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01/15/2019

Shiokaze Dining: a “Children`s Diner” event at Tsugaruishi in Miyako-shi, Iwate Prefecture

JEN is currently supporting Shiokaze Kitchen and ShiokazeDining, a dining facility for children from impoverished households, hosted by the Miyako-shi Social Welfare Council in the Iwate Prefecture.

              In a nation where 1 in 7 children are impoverished, poverty levels in single-mother households exceed 50%. These statistics hold true for families in Miyako-shi as well, and of the consultations the Miyako-shi Social Welfare Council receives from families in the area, many of them are from single-mother households.

         Shiokaze Kitchen serves as a monthly place where the parents and children from those households, along with the staff members of the Miyako-shi Social Welfare Council and volunteers, come together to make and eat meals together. It also provides a place for the children to have fun, and to talk to older members of the community about any concerns they may have.

               However, many of the Shiokaze Kitchen events in the past have been hosted in the urban areas of the region, and as a result, many families were unable to participate due to the distance. So, the Miyako-shi Social Welfare Council aimed to focus on three major points when starting their own “Children`s Diner” facility, Shiokaze Dining.

  1. All families, even those living in rural communities, being able to access the “Children`s diner”
  2. Having the members of the community take part in the “Children`s Diner” to facilitate a deeper understanding of the circumstances the children face
  3. Including all children from the community to prevent separation and exclusion of the impoverished children and create an inclusive environment for all, regardless of household income

 

And for the first time, the Miyako-shi Social Welfare Council was able to host Shiokaze Dining. Over 20 children and their parents participated in the event, and was a great success.

 

Because this was the first ShiokazeDining event ever hosted, the event started with all the volunteers coming together and introducing themselves, and then they were off to cooking! The menu for this event included salad, rice balls, and Tonjiru, a pork miso soup.

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Meal Prepping

              The children participated in the rice ball prepping process. With the help of the volunteers, lots of rice balls were made, and the kitchen was filled with the smiles of all the participants.

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Rice Ball Making

              And the meals were complete! Pieces of fruit and pickles donated from the members of the community were added on to the side, and a tasty lunch was successfully made. The children sat and talked with the adults sitting around them, and seemed to have had a fun time interacting with them. The phrase “Oishi! (Delicious!)” could be heard numerous times during the event.

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Meal Complete!

              After everyone finished eating, all of the participants moved to the big hall, located inside the community center, where they were able to play games and hang out. Activities such as board games, quoits, drawing, and piano playing were provided, and the kids seemed to have a fun time with the high school volunteers.

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Post-meal hangout time

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              After the event had come to an end, all of the volunteers came together and had some time to reflect on the success of the event. Many of the volunteers pitched in their ideas on the event. “A lot of the kids told me they wanted to come back again.” “The kids seemed to really enjoy making the rice balls, so we should definitely have a menu next time that allows the kids to participate in that way.” “We should also make snacks and sweets next time, like doughnuts!” are just some of the ideas the volunteers brought up. We hope that this event will continue to provide a fun and inclusive place for all children from the Tsugaruishi community.

January 15, 2019 in Tohoku Earthquake |