« May 2017 | Main | July 2017 »


The Effect of the Field Study

Because of the operation to clear the militant groups in Pakistan, many people were forced to evacuate. These people who had left are slowly returning home. The details can be found here.

Under this situation, JEN is working on a livelihood improvement project through livestock development for the people returning to Khyber Agency, a tribal area in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), with the cooperation of the supporters and the Japanese government. 

This project is now in its second year. During the first year, we picked a small number of dairy farmers to support their change from traditional farming to one that can produce more cash-generating products. Therefore, we planned a field study and had 10 participants. In this field study, we visited various dairy farms and learned about livestock housing, feeding, milking, vaccinating, parasite control, and caring for calves.

One of the participants, Said Karam, was impressed and decided to construct a livestock hut. He asked for advice from JEN's staff in charge and the staff provided the required information, and then the hut was constructed.

[Constructing the livestock hut]


Previously, one of his rooms was used as a livestock hut and he did not bother about ventilation and hygiene. The livestock management program provided by JEN gave the opportunity to learn about the importance of constructing livestock housing and he was convinced of it during the field study.

[The livestock in the new hut]

He felt great to be able to build a livestock hut by himself. He began paying attention to his livestock by providing better nutrition and hydration, and preventing diseases through immunization and parasite control.

Neighbors that visited him asked about the costs and the materials required for a livestock hut. They will probably build their own livestock huts later but there are many people who cannot afford it. Mr. Said Karam asks JEN to support those people.

[The dairy farmers]

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

June 29, 2017 in Pakistan |

Giving lectures on nursing care for men in a remote island with an aging rate of 70%

Following the previous issue, this column is about nursing care classes for men.
Located at the western edge of Ojika peninsula, Ajishima is an island with a population of 400 people, boasting a beach with the clearest waters in Miyagi prefecture and a rich fishing ground. It takes an hour by car from central Ishinomaki, and an additional 20 minutes from there by ferry.

[Staff moving from the wharf to the venue]

The island used to be prosperous as the base of a deep-sea fishing industry, but now 70% of its population is the elderly. Many of them wish to spend the last years of their lives on their home island. But social resources like nursing care facilities are limited. So mutual support of citizens is the key to make their wishes come true.

For many of the men living on the island, work is equated to their meaning of life, human relations, and hobbies. In other words, they may be isolated when they become ill or incapable of working or fishing.

“They should know how to handle emergency situations, have someone whom they can confide in and have friends who can help one another. Such daily mutual support is important to enrich their lives”, say Amishou Hospital and Ojika Community Integrated Support Center who are involved in building the community-based integrated care system.

So, on June 22, JEN and its partner “Otokono Kaigo Kyoshitsu” started the men’s nursing care class for the first time in Ajishima.

[Briefing before the class]

The assembly room in Amishou Hospital, which used to be an elementary school in the middle of two villages, is the venue for the class.

Elderly men in their 60s to 90s arrive at the classroom equipped with food ingredients and cooking utensils brought by the Otokono Kaigo Kyoshitsu staff early in the morning from Ojika Peninsula.

[The entire staff meeting in front of the kitchen utensils brought in]

[Sorting ingredients for easy usage]

After the lecture from a dietitian, they started cooking. The participants, all men, made balanced meals using canned and frozen good. They had very good knife skills.

The participants said that they joined the deep-sea fishery crew after graduation from junior high school and worked in the kitchen for the first two years. The meals were instantly ready. The staff and participants enjoyed the time together by talking about their work while on board the fishing vessels, and their lives on the island.

After the meal, dentist Dr. Kawase gave a talk about dental care and health. He explained the importance of maintaining a good oral health, which can also lead to a healthy life, while making the audience laugh with his jokes.

[Dr. Kawase giving lecture]

3 hours passed so quickly.
The participants said,
“It was like a young man’s association.”
“I had a great meal with everyone.”
“I could talk to a person that I don’t usually speak to.”

[The participants]

When asked if they would come the next time, many of them raised their hands.

The community-based integrated care system aims for the happiness of elderly to the last moment of their lives in their home ground by mutual support.

The nursing care class in Ajishima indicated how this community and other communities in aging Japan should be directed.

June 29, 2017 in Tohoku earthquake |

Feast of the moon for Allah: second part

Muslims have meals twice during the Ramadan; they are referred to as Sahari and Iftar.

The meal two hours before sunrise is called Sahari. Since they fast during the daytime, Sahari is important to prevent high blood pressure or dehydration.

Many of the Afghans eat a kind of rice and drink tea to take in high calories.

They worship God after the Sahari. As worshipping before sunrise is considered to be most valuable, they worship longer in order to have a close connection with God


Muslims stop fasting after sunset and take a meal named Iftar. They wait anxiously for Iftar.

Following the tradition, they drink juice, milk and water. They prepare delicious dishes and desserts for Iftar.

In particular, Afghans eat kebab, pilaf, rice porridge and traditional soup and drink tea.

After eating, they reflect on the meaning of Ramadan.

Connecting with the society is one of the most important roles of Ramadan.

They enjoy having a good time with their family during Ramadan and they invite relatives, friends, and neighbors for Iftar. Muslims regard guests as friends of God.

After finishing 30 days of fasting, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr. This is an important Muslim holiday in the Islamic world.

In addition, there is another custom to distribute foods among the poor when celebrating Eid al-Fitr. People go to the mosque and pray to God in the early morning, and then they celebrate Eid al-Fitr with family and friends.

Zuhra Afshar
Field Officer
JEN Afghanistan

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

June 29, 2017 in Afghanistan |


Repair work of school buildings has been completed

Repair work of some schools buildings scheduled to be repaired this year has been completed.
Fully repaired basins of a bathroom in Baghdad School in Baghdad Province.
Fully repaired bathroom in the same school in Baghdad.
Fully repaired basin in a school in Babil Province.
JEN will continue to carry out repair work in schools located in four provinces.

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

June 22, 2017 in Iraq |

[Floods and landslides] State of damage in the central Ratnapura District—the investigators’ report—

The tropical cyclone that struck Sri Lanka on May 24 and 25 brought huge damage to the central and southern parts of the country just as last year.

The floods and landslides that occurred in the 12 districts in Sri Lanka killed a total of 213 people, as well as creating over 660,000 victims and more than 70,000 evacuees at its peak. As many as 3,124 buildings were completely destroyed and 20,814 partially destroyed by the disaster, the Sri Lankan Disaster Management Center said.

A team of JEN staff members visited the Ratnapura District in central Sri Lanka, which suffered extensive damage, in order to investigate the state of damage and the local demand after the disaster. Access to the Ratnapura District is bad as it is surrounded by mountains, and assistance is hard to reach. Many people in various parts of the district were affected by landslides as well as flooding.

We visited four counties for investigation, the ones that were most heavily damaged in the district. We interviewed the Disaster Management Center and local government personnel, as well as victims.

[The mountain path stretches endlessly to the investigation site; a car can barely pass through]

What we learned from the affected people was that the floods and landslides deprived them of their homes, seriously and directly causing damage to some of them. In addition, although they escaped the disaster this time, more than 600 households are forced to evacuate or permanently move out because their houses are located in the landslide danger zones.

They will be given new lands from the government and will receive assistance to build the foundation for new lives. However, some people worry about the situation where they have to abandon the lives they are used to and have to live as evacuees for several months until new lands are allocated.

[A JEN staff member interviewing people living in the evacuation center]

[An extensive landslide destroyed many houses]

[A flash flood caused by a landslide completely destroyed the house]

In Sri Lanka, flooding occurs almost every year due to heavy rain caused by cyclones. Although the scale of damage may vary, we think that the disaster prevention measures need to be tightened in the whole country in order to reduce the number of victims in the future.

Based on the results of our investigation, we are considering the feasibility of starting a new emergency assistance project.

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

June 22, 2017 in Sri Lanka |


Life after being a refugee

There are many mines left from the civil war in Muhamalai, northern Sri Lanka.
NGOs which specialize in the removal of these mines, are participating in operation “Mine Free Sri Lanka”, a United Nations initiative to remove all mines in Sri Lanka by 2020.

However, it is very time consuming and very dangerous work. Very recently, the JEN team visited Vembodukerny which has been cleared of mines.  Simple shelters have been built on the sandy treeless flatland.

Most of families who came back to the area live in poverty having lost everything in the
civil war. For the last 10 years they have lived as refugees so making a living for themselves and their families is difficult. 

The Sri Lankan Government provides wells for everyone to use, and gives monthly 5000 rupees (about USD 60) as funding to each family and food (about USD 22 each person) to resettle.
With the support of NGOs, people need to fence in farm land, dig wells and build simple shelters. It is very hard to find work and live in an environment where the future is so uncertain.

In addition, there are places where mines are buried 50 meters away from the houses. Can you imagine seeing the sign “DANGER Minefield” from your garden?

[The area just released]

By using some of the limited water from the public wells some families have started farming even though their activities are carried out so close to the minefields.

Little by little people are starting to rebuild their lives. To do this they need to think how to use the limited water effectively, which vegetables to grow and how they can all work together to get the best results. We hope that we can help these people to become even stronger.

[Vegetables which grows with limited water]

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

June 15, 2017 in Sri Lanka |

Making money from a wheelbarrow

People who were forced to evacuate have slowly started coming back home to Pakistan.

With the help of JEN’s supporters and the Japanese government JEN is working on a livelihood improvement program, targeting the repatriated inhabitants of FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Area) Khyber Agency.
This program focuses on breeding livestock.
More details are available.


JEN selected this area because the economic infrastructure was extremely fragile, there were a large number of households and the area was good for farming. The soil in the area is fertile.

The Government Agriculture Agency had already set up the Agriculture Supporting Committee and JEN distributed seeds and tools to the farmers. 

When the military operation was deployed near Muhammad Ayub’s house, Muhammad left all his belongings and escaped. After the conflict, he returned with his family. 

We registered him as eligible for agriculture support, providing him with seeds, tools, a wheelbarrow and lectures on farming.

He uses his wheelbarrow on his own farm, but when he is not using it he rents it to other farmers so that they can carry fertilizer.

Mr Ayub earns additional money by using his wheelbarrow to carry back food from the market.

Mr. Ayub is working part time irregularly at his hometown’s NGO. He uses his wheelbarrow there too but for this kind of work it is more important to help people to rebuild their lives rather than make money.


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

June 15, 2017 in Pakistan |

Feast of the moon for Allah: first part

The appearance of new moon at the end of the 8th month of the Islamic calendar marks the beginning of Ramadan.

Ramadan is held on the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and Muslims believe it to be “the feast of the moon for Allah”.

Muslims around the world passionately wait for Ramadan every year.

Muslims fast during the holy month every year. Fasting is an obligation for Muslims and they must fast from sunrise to sunset during the Ramadan.

However, the elderly, children, pregnant and the sick can be exempted from fasting.

Muslims believe that this month, which was  has grace from God and evil is restrained. Therefore, they pray more passionately and try to learn something.

Fasting is not only an obligation but also has spiritual meanings behind it. Prayer or introspection gives energy to Muslims to face challenges, so they can continue to fast despite the heat.

In addition, fasting differs in terms of local customs in each country.

In Afghanistan, people welcome the beginning of Ramadan by starting to fast the day before Ramadan and then eating traditional dishes.

【Dinner after sunset: at a local restaurant】

Zuhra Afshar
Field officer,
JEN Afghan Office

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

June 15, 2017 in Afghanistan |


[Emergency assistance] JEN has dispatched a staff member to the area affected by the severe rain storm and landslides in the central-southern part of Sri Lanka

JEN appreciates your concern over this disaster, and would also like to thank you for your support by contacting us on the feasibility of our assistance.

Hundreds of thousands of people were affected by the tropical cyclone (severe rain storm) that hit Sri Lanka on May 24 and 25 and landslides that followed.

JEN set up a task force in our Sri Lanka office, and dispatched a staff member there on June 12.

Staff dispatched:
Chiaki Ota/JEN Sri Lanka Office Representative


Ms. Ota has been providing returnees with assistance in the northern conflict areas under JEN’s current project in Sri Lanka.

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

June 12, 2017 in Sri Lanka |


Truffle of Iraq

What do you imagine when you hear of truffle?

Truffle is a type of mushroom (fungus) that does not contain chlorophyll and is non-photosynthetic. It absorbs nutrition from the remains of dead animals and plants in the soil.

In Kirkuk and its surrounding area, you can see truffles around the beginning of April. The price is about 35,000 dinar (28USD) for 1kg.

The main producing area of truffles is the place once controlled by an armed group.

People of Kirkuk worry about contamination because of the chemical used in weapons, since the armed group used chemical weapons in the outskirts of Kirkuk where the truffles grow.

Nevertheless, the truffle is so delicious that people think they like to eat regardless of the risk.

【Truffles piled in a bucket】

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

June 7, 2017 in Iraq |


Scabies Treatment and Enlightenment

In Pakistan, a number of people who had been forced to evacuate have started slowly coming back home.

With the help of JEN’s supporters and the Japanese government JEN is working on a livelihood improvement program, targeting the repatriated inhabitants of FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Area) Khyber Agency.
This program focuses on breeding livestock.
More details are available.


Several weeks ago, it was found that livestock in Toot Talab village in Khyber Agency, which is one of our working locations, has scabies.

We immediately informed the local livestock department of the situation and an investigation took place found that 178 livestock from 77 families have scabies.
We began to talk with the livestock department to take basic measures beforehand to prevent large-scale spread of infection.

Consequently, we agreed to cope with the problem in cooperation with each other, and decided that the livestock department would treat sick livestock and JEN would at the same time carry out an enlightenment campaign.
[Medical treatment for scabies by the livestock department]
At the first group treatment, we treated 45 large livestock and 25 small livestock.

Before treatment, JEN’s staff educated raisers about scabies and economical treatment based on the household income level and enlightened them about preventive measures such as cleaning of sheds or regular application of insecticide for the livestock.

Then, the staff of the livestock department vaccinated the livestock.
[Enlightenment on scabies by JEN’s staff ]

The next group treatment and enlightenment will be held 2 weeks later.    

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

June 1, 2017 in Pakistan |

JEN’s Support for Kumamoto So Far

One year and a month have passed since the Kumamoto Earthquake, which caused significant damage to the area. According to the announcement by the prefectural government of Kumamoto, 225 people lost their precious lives and nearly 200,000 houses have been damaged. Locals, the administration and support groups are still working hard for the recovery.

JEN arrived in Kumamoto on April 15, the next day of the foreshock. At the beginning, we did support activities mainly for the people in the evacuation sites as the lifeline had not been restored. With the stores and shops still closed, our activities included distributing bento boxes and underwear as well as providing bath service for those having difficulty in taking a bath.

JEN also provided local communities and support organizations with trucks and materials in order to help accelerate the removal of debris as the evacuation sites became integrated and closed.

[Distribution of Bento Boxes at the Evacuation Sites]

[JEN’s Truck Working to Remove the Debris]

When the emergency period was coming to an end, JEN thought about how to give support that can lead to fundamental solutions to local issues in Kumamoto. We met a lot of people. As a result, JEN started a workshop project named “The School for a Bright Tomorrow in Kumamoto (ASUKUMA)”, in cooperation with the support group that had been doing similar activities even before the earthquake.

[Holding “ASUKUMA” for Those Facing Local Issues]

The first period of this workshop ended in March 2017. Many of the participants are still trying hard to solve local problems in various fields. JEN continues to work together with people in Kumamoto. 

June 1, 2017 in Kumamoto |

Tree Planting Activity at Abo Bakar Sedik Boys School

Nasir Ahmad is a teacher at Abo Bakar Sedik Boys School.

“When I heard about the importance of planting trees in the school, I felt that this can eventually relate to saving our planet. Not only can trees remove harmful substances from soil, they can also reduce carbon dioxide that causes global warming. I think planting trees will help to improve the environment,” he said.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide and provide oxygen. They also improve water quality. So the school decided to buy tree seedlings to make the environment and landscape better. There were too few trees around to make such changes.

“Gas emissions from cars and factories and other human activities are polluting the environment. We shall stop global warming by planting trees. As a small contribution to the environment, we planted trees in the school grounds. We will have to water the trees until they become large but they will soon change the landscape of our school. Moreover, we hope teachers will plant trees not only in schools but also in their homes too,” added Mr. Nasir.

[Planted trees in Abo Bakar Sedik Boys School, with Mr. Nasir]

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

June 1, 2017 in Afghanistan |

Report on the Floods and Landslides

Assistance for the victims of the floods and landslides disasters in Sri Lanka
JEN has started gathering information on the extent of damage due to the floods that have been affecting many people since May 24.

JEN is currently carrying out activities in the North, however, we have so far worked in the southern Hambantota District, which is the present disaster area.

We have received information that our emergency relief goods are arriving at the affected area. We will continue to gather information on its progress.

We will post follow-up reports on our website as they become available.
The floods have caused no damage to the JEN staff members, and they have all been confirmed to be safe.

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

June 1, 2017 in Sri Lanka |