspect the quality of the water while the villagers built a fence for the well. (This project is being executed thanks to the support of all our members and contributors)

November 8, 2012 in South Sudan |

Northern Sri Lanka : Puthukkudiyiruppu DS- Today

In early October, we visited  northern Project site in Puthukkudiyiruppu DS of Mullativu District for the first time in a year.  From Vavunia where our Office is located, we took a route called A9 up north, ran through the corner of Kilinochchi and turning right taking the same route.  However, there were many discoveries.

Number of residential buildings of returnees has increased during the year around the Transitional Shelters built by JEN last year.

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In the area where there were only shacks last year, now there are many stores.

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Public buses run through the main street.  Power poles and electric wires runs through the area and  electric power distribution has become more stable.  We have witnessed their recovery is certainly under way.

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Although, big differences exist in the Puthukkudiyiruppu DS.  In the area where returnees has returned about half a year ago, there are people who are concerned of their lives of the future after the delivery of food from the United Nations (the UN).  Some people cannot earn any money that they have no funds to develop their worn- out farm to restart rice cropping.  In the area where people started to return three moths ago, it is still in the stage that male returnees are leveling out the worn- land to secure the land for living. Water tankers delivered from the UN has been watered  only once and has not been watered since then.

Next to the area we have witnessed a sigh of recovery, there are still many people who needs support.

November 8, 2012 in Sri Lanka |

Volunteers to restore farmland

This time we report one of JEN's volunteer activities in Tohoku. As we earlier posted photos on Facebook, JEN's volunteers for Tohoku disaster restoration worked on restoring damaged farmland in the Kamikama district of Ishinomaki city from December 3th to 4th.

【Volunteers grub the farmland for large rubbles.】
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One of the farmers in the area says that they have already tried to remove rubbles from the farmland several times, but there still remain a lot of rubles buried.
A farmer in the area says that his fraternity

【A stepladder has been grubbed.】
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JEN is restoring the farmland in contact with dozens of local farmer groups. The farmland was deadly damaged by the tsunami, for it is only one kilometer away from the coast. Therefore many farmers in this area have rented lots in different areas and restarted farming there. But at the same time, they are making steady efforts in seeking to restore their ancestral farmland. The farmers have removed large rubbles with heavy machinery, but that have buried small-to-medium-sized rubble into the ground.
If rubbles are left as they are, they will restrain farmers from cultivating the farmland with mechanical cultivator because rubbles damage the cultivator, that's why it's necessary to shovel rubbles off the farm land manually and patiently.

【Though removing rubbles requires patience.... 】
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What needs to be done at end is separating rubbles by types of them.

【Rubbles are separated manually.】
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You can get a distant view of a temporary rubble-yard.
At the end of the volunteer work farmers thanked the volunteers for their efforts and each volunteer replied how they felt about their work for the day.

【Look back on their work for the day with farmers.】
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"I realized there is still much work that needs to be done and even I can contribute. I'd like to come back."
"I had a quality time. I'd like to come back."
It was very striking that many of them with bright face said "I'd like to come back." under splendid fall weather. We JEN staff were also very happy to hear that.

【All told, 14 volunteers participate in two-day work on both individual basis and company basis. Good work today.】
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There are no reliable prospects that to what extent farm land can be restored. Though the farming community in this area decided to address the restoration of its farm land, some farmer who have moved inland expresses mixed feelings---quote---"Even now, I get sick by just approaching the coast," JEN will address each and every issue at hand coordinating closely with agricultural groups and local communities.

JEN reconstruction support volunteer information update
For details, see information below.

====For urgent donation…↓↓↓↓↓↓
○Postal transfer account No.: 0070-2-538657
Account holder: JEN

 
Please write “Tohoku Earthquake” on the liaison column.
○Credit card:
http://bit.ly/c7R8iA 
Please select “Tohoku Earthquake” from the pull-down.

For any inquiries regarding bank transfers, please contact JEN Tokyo Office (phone: 03-5225-9352, contact: Tomita or Asakawa).

November 8, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

From the destination Haiti 2

JEN has been focusing on, the greatest need, water and sanitation projects as an emergent reconstruction support in the Western prefecture for a little than 3 years since May 2010, where suffered the most damage by the earthquake, after implementing the emergency assistance right after the great earthquake occurred in January 2010.

Here is the report on the project sites I inspected. I mainly visited accessible project sites including those in the past. This is because access to many of the project sites was not ensured because of the aftermath of hurricane Sandy hit in the end of October. (As of October 31st, 54 reported to have died in Haiti according to UNOCHA).

The clarification device is installed beside the water well for water clarification by Chlorine.

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Adjoining laundry.

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Here in one of the present project sites, a water tank has been under construction at a fast pace.

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A big tree have fallen to lie over the water, might be caused by the hurricane.

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The beautiful landscape encountered on the way.

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I appreciate your warm and continuing support.

Department/Jumpei Ushikubo

November 8, 2012 in Haiti |

11/01/2012

Growing the circle of hygiene habits!

As last report, the hygiene education sessions are ongoing. JEN request schools to hang the posters to promote hygiene habits to students. JEN also distribute hygiene kits which includes teeth brush, tooth paste, towel, as well as materials JEN developed with Ministry of Education.

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With those tools, students practice brushing teeth at the washing stand restored in this project. Students can practice brushing teeth and washing hands with the clean washing stand which now they do not need to struggle to get water from the tab.


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Can you brush behind of your teeth well? After students learned the importance of hygiene habits, they will talk about it to their family at home. This is our aim of the project to spread good habits of hygiene to family through school and students and promote them to prepare teeth brush for their kids at home. This is one of our efforts to make the project sustainable that the good hygiene habits will remain after JEN complete the project.

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November 1, 2012 in Iraq |

Eid ul-Adha

From 26th to 29th October, there was a big religious festival in Pakistan called “Eid ul-Adha”. This is one of the biggest holidays, and celebrated by all Muslim in all over the world. It is to commemorate (Prophet) Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son (Prophet) Ismael for Allah (God).


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People who have capacity may sacrifice their livestock to ALLAH. Usually third part of meet will be distributed to people in poverty, other third part to neighbors or friends, and the rest third will be eaten by their own family. Of course, this event is important for their religion, but also we can say that this is a practice of kindness and mercy of Muslim religion.

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The market price of cow, goat, and camel gets high. (Not the meet, animal itself). There are a especially for eid, big animal markets in every big city where farmers from different villages are bringing their livestock to sell for eid festival.


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It is a good chance for them to earn some money, as people don’t much care about the rates in those days. Although bargaining works!

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Many people go back to their village during the holidays, and spend this special holiday with their families. For these points, we can say that it is similar as the way we spend a New Year holiday in Japan. We can see cutting those animals in anywhere, but sure that the implication of this is a belief to Allah, and mercy for the people who needs this benefit.

A day of charity with whole Islamic believer, meaning billions of people participating is so heroic and proud. Of course, non-Muslim person do not have to join this event, but come over with respect and incense of this culture.
Eid Mubarak for all!

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Pictures courtesy: Shehzad Khattak (ex JEN staff)

November 1, 2012 in Pakistan |

Mr. Panos Karan To Give Piano Recital

On October 21, Mr. Panos Karan, gave free concerts at several places. He is a young, energetic Greek pianist. Besides performing not only in Europe but also around the world from base in UK, he is providing those people who have no experience of classical music or live in disadvantaged environment with opportunities of listening to classical music through "Keys of Change", a charitable organization founded in 2010.

This time, he was accompanied by Raúl, one of his music partners, and so their four-handed, stirring performances healed many people's broken hearts. It was the second time for JEN to host concerts following the first one in this March. The series of concerts started at "Nakayashi-Kitsusa", a community cafe, in Kamikama area where Mr. Panos's previous concert was also held this March.
After giving a salute to his audience, Mr. Panos played Bach, Chopin and Brahm in turn. In particular, four-handed performances were so impressive that the audience of twenty-three local residents were satisfied with the world of classical music.

【Mr. Panos and Raúl play a duet at "Nakayashi-Kitsusa".】
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The former JEN staff who organized the concert held in this March joined us in the middle of the concert, and had a happy reunion with ex-coworkers after the concert. After the concert in Kamikama finished, they moved to "Fureai Recovery Marche"---a temporary shopping arcade to enhance opportunities for regional rehabilitation--- near the Ishinomori cartoon museum and had lunch there while looking at photos on display depicting the devastation caused by the disaster. While they were having lunch, the manager of the "Fureai Recovery Marche" said to him "We have an electric piano, so I wonder if I could ask you to play music. Just a tune would be fine." As a result, he gave an unscheduled performance on stage. Some ten people who happened to be there shouted bravo to him accompanied by applause all at once.

【Mr. Panos playing on stage at Fureai Rehabilitation Marche】
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They exchanged goodbyes after the performance and moved to Sarukoya music instrument store near Fureai Rehabilitation Marche. The store is known for having fixed damaged piano by the disaster. The president of the store, Mr. Inoue, explained us how he carefully fixed damaged pianos which had got muddy and rusty. The president said to Mr. Panos "This is the first piano we have restored." and he replied to the president that Mr. Inoue's restoration of pianos was also a popular topic of conversation in Europe. Mr. Panos said to the president "May I play this piano?" and he responded to Mr. Panos immediately saying "We'd like you to!"

【Mr. Panos plays the damaged piano.】
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Mr. Panos gave concerts on electric pianos at Kamikama and Fureai Rehabilitation Marce and so his grand piano playing made us realize how a grand piano was different from electric pianos in strength and melody of performance. The beautiful music made store staffs stop their work and gather around the piano. When the performance finished, he received ringing applause for a while.

But Mr. Inoue's professional ears didn't fail to detect that some of the piano wires were unstrung. Mr. Inoue requested Mr. Panos saying "Mr. Panos! We have a keyed piano upstairs, so I do want you to play that one!"
Going upstairs, when Mr. Panos began to play, a tune that even lay people can tell the difference in sound echoed through the store. After playing a tune, he asked Mr. Inoue saying "Mr. Inoue, May I play a tune that will apply too much a load to the piano." With Mr. Inoue's permission, he started playing a complex melody. Though his performance was over in a couple of minutes, the audience there was speechless with his powerful performance for a while. Mr. Inoue said "Excellent!"
Mr. Panao said "I'm able to get in touch with the soul of this piano. This piano was damaged, once died then come back from the dead. I'm happy to come across this piano. This is a symbol of recovery!"

【After Mr. Panos's performance at Sarukoya store.】
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They move from Sarukoya store to Kashiwagi Fureai center in the outskirts of Ishinomaki, and his final concert began. The audience of nine was mostly people from a temporary housing nearby. After the performance of classical music, "Sakura", a Japanese classical music, was played. A beautiful tune sounded through halls, some people were listening to his performance with tears.
Mr. Panos shook hands with every people saying goodbye.

【After Mr. Panos's concert at Kashiwaki Fureai Center】
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Accompanying Mr. Panos and Raul, we were enchanted with their beautiful tunes.
JEN is committed to working on recovery assistance projects in corporation with representatives of every sector of society.

【Commemorative photo with JEN staffs at JEN Ishinomaki office】
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November 1, 2012 in Tohoku Earthquake |

Global Hand Washing Day

In 2008, the International Year of Sanitation, October 15th was decided to be the Global Hand Washing Day to promote the correct method of washing hands. Since then, activities related to this day have taken place in Afghanistan, as well as in other countries, every year.

Many children die from diarrhea worldwide. UNICEF has reported that 42% of such diarrhea cases can be prevented by washing hands, so the habit of hand washing can help save lives of many people.

In Japan, we take washing hands for granted, and we have access to safe water everywhere. In other countries, however, there are many places where water supply itself is unavailable, or people are not familiar with sanitary habits. Such situations are causes of diarrhea. In Parwan Province, the Afghan region where JEN operates, there is very little access to safe and clean water, and correct sanitary habits have not taken root in the society. As a result, diarrhea is one of the most widespread diseases among children.

On October 15th 2012, JEN collaborated with the Department of Education, schools and the local community in Parwan Province, and held an event to promote sanitation. It took place at five schools (Zarbia High School, Abozar Ghafari High School, Jabul Siraj Girls High School, Gul Bahar No.1 Girls High School and Haji Khairudin Girls Middle School) in Siraj District, JEN’s project site.

(At  Jabul Siraj Girls High School)
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(At Zarbia High School)
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The event was held from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and participants were consisted of the head and representative staff members from the Department of Education, community leaders, school teachers and students. The aim of the event was to have the students enjoy learning sanitary facts, as well as the importance of putting them into practice, so it included activities such as songs, skits, role-plays, quizzes, and a contest featuring pictures of hand washing, which the students drew as part of their summer homework.

The program started by reciting phrases from the Koran, followed by a headmaster’s speech on the importance of sanitary habits. Students then sang a song which carries a message promoting sanitary education, written and composed by JEN staff and the schools.

(Washing hands alongside the chorus)
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After the chorus, the head of the Department of Education talked about the importance of washing hands with soap, as well as the history of Global Hand Washing day. In promoting sanitary habits, students played skits prepared themselves, and did role-plays. The quiz session was full of excitement; the students had much fun competing for correct answers.

A picture contest featuring the students’ summer homework also took place, and prizes were given to the winners.

(Pictures in the contest)
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At this Global Hand Washing Day event, with the students’ active participation and enjoyable learning methods, we successfully raised the their awareness to the importance of sanitation.

JEN will utilize the feedback and lessons of this first event, and aims to create an even better Global Hand Washing day event next year, so that children can be more familiar with sanitation facts, keep putting sanitary habits into practice, and improve their health conditions.

November 1, 2012 in Afghanistan |