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“Friend Cafe”—a children’s cafeteria in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture

JEN is providing support to children’s cafeterias, “Shiokaze Kitchen” and "Shiokaze Dining," operated by the Miyako City Council of Social Welfare in Iwate Prefecture.

In Japan, one in seven children is in poverty. In particular, the poverty rate of single-mother families exceeds 50%.
Every month, single parents and their children, volunteers and the Miyako City Council of Social Welfare staff gather at “Shiokaze Kitchen” to cook, enjoy
meals, spend time together, and sometimes talk about their problems.

However, some people live far from the city center where “Shiokaze Kitchen” is located, making it difficult for them to participate in the activities. To make things easier for these people, the Miyako City Council of Social Welfare is planning to operate “Shiokaze Dining,” a children’s cafeteria held at various locations in Miyako City.

Following last month’s article, we will report on the preparation for “Shiokaze Dining.”
* Click here for the last article on the Workshop for Supporters of the Children’s Cafeteria.

On March 3, the second “Friend Cafe” was held for the participants of the Workshop for Supporters of the Children’s Cafeteria, at the Miyako City Health and Welfare Center. About 20 locals who were interested in supporting the operation of “Shiokaze Dining” gathered for the event.

[The workshop]

In the workshop, a technique called “rich pictures” was used to clarify the concepts of the children’s cafeteria, i.e., what the cafeteria should be like in order to resolve local issues. The participants clarified the concepts of the children’s cafeteria by drawing resources necessary for the cafeteria, such as the cafeteria’s participants, staff members, volunteers, venues, meals, and tools for seasonal events, on large pieces of white paper, and by reviewing their relationships by connecting the elements with arrows.

[Participants drawing “rich pictures”]

The participants came up with a variety of ideas as they put together the concepts, and their lively discussions continued even after the scheduled time had passed. Some of their ideas include:
Promoting intergenerational interaction by inviting local seniors.
Introducing nutritionally balanced menus for the children by using lots of vegetables.
Providing participants with opportunities to talk about their health with volunteer nurses.

[“Rich pictures” drawn by participants]

We hope that the collaboration of supporters who gathered at “Friend Cafe” will support people with difficulties by organizing “Shiokaze Dining” according to issues of each community, making it a venue for the children and other locals to come together.

March 15, 2018 in Tohoku earthquake |