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08/18/2016

Young Women From Across Eastern Japan Show Their Power

A total of 20 women aged between 19 and 41 from quake-hit areas in eastern Japan met at Hoshuan, a workshop remodeled from an old residence surrounded by forest located 30 minutes by car from Japan Railway Koriyama Station.

Their fields of study engaged by the women cover a broad range of areas including support for raising children, support for learning, town revitalization, incubation, work-life balance. Despite the different areas of study,  these have one thing in common - they are addressing the social challenges that disaster-hit areas are facing.

Each participant brought their own challenges to the workshop, such as how to implement projects, run organizations, build relationships within communities. The workshop filled with great excitement amoung the participants as each worked through solutions open and honest discussion with the other participants.

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Women’s Eye, the non-profit corporation based in the city of Tome in Miyagi Prefecture, organized this workshop named Easter Japan Grass Roots Women’s Academy in Fukushima. The workshop is meant for young women engaging in supportive activities in disaster-hit areas and is supported by JEN through the provision of planning, funding, and follow-up assistance.

Click here for more information about Women’s Eyes

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Ms. Asako Osaki, an expert on gender, assumed important roles in planning the facilitating the workshop, as well as serving as a lecturer on the second day 2.

What need is there for providing these women with opportunities to build and enhance their co-operation through such as this?

The answer lies in what is currently happening in the disaster-hit areas.

Now that NPO’s and NGO’s from outside have left the disaster-hit areas, the local residents are left to take a leading role in continuing the recovery efforts through their own activities in the form of NPO’s or social businesses. We have many young women among those locals who are either long-time residents, who left where they living to return to their hometowns after finding their hometowns in crisis, or who relocated to disaster-hit areas after visiting there to engage in supportive activities.

Five years after the earthquake, the locals are confronted by variety of challenges in carrying out recovery such as how to effectively run an organization, sustain their activities. Among the locals, women, especially young women, are often left to find their own way and are not provided with adequate advice or support overcome challenges, particularly when undertaking new projects.

The life style of women in their teenage years through of their40’s differs radically with age, and so it’s not easy for them to continue their activities.

Creating support networks for young women who are leading the recovery effort in disaster-hit areas in a new and different way is becoming increasingly important. Opportunities such as the Easter Japan Grass Roots Women’s Academy in Fukushima have provided those women with increased possibilities for their future endeavours.

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August 18, 2016 in Tohoku Earthquake |