Iris Gakuen International Day

by David Tacoronte

Iris Gakuen in Fukushima has over 30 to 40 orphaned children who they house, feed, and provide basic services, education, and activities for on a daily basis. On November 17th, “Eyes for Fukushima”, along with several ALTs, hosted a cultural festival at the local orphanage.

Different countries and activities were displayed along with games and crafts that the children could participate in. Countries that were represented included: Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.  Activities included: school yard hand ball, face painting, Aboriginal dot art boomerang painting, hockey shooting, quizzes, and Maori traditional stick games.

After all the international activities were over, a delicious Japanese nabe style lunch was had! ALTs were set at different tables to help cook, and to speak with all the children at the orphanage.

The second half of the day was filled with a Christmas themed arts and craft time, where the children created either laminated ornaments or Christmas-theme cards. Lots of Christmas fun was had by all!

Finally, everyone lent in a helping hand into creating a custom Christmas-theme purikura background. Costumed up, pictures were taken in front of the background and smiles were present everywhere.

“Eyes for Fukushima” continues to invite ALTs and friends from all around the Tohoku area to come to events hosted by the organization and to help those around the prefecture.  E4F will continue to work closely with local orphanages to provide activities and close interactions between the international community and the children in need.

Helpful Volunteering Links

Helpful Volunteering Links

Courtesy of our FuJET Volunteering Coordinator, here are some helpful links and e-mail links for volunteering:

Eyes for Fukushima:

Eyes for Fukushima LogoEyes for Fukushima (E4F) aims to promote grass roots internationalization in Fukushima Prefecture with devotion to improving the lives of people affected by the March 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster through events and fundraising. Eyes for Fukushima seeks to foster ties between Japanese citizens and JET participants at the person-to-person level. 

 

Site:www.eyesforfukushima.com
E-mail: eyes4fukushima@gmail.com

JCN Japan Cat Network:

japan cat network logoJapan Cat Network is a registered non-profit animal welfare organization helping people help pets through Trap Neuter Return programs, rescue, and re-homing. Volunteers perform regular rescue operations in the evacuated area of Fukushima, and operate two no-kill animal shelters.

Site: http://www.japancatnet.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jcnlinksandinfo
E-mail: volunteer@japancatnet.com

Playground of Hope:

playgroundofhope logoThe Playground of Hope is a “social fabric” project that aims to restore playgrounds in disaster-affected Tohoku communities as quickly and efficiently as possible so as to enhance economic recovery by making communities “livable” again for children, their parents and grandparents. 

Site: http://www.playgroundofhope.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/playgroundofhope
E-mail:  info@playgroundofhope.org

It’s Not Just Mud (INJM) *(request and contact on webpage):

injm logoIt’s Not Just Mud (INJM) is a non-profit volunteer organization specializing in disaster relief, grass-root support and rehabilitation of disaster affected individuals and small businesses. We are based in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, Japan and work in the Tohoku region.

 

 

Site: http://itsnotjustmud.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ItsNotJustMud

Save Minamisoma Project *(limited attendance, contact first):

saveminamisoma logoOur current efforts focus on delivering foods and safe drinking water to residents of the temporary housing units who lost their houses due to the tsunami and forced evacuation due to the radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants. SAVE MINAMISOMA PROJECT has been taking food and safe drinking water directly to the residents of Minamisoma city who are in need of assistance after 3.11 earthquake, the tsunami, and the radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants. 100% of the donation money will be used to purchase supplies.

Site: http://www.saveminamisoma.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaveMinamisomaProject
E-mail: saveminamisoma@gmail.com

Minamisoma Odaka Volunteering Center *(Japanese Only):

minamisomaThe Minamisoma Volunteer Center is an NPO commissioned by the Minamisoma Council of Welfare, which aims to provide a network of support for disaster relief and reconstruction. 

 Site: http://ameblo.jp/v-home-net

 

 

Habitat for Humanity Japan:

habitat logoHabitat for Humanity mobilizes local leadership and resources to expand access for all people to decent, affordable shelter. Typically, volunteers and home partners work together through Habitat for Humanity affiliates to build or renovate houses. In this process, Habitat forgoes making a profit on loans through interest, putting value instead on meeting human need. Long-term housing security for a family, typically homeownership, is the expected result. 

Site: http://www.habitatjp.org/index_e.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/habitatjp/info
E-mail: info@habitatjp.org

List of current Volunteer organizations and movements helping Tohoku:

Site: http://www.jpn-civil.net/english/profile/members/

Volunteering in Fukushima- July 2013

by David Tacoronte

Playground of Hope

On June 22 and 23, the Playground of Hope team led by Michael Anop and a group of 12 Fukushima ALTs came together on a 2 day endeavour to brighten the days of the Shinchi town daycare children. The new playground, sponsored by Eyes for Fukushima, was built over the weekend and stands over 3 meters tall! In addition, the existing jungle gym, bar sets, and slides were all sanded, cleaned and re-painted. Check out the completed project and photos here. Make sure to like their page, and check to see if they will be sponsoring any builds close to you!

FUKU ROCK 13

Want to listen to live music? Want to help a great cause that supports volunteering organizations all over the prefecture? Like all you can drink hard and soft drinks? Them come out to FUKU ROCK 13! Eyes for Fukushima is hosting the live music event at “Club Neo” on July 6. All types of music will be played including acoustic rock, hard rock, electronica, dance, etc. All proceeds will benefit the ON THE ROAD charity who are doing great work around the disaster affected areas. It will definitely be a great time, and for a great cause. Check out the event page here.

Odaka Volunteering Center

Odaka, the southern ward of Minamisoma city, was badly affected by the Tsunami and Earthquake disaster, and still remains mostly evacuated till this day. Fortunately, the city has organized a volunteer and clean up center aiming to restore Odaka by creating projects to clean up, maintain, and rebuild the necessary parts of the town, along with the houses of currently evacuated victims. This volunteer center runs everyday, morning through afternoon, 10:00AM until 6:00PM. If you are interested in volunteering, you may reach the center at 0244-26-8934 (JAPANESE ONLY) between the previously mentioned hours. They offer room board for overnighters, and bus service from Haramachi station when requested (though self transportation is preferred if possible). Groups are also welcomed! Check out the webpage here (JAPANESE).

Volunteering in Fukushima- Spring 2013

an article by FuJET Volunteer Coordinator, David Tacoronte

Easter event at Soma Aiikuen

Easter is generally seen as a Western religious holiday celebrated during the spring time. In a non-secular fashion, it is usually cited as a holiday for the rebirth of nature and the coming of life during spring time! So to help celebrate, 7 volunteers including 6 JET ALTs and 1 local English teacher visited the local Aiikuen orphanage located in Soma city. Sponsored by E4F, the kids in the center spent the day making colorful paper Easter baskets, attending an egg hunt, learning a little about Easter, and finished by playing assorted games and activities with the Easter bunny. All in all, it was a fun afternoon, filled with smiles and chocolate! E4F looks forward to setting-up more events and continuing the bond with the orphanage in the near future! You can check out photos of the event on Eyes for Fukushima’s (E4F) Facebook page or athttp://e4f.fujet.org.

Playground of Hope

The Playground of Hope, or PoH, NPO project was launched on April 1st, 2012. They hope to bring relief to the Tohoku region by helping to build, and rebuild playground sets in all the areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami disaster. Led by Michael Anop, PoH looks to raise spirits in the community by providing a source of entertainment, colorful aesthetic, and physical activity for the children. Seeing them smile, laugh, and have a sense of security is the ultimate goal. Just recently, the project successfully sponsored and built a large playground in the Haramachi area of Minamisoma city. Even with the chilly weather, the team, coupled with the spirit of the community, were able to get everything set-up within two days! Seeing the children laugh and play on the brand new play-set brought a sense of calm and hope which is ever growing on the coast.

The next playground, funded by E4F, is set to be built on June 22nd in Shinchi along the northern coast of Fukushima. The project will be visiting the Shinchi daycare facility and is planning to finish within two days. Check out the website at http://www.playgroundofhope.org/ or you can find their page on Facebook.

Fukushima Battle of the Bands

E4F will be hosting a Battle of the Bands event on July 6th! This event is geared towards the older students of the prefecture. Ten high school bands and five DJs will be battling it out in Club NEO to win the top spot and receive prizes and glory to continue their journey to fame! Come see live local music and support a great cause. All proceeds of the event will go to ON THE ROAD charity, which helps with clean-up, volunteer activities, events and many other relief efforts around the Tohoku region. Check out their website here: (Japanese only) https://otr.or.jp/support/
Check out the Battle of the Bands event over on Facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/events/486844274717466

//this article originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of the Lucky Island newsletter//