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The Next Big Challenge: The Refugees’ Return

During the past three decades many Afghans have migrated to Pakistan, Iran, and other countries as refugees in order to flee from the conflict in their home. This conflict and diaspora has deprived them of a normal life.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan, and this has become a major humanitarian crisis. These people have a variety of problems, including that they have returned to a place where violence is an everyday occurrence and where they have to cope with severe winters.

Since the beginning of 2016, millions of people have returned to their countries of origin. Many of them had lived in foreign countries for decades. For this reason, they need assistance from the government and humanitarian organizations immediately after their return.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 239,724 unregistered refugees have returned to their home as of December 3, 2016. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and IOM a large majority (80%) of the returnees have indicated a preference to return to Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

The cultural similarities between Nangarhar and adjacent areas of Pakistan inspire this preference, as well as the refugees’ limited ties to their areas of origin after their prolonged absence.

Unfortunately however, less than 12% of unregistered returnees have reported that they have received some form of assistance, with the majority having received money and/or food.

In order to understand their current conditions, the JEN Afghanistan Team has met with some returnee households with the other international humanitarian organization, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), and the Department of Refugees and Repatriations of Parwan (DoRR Parwan).

It is apparent that there is not sufficient infrastructural support for the large number of returnees, and the arrival of the severe winter cold is the main concern.
[JEN staff collecting basic information from returnees]

[Severe winter is making the conditions worse for returnees]

[There are not enough infrastructures for returnees]

December 22, 2016 in Afghanistan |

The life told by Salma bibi, a participant in JEN’s activity

Salma bibi is a woman who lives in Bara area of Khaybar division with her 4 children.This is the area where JEN is working for the people who came back home. Her husband died 8 years ago while her family was forced to become refugees.

In 2008, Salma bibi’s family escaped to Peshawar from their home land. After her husband died, she says, she faced some hardships for 6 years during the life in the refuse. Before becoming refugees, they had 3 cattle and 2 goats, all of which they had to sell cheaply to make a living.

After peace returned to their village, the government started registration procedures on refugee families. After having her name registered as a female head of the family, she returned home.

JEN chose her village as a subject of support Salma bibi , who had her name registered as a subject of support, received a cow, 3 bags of nutritious feed and a bag of insecticide.

[Villagers are accepting a cow]

The cow given to Salma bibi was in the late month of pregnancy and gave birth to a bull a week after she accepted it. She was very happy because the birth of a bull made it possible to get 3-4 liters of milk a day.

[A baby bull is clothed over as protection against the cold]

Before receiving the aid, she was financially incapable of surviving daily life. Neighbors shared milk and yoghurt with her. Since she accepted and milked a cow, she has been able to lead a daily life at ease.

JEN advised her on how to properly take care of the cattle (such as proper feeding and watering or maintaining its health) to produce more milk.

From now on, JEN is going to carry out a two-day detailed training for cattle control in co-operation with the Cattle-Breeding Bureau.

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

December 22, 2016 in Pakistan |

A Thank You Letter for JEN’s Efforts in Kumamoto from Mashiki’s Mayor

It is our pleasure to report to everyone who has helped us that we have received this honorable letter from the mayor of Mashiki expressing his appreciation for our support following the Kumamoto earthquake that struck the town on April 16, 2016.


December 22, 2016 in Kumamoto |

Asukuma Project Comes to End

The members of the Asukuma Project have been working to address challenges to businesses in disaster situations for two months since the Project’s inception. The final workshop took place from December 2nd through 3rd.
【The final workshop】
A total of 20 participants came up with 11 issues to be addressed. Some issues were brought to light by the earthquake and other issues were revealed during the Project activities. Importantly, the participants considered what kind of business would be able to survive natural disasters.
【A presentation on how to promote the Project】
This presentation was a compilation of participant’s efforts over the past two months to consider the challenges involved with building sustainable businesses. These efforts evolved into their business plans. To help them flesh out their business plans, JEN has kept a close eye on their development.

December 22, 2016 in Kumamoto |

One and One Makes Two or More: What partnership-based project is all about

Reports from the government often paradoxically refer to the earthquake-affected regions in Tohoku as “a pioneering region in the emergence of ahead-of-its-time problems.” Indeed, the region is facing challenges in tackling a diversity of problems that either were worsened by or surfaced after the earthquake.

These are:
- Demographic aging accelerated by the disaster;
- Emergence of people who got separated from their families;
- Growing concern for poverty and isolation surfaced after the disaster; and
- Lack of stable jobs.

Trusting the resilience of people involved  and their communities, seven local organizations are squarely accepting the challenges in a progressive manner that was unthinkable before the disaster.

JEN aligned with the organizations from three prefectures and is supporting  financially and providing technical assistance.
We are not simply a donor. Having shared a vision that “leave no one behind, in efforts to rebuild the affected areas,” We are deeply involved with these organizations in operation.

JEN support them:
(1) Plan their activities;
(2) Monitor their progress and assess the results of their activities, and;
(3) Improve their capabilities to cope with challenges through custom-made trainings or building a network of contacts.
JEN held a partner meeting in Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture on December 14th and 15th, 2016, bringing together all the partners for the first time and providing a workshop on how to run operations or organizations where they can share other partners’ knowledge.

Even if our partners are diverse, ranging from infants to the elderly, the partners are the same in that they seek to create a society where no one left behind in efforts to rebuild the affected areas.
<The participants were trying to develop team -building with fun>

<The partner meeting brought together JEN’s partners>

They trust the resilience of individuals and their communities. The participants of the workshop said:
“We could see possibilities to work with other organizations that have different perspective from us; we came to realize new challenges facing us.”
“Some projects appeared irrelevant to us at first, but I came to realize they also are trying not to leave anyone marginalized. Thus, it made us want to try harder. We are motivated.”

We got some other opinions: JEN’s involvement on the early planning stage helped us clarify the significance of our efforts, use an objective evaluation that looks at our results, and expand our cooperation with other organizations.

JEN partners with an organization in an effort to not only combine both performance  but also multiply the performance by many times just like throwing many birds with one stone until infinity, if possible.

This is achieved through coming up with necessary public services in order to realize a society where no one would not be left behind in efforts to rebuild the affected areas.

JEN is committed to playing a role in working with  the partnership function more synergistically.
<A group photo of the participants>

【JEN is now asking for donations. Click here to donate】

December 22, 2016 in Tohoku Earthquake |


Hygiene education for teachers and students

One of the key activities JEN is carrying out in Iraq is the hygiene education for teachers and students. JEN is aiming at raising their awareness towards hygiene, health, and the environment, in addition to improving their families’ hygienic habits through proper education.

[The hygiene education posters displayed in a school]

With the cooperation of the Ministry of Education, JEN has put together hygiene leaflets for elementary and junior high school students.
In addition, the posters to be displayed in schools have been prepared, and a special training curriculum for elementary and junior high school teachers has been introduced.

The leaflets and posters have already been printed and distributed to the teachers. It is expected that these materials will help improve the hygienic environment of the schools in conjunction with the cleaning equipment that has already been distributed to each school.

[The hygiene education leaflet distributed to each school]

[The leaflet for teachers]

[A hygiene education session for school personnel]

Since it is recognized that hygiene education is vital for keeping the children in good health, JEN has been giving lessons to elementary school students on brushing their teeth and washing their hands.

[A hand-washing lesson]

[A tooth-brushing lesson]

The representatives of the Ministry of Education, school governors, teachers, and students have expressed their gratitude to JEN for promoting hygiene education.

A school official thanked JEN by giving a cake on which “JEN” was written as a present. That official has told us that he expects JEN’s activities will be conducted in as many schools as possible in all regions of Iraq.

[The cake given by the school as a present]

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


December 15, 2016 in Iraq |

Revitalization in Thampakamam area

Time flies, and 2016 is almost over. I would like to report on developments in the Thampakamam area of Kilinochchi District, where JEN is providing assistance through a local project.

The Thampakamam area had been under military control until quite recently. The land was handed back to former residents in December 2015, who started coming back to resume their lives in the area in January 2016. Houses, water sources, and vegetation were destroyed by intense combat during the civil war.

Since the area was held by the military following the end of the war, there had been no sign of reconstruction even 6 years after the war. When JEN visited the area in May 2016 for a baseline survey of the income, poverty levels, and living conditions of the project participants, what we found there was a desert, which is not supposed to exist in Sri Lanka.

About 155 families in the area were dependent on two public wells built by the government and two water tanks supplying 2000 litres each day, so it was impossible to secure enough water for agriculture.

Many of the houses were simple structures of thin concrete walls covered with palm leaves or tin sheets, and some of the families were still living in tents.

[Thampakamam area in May 2016]

After seven months, most of the families have started building their houses with government support. The construction of 13 wells supported by JEN was completed in October, and we are in the final stage of construction of the agricultural cooperative association center, which is designed for people in the community to gather and work together.

The rainy season started in November, and large-scale agriculture was resumed for the first time in this area after the civil war.

Farming activities are taking place using seeds and seedlings distributed in late November, as well as water retrieved from the wells. In the Thampakamam area, which had been covered by sand back in May, we can now see houses, wells, fences set up between houses, and a green landscape thanks to resumed agriculture.

It gives JEN staff delight and a sense of achievement to see the extent of development carried out by the residents in such a short period.

[Construction of wells in the Thampakamam area]

[Kids excited with distribution of seeds and seedlings]

2016 was a year of many changes for the residents of Thampakamam area. Also for JEN’s Sri Lanka team, it was a year of much learning through working step by step with the local people for enriched lives in the community. 4 months remain until the completion of JEN’s current project.

Many tasks remain for JEN, including establishing an agricultural cooperative and boosting its activities, and further promoting agriculture.

JEN’s staff are committed to working together with the local people to strengthen the community’s self-reliance, and looking forward to contributing to their development and sharing their joy in the coming April.

We appreciate your continuous support through 2017.

[Participants of the project in the Thampakamam area]       

[Vegetation coming back to the Thampakamam area]

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

December 15, 2016 in Sri Lanka |


Establishment of School Management Committee (SMC)

The main work of SMC is finding solutions and meeting demands in school. The committee mostly consists of parents, teachers, school principal, and village elders. Its members accept some roles in maintenance and management of school, thereby making the connection between the school and people involved with it.

JEN sets up SMCs for 30 supporting schools. Their members are from the Department of Education and the National Emergency Operation Center as well. JEN conducted disaster prevention and mitigation measures, along with hygiene education for the SMCs. Moreover, it held seminars on account and equipment management.

The SMC mainly manages the budget and arrangements with people involved for the maintenance and management of the school. In addition, the SMC manages teacher training for disaster prevention and mitigation measures, as well as hygiene education. The SMC also makes connection with investors, the government and the NGOs.

Main Shakh female school has a water tank and a well, but the handle of the well’s pump has been broken for many years, so it couldn’t be used for clean water. Therefore, JEN held seminars on account and equipment management, and instructed how to deal with this sort of problems and find solutions. Ultimately, the SMC succeeded in collecting donations from teachers and students, and repaired the well. Thus, the school finally regained access to clean water.

【Taken during the seminar on account management and hygiene education for the SMC in male high school】
【Taken during the seminar on account management and hygiene education for the SMC in female high school】

Bayan male school, which was constructed by Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), hadn’t paved the sidewalk inside the school, thereby making it difficult for students to use it. However, the establishment of SMC helped the school to collect donations for sidewalk pavement and some of the local community also helped by providing labor.

【Sidewalk paved by the SMC】

It shows that all the students, along with the local community and the connected people are responsible for the maintenance and management of the school, security, and tree-planting in its ground.
【Flower bed planted by the SMC】

The establishment of the SMC and the seminars conducted brought great benefits to JEN and the Department of Education.

JEN Charikar office
Field Officer  Sultan Mohammad Khamoush

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

December 8, 2016 in Afghanistan |

First distribution of relief supplies to the returnees in Bara area of Khaybar division within the FATA

In order to help recover from the economic difficulty the returnees in Bara area of Khaybar division are experiencing, first distribution of cows and feed was carried out on November 29th, 2016.

A total of 16 people received one cow, three vanda (feed for nutritional support) and one anthelmintic each.

Distribution was conducted in accordance with the procedure decided in advance. Prior to the distribution, JEN’s livestock officer explained how to take care of the cow at home to the recipients. The contents of explanation include how to bring cows safely to their homes, how to give feed or water, and how to prepare for the cow’s shelter.

[Distribution of the cow]

On the day before distributing cows, we gave exchange tickets to the participants, as well as a notice regarding date/time, place and arrangement for transportation. In addition, we explained the purpose of this support and the role of participants and other people involved, including JEN and the livestock bureau.

[Previous day’s briefing regarding distribution of cows]

We conducted quarantine before providing exchange tickets. As a result, we found out that two cows were not in good condition. Therefore, we replaced them with other two healthy cows.

Furthermore, in cooperation with the livestock bureau, JEN gave vaccination to all of cows along with parasite removal. By doing so, the livestock bureau granted distribution of all the cows.

[Distribution of exchange tickets]

This project is going to be implemented in three steps from 2016 to 2018. This time, in addition to the distribution of cows, we are planning to conduct artificial insemination and improve skill for management of cows with the aim of recovering livelihood.

[Cow and feed for nutritional support to be distributed]

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

December 8, 2016 in Pakistan |


Our School, Our Home

At the beginning of 2016, the Ministry of Education of Iraq called on both the Department of Environmental Education and the Department of School Health to conduct a campaign for cleaning up schools with local governments. Letters of invitation to participate on this project were extended to related NGOs, and the campaign was entitled “Our School, Our Home”.

The Ministry of Education and schools have been paying special attention to school hygienic environment and acknowledge its importance. One of the aims of this project was to create a learning environment safe and healthy to students and teachers.

JEN offered cleaning equipments and materials to schools and contributed much to the success of this campaign.

[Campaign banner by JEN and the Ministry of Education]

[JEN staff explaining the importance of hygienic environment]

Before the start of the campaign, we cleaned up the schools all day long together with officers from the Ministry of Education. We have received compliments from many organizations for our active participation and project implementation.

[Students cleaning the school garden]

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

December 1, 2016 in Iraq |

Record Growth of Stray Dogs

The presence of animals is an essential part of life in Sri Lanka. Since there are many farmers in the north, you can see buffalos, cows, goats and poultry all used in daily farming. The most common animal to see are dogs.

Watch dogs are very important in the north of the country as, despite the recovery efforts underway, many homes don’t have doors, windows, or yards surrounded by walls due to the destruction the north suffered during the civil war.

Different from Japan, dog owners generally let their dogs remain free to roam
, despite not spaying or neutering them.  As a result, there are many stray dogs. There is no animal shelter or place to take care of stray dogs and so the stray dogs have to survive by scavenging food from garbage.

Previously, JEN’s Sri Lanka office saved 4 puppies, each about 1 to 2 months of age, and, while looking for new homes to adopt these puppies, JEN’s staff raised the dogs at their own expense. Each puppy, not having a parent or a person to look after them, lived in hunger and in unsanitary conditions leading them to get fleas and roundworms as well as skin diseases.

Now, after a month of being with JEN, they have completely changed. We are temporarily taking care of these dogs until they are adopted by a stable home, but we are happy to see puppies with different personalities growing together.

[Brother and sister puppies “Momo” and “Big brother”]

[”Hime”, the third puppy to come to our office, and newcomer “Kuromaro”. Kuromaro will be adopted by the local staff and Hime is now preparing to go to Japan]

Last week we decided to take the brother and sister puppies which first came to our office to the Subramanyam family living in Anaiviluntan locality, which have joined with JEN programs. They say they can take care of puppies responsibly as they are able to obtain more income through farming after they complete their water well.

This family first came to Kilinochchi from Kandy during the 1970’s persecution by the government. They evacuated to Vavuniya in 2009 during the civil war and came back to Anaiviluntan after a year. They used to live in a house made of soil and coconut leaves at the time as they lost their house in the war.

Today they have built a house with assistance from the government and are raising 3 goats and some chickens. Also they can fully undertake their farming using the water well, with the expectation that it will increase their income. We are looking forward to seeing the puppies grow with the family.

[Living happily in the Subramanyam family with the new names “Tommy” and “Puppy”]

[With the water well which JEN supported]

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

December 1, 2016 in Sri Lanka |