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05/26/2016

Delivered Bathing Kits

Many of the earthquake survivors lost all their belongings, even though it is little things for example bathing goods. Hygiene-related support for them will become essential since the rainy season is approaching in Kumamoto where well-known for humid and hot weather is.

JEN delivered sixty sets of bathing kits consist of shampoo, soap and so on provided by ALBION Co. Ltd., who specialises cosmetics and skin care products, to a community center in the Nishi Ward of Kumamoto City.

As of May, about sixty people were living in the community center. Unlike young people who could move around by their own, elderly people had little opportunities of taking a bath since the earthquake due to the health problems. The kits were useful for them as a shower facility was set up in the community center at the end of the month. In the centre, one of staff who supports the survivors said delightfully “the bathing goods are very useful”.

JEN will continue supporting the survivors’ live safely and healthily.

【The bathing kits were given to the survivors.】

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【JEN staff is explaining what the kits were.】
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【The items of ALBION’s donation lined up from left to right are: body cream, body milk, liquid soap, body soap, conditioner, shampoo. 】
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【JEN’s staff is explaining our current activities in Kumamoto Prefecture to a prefectural official.】
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May 26, 2016 in Kumamoto |

Tropical Cyclone Roanu hits Sri Lanka

Between 14-16 May 2016, Sri Lanka was it by a major Tropical Cyclone Roanu.  Roanu brought unprecedented amount of rain to many parts of Sri Lanka, causing landslides and floods in the central and eastern part of Sri Lanka. From the disaster, 92 people were confirmed dead and 132 people were missing, with the number expected to rise. 

Out of all districts, Colombo and Gampaha districts were particularly heavily affected by the flood due to the overflowing of Kelani River and other canals. In both Colombo and Gampaha, more than 300,000 people were displaced at the peak. The number of displaced people is decreasing as the water recedes and people return to their homes.

In order to understand the situation better, JEN conducted a 2-day rapid needs assessment in Gampaha and Colombo, visiting heavily affected areas and shelters where people are still displaced.  Even after a week since the rain had stopped, many affected areas were still under few feet of water with some areas only accessible by boat. 

In Kolonnawa division where we visited, people were still stranded on the roof and the community had arranged a daily delivery of food, water and medicine by boat. 

During the needs assessment, it became clear that one of the major risks of flooding is the hygiene-related and health risks that the water brings. 
In many areas, the water had mixed with the dirty black water, which created a major health hazard to those who were displaced and are returning to the area. People had expressed that they are getting skin rashes or diarrhea having gone into water to access their homes. 
In order to prevent prolonging health risks after the water has receded, personal hygiene items such as soap and washing powder, as well as cleaning items like disinfectants are greatly needed.

[Flood-affected area in Kelaniya, Gampaha] 
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[Much water remains in Wattala, Gampaha]
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Though the situation is dire, we also witnessed the strength of local government and local communities to come together to provide assistance to those who are in need.  In all of the areas we visited, the local government and community reacted quickly to provide immediate assistance of food, water and temporary shelter. 

In areas where the local government had not reached, the communities were arranging their own relief activities. Now they are in the second phase where most people are returning to their homes. 

For low-income families who have lost almost everything, assistance is needed to help them resettle back into their normal lives.
          
[Community delivering water, food and medicine]
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[Half-submerged house in Kaduwella, Colombo]
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[This place is usually a road]
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[Temporary shelter set up by the government]
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【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE here

May 26, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

For hygienic life

JEN staff facilitating discussion with CHP (community hygiene promoter) group. The next date for hygiene kits distribution as well as issues that might arise in summer time were discussed.

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CHP is a group of camp residents who volunteer for maintenance of hygienic environment of the camp.

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【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE here

May 26, 2016 in Iraq |

JEN Provides Necessary Goods for Egao

Early this May, nearly 300 evacuation shelters have been consolidated into 22 base shelters in the city of Kumamoto. However, quite a few people have not yet left their original shelters, since they were unwilling to share new shelters with strangers or to live far from home. As a result, many of the shelters that were supposed to be canceled remain unclosed.

One of the shelters is located in the building that used to be the office building of Egao, a health food company. JEN has been offering an on-site bath service to this shelter. Besides, recently we also provided aid supplies to help evacuees alleviate the inconvenience of their evacuation lives.

One of the major difficulties is the lack of hot water. Among the total of fifty evacuees living in the shelter, there is only one electric hot-water pot. It is not sufficient for them, for example, to prepare cup noodles. Thus, you can see queues of people waiting in front of the pot, or the pot becoming empty quickly. In order to improve this situation, we provided two extra hot-water pots.

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What’s more, the changing weather also causes problems. As the hot season is coming soon, winter blankets provided for cold nights when they just got evacuated will become unsuitable. So we offered a towel blanket for each evacuee.

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We hope they can extricate themselves from unsettled lives in shelters as soon as possible, but we are afraid that they will have to continue living under these kinds of inconvenience for a while. As a social entrepreneur, Egao dedicated to improving the evacuees’ living conditions, and thus we are committed to assisting its efforts.


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May 26, 2016 in Kumamoto |

05/24/2016

Journey from the Beginning to the End of Life

Today, I would like to talk about enjoying life until the last breath. I think that it is good timing to brace yourself for sorrow or death when you are young and healthy. I decided to talk about this topic this time because I recently encountered the sudden death of a JEN Afghanistan Project Officer, Syed Enayat Ullah.

He served with JEN for 14 years from March 2002, when he started working as a field officer at the Charikar office, to his last moment on 18 March 2016.

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(Photo) Syed Enayat Ullah

Having been diagnosed as having renal failure, he headed to Karachi (the capital of Sindh province of Pakistan) to receive living renal transplantation.
 
The last time I saw him, he looked good. But actually, both of his kidneys were not functioning. Two weeks before his death, he was working as usual and cheerfully having a chat. This unexpected news shocked all staff.

Yet, death comes to everyone eventually. Every now and then I wonder whether mental preparedness to positively accept death may relieve some of the sorrow that we feel. I would like to be prepared like that to stay calm for myself and my loved ones even when something happens.

Samar Butt
Finance & Accounts Assistant
Islamabad Office


【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE here

May 24, 2016 in Afghanistan |

05/19/2016

Transition towards Peace in Khyber Agency, FATA

As of May 3, 2016 total 112,022 families have returned to Khyber agency including 40,094 unregistered families. All the main tribes of Khyber Agency like Sipah, Shalober, Zakha khel, Malik din Khel, Qambar Khel, and Aka Khel have returned except few in Tirah valley and Sher Khel tribe.

As a result of the long unrest in the area, almost all infrastructures like roads, hospitals, schools, government buildings and houses of the populations are damaged either completely or partially. Majority of the families have lost their livelihood sources. The lands are barren, livestock have died or have fled to the mountains and become wild, shops and markets are severely damaged. The people are once again facing difficult circumstances. However this time they are hopeful as they have returned to their homes now. They are feeling secure in their villages. Many of them have plans to restart their own means of living. They are struggling in the agriculture and livestock sectors to resume their dignity.

A number of national and international organizations are already there along with the government departments to support them. Some organizations including JEN have applied for project NOC to the FATA secretariat and are hoping to start their projects soon. These organizations are working in different sectors like protection, education, NFIs, health, WASH, Nutrition, Food security and Livelihood etc.  With support from government and humanitarian actors, the people of Khyber Agency are very hopeful to restart their normal living as before crisis. They believe that their commitment with lives and livelihoods will transform eventually into a sustainable peace in Khyber Agency.


[Damaged house in Khyber Agency]
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[Agricultural land rehabilitated in Khyber Agency]
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[Community based water reservoir for irrigation]
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[Community receiving Agriculture tool kit]
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【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE here

May 19, 2016 in Pakistan |

05/12/2016

The pride as a nation

In the Kurdish autonomous region in the northern part of Iraq, where our JEN staff is working, you can often see the national flag of Kurdistan.

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Red expresses blood of people who fought for their national freedom and lost their lives, white expresses peace and equality, and green expresses the nature around their region, while the sun sending out 21 rays of light brightly in the center of the flag means a light of life.
(The number 21 is said to have an important meaning for the Yazidis among Kurdish people).

It is said that the Kurdish people is the largest ethnic group with no land of their own in present time. There are 30 million Kurds worldwide, of which a large proportion lives in the border area of Iraq, Turkey and Syria, and also in Azerbaijan etc. 
(It is said that there is a Kurdish community in Warabi city of Saitama prefecture).   

National flags can be seen everywhere, such as in the streets, on the sides of city hall, on car bumpers, or on the surface of mountains. You realize how strong the pride of the Kurdish people is when you see all these flags.

< Over the streets>
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<On the sides of the city hall and slopes of the mountain>
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Well, the 20th~23rd of this March was Nowruz, which are the most important national holidays of the year to Kurdish people.
New Year in Iranian calendar is generally known as the coming of spring, but Kurdish Nowruz is celebrated for the liberation from Assyrian domination, which lasted long in ancient times=the coming spring to the nation.
During the Nowruz week, most of the stores are closed and families go on picnic or set off fireworks. On the Nowruz holidays, it is said that there is a tradition of making a flame, which is a symbol of freedom, and then to jump over it. However, this tradition could not be seen near JEN’s office.


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(The source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newroz as celebrated by Kur. (4).jpg)

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(The source: http://www.ibitimes.co.uk/nowruz-photos-kurdish-new-year-celebrations-iraq-afghanistan-greek-refugee-camp-1550720)

Japan has some holidays of the state (such as National Foundation day, Showa Day, Constitution Day), but doesn’t have a day which praises its own people.
Maybe this shows the difference between two countries: Japan, an almost racially homogenous island nation, and Iraq, a multiracial nation connected with other countries by land.     


【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE here

May 12, 2016 in Iraq |

Introduction of Sri Lanka office staff (Field staff)

In continuation from the past blog, we will introduce local staff from Sri Lanka. We will introduce field and back office staff in Kilinochchi and Mullaitive offices.

Mr. Suresh – Project Officer, responsible for the projects in Kilinochchi and Mullaitive.

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I was born in Jaffna. I graduated high school and technical college. I fled from Jaffna due to the civil war in 1995, and I had no choice but to go overseas because job opportunity and public security were unstable in my country. I learned various skills abroad. Having worked as a mechanic for three years, I worked for a hotel for seven years. After the end of the civil war, I came back to Sri Lanka and settled in Vavuniya, the northern part of the country. Now I try to spend as much time as possible with my son and daughter.

Getting a job at Sevalanka, Sri Lanka's NGO, made me start my career in the field of humanitarian support. I joined JEN as field officer in 2008 May. Now I work hard everyday as a project officer. I express my gratitude to my colleagues and international staff for giving me a bright future. As business promoter, I have recently been trying to focus on managing time and developing new ideas, as well as motivating the team.

In the future, I want to contribute to the country's green revolution by developing model farms with water saving faculty and connecting local farms with oversea markets.

Mr. Addikallam – Field officer at Mullaitive office; responsible for the cooperation with other support entities.

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My name is Addikallam. I have been a field officer of JEN since 2012. I am 36 years old and am from Vavuniya. My family business is farming. I fled from Vavuniya in 1990 due to the civil war, and entered a catholic theologian school to become a priest. I studied there for three years, but left it in order to support my family, who had become refugees. In 2009, when the civil war ended, I came back to Vavuniya, and got a job as a counselor at an NGO providing mental and social support. After that, I obtained a qualification at “National Institute of Social Development” for my career enhancement in the field of humanitarian support. In 2011, I joined an NGO named ORHAN, which supports disabled people. Besides that, I started farming at home.

Since I got a job at JEN, I have learned various skills in agriculture, such as composting by organic farming, making organic fertilizer and saving agricultural water. JEN has been supporting livelihood rehabilitation assistance through farming in the northern part of the country since 2013. I contributed to the project's success by the use of my background as farmer and the knowledge I had learned in JEN.

The project from 2016 to 2017 will cover the towns of Thanduvan and Ampakamam in Oddusuddan, Mullaitive. They used to be flourishing agricultural areas before the civil war. Yet the residents fled due to the war, and the facilities in need for farming were totally destroyed. JEN is now conducting preliminary survey in order to prioritize the support targets. I am proud of helping people who lost everything in the war recover their livelihood again.

Ms. Gamini  – accountant at Killinochchi office

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Hello. I am Gaminieesa. I have been working for JEN's Killinochchi office as accountant since 2015. I find it rewarding to work together with people in need and provide support to weakened communities. I am also pleased to learn new skills and techniques.

Though my specialty is basically accounting, I have been responsible for general affairs, accounting and logistics at the scenes of emergency support. I used to take care of a shelter program in UN-Habitat for a short time, though. It was a precious experience that I had a chance to talk directly with the victims in the civil war through the program.

I am grateful to JEN for its support to refugees and returnees since 2004, as well as the Japanese people for making the support possible. I am proud of helping the victims of the tsunami and the civil war. I also hope that JEN's projects support more people.

Ms. Gaya– general affairs staff at Killinochchi office

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Hello everyone! I am Gaya. I am from Vavuniya. I have been working for JEN as general affairs staff since this February. I started my career in the field of humanitarian support since I worked for Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) as general affairs staff for three years. My job in FSD was to remove land mines embedded during the civil war, and provide land mine education with the local communities. After FSD, I worked for UN-Habitat as database operator for three years. UN-Habitat conducts a shelter projects for the returnees.

In the future, I hope to continue to support suffering communities in the northern part of the country.

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.
DONATE here

May 12, 2016 in Sri Lanka |

05/07/2016

To Debris Clearing Volunteers: Here are Your Protective Shoes!

The earthquake has caused different levels of the devastation of residential buildings in Kumamoto. Volunteers’ support is essential regarding the extensive damage. However, walking through debris in thin-soled sneakers is awfully dangerous. There were even reports about volunteers getting injured after stepping on a nail in the ruins.

Thanks to supports from Keen (shoe maker), Japan Platform (aid organization) and others, JEN is finally able to lend protective shoes to those dedicated volunteers who help victims with rubble removal.

Protective shoes get distributed to volunteers through Kumamoto City Council of Social Welfare responsible for recruiting, assigning work to, and dispatching volunteers. This picture was taken at the volunteer center of Higashi Ward.

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Keen’s employee explained the importance of protective shoes to everyone, while Mr. Takeda, Keen’s representative was also present. ↓

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With assistance from OPEN Japan, a disaster-relief organization, we also lent protective shoes to volunteers working with heavy machinery in the hardest-hit Mashiki Town. We plan to provide the same service to volunteers in Minamiaso Village as well.

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↑Devastated Mahiki Town

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↑We visited Mashiki Town to distribute protective shoes (JEN’s staff is pictured left).

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Here is a precious photo picturing our amazing volunteers with protective shoes on, along with Mr. Takeda from Keen and JEN’s staff. ↑

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↑We provide the protective shoes to volunteers according to their shoe sizes.

The role of volunteers will become increasingly important in the recovery process. If you want to take part in the volunteer work, please check out the website of Kumamoto City Council of Social Welfare(Japanese). Groups of more than ten people can register in advance through simple steps (individual participants are surely welcomed).



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May 7, 2016 in Kumamoto |

05/02/2016

JEN Started to Provide Bath Services

There are still people in shelters in Higashi Ward unable to take a bath due to various reasons. Therefore, JEN prepared a vehicle equipped with shower facilities and started providing soothing shower services to such evacuees.

On that day, we set up a portable shower room on the rooftop of an evacuation center, which used to be the office building of Egao, a healthy food company.

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First, bath users went through medical examination interview conducted by nurses. After measuring blood pressure and body temperature, nurses asked for their individual physical conditions to make sure that their bodies are functioning normally and check if special assistance is needed.

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↑We got two volunteers from Egao to help us. A nursing stuff is giving lectures to them.

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↑Measuring blood pressure and body temperature

After the medical examination, we provided every bath user with a set of shampoo, conditioner, body soap, and towel.

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↑We received donations of shampoos, conditioners and so on from ALBION, a cosmetics producer.

Time to go to the shower room! JEN’s staff member drives those who have difficulties walking up to the rooftop.

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While people are in the shower, we were standing by outside in case they need any assistance.

↓JEN’s staff and volunteers

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Some evacuees told us they had lacked the chances to take a bath for a long time after the earthquake, except washing hair once at a hair salon. The late-coming first shower made them gleeful.

We delivered ALBION’s donation products like shampoos to those living in the shelter as well as others in need. They were very pleased by the prompt supplement.

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May 2, 2016 in Kumamoto |