• Report: Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Activities (Extract from 2017 Annual Report) (Sep 19, 2018)


    After the Great East Japan Earthquake and resulting nuclear power plant accident in 2011, the YWCA of Japan has launched the “Com 7300” Committee, with the pledge of continuously working beside the affected people until the children born on the day of the disaster turn 20 years old. “Com” means “Together” in Latin, and “7300” is the number of days in 20 years. 7 years after the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, the situation of the damaged nuclear power plant is far from stabilized, and the difficulties from the radioactive disaster are still looming on each persons’life. The YWCA of Japan is continuing support activities for the survivors upon 3 pillars: “Refresh” short-stay recuperation program, “Second House” program and activities based in the YWCA Activity Space “Caro Fukushima”. We are committed to continue to work with the “small voices” of the survivors.

    Recuperation Programs @Hakodate, Fukushima, Tokyo, Shizuoka, Nagoya, Osaka Fukuoka, Kumamoto

    The recuperation programs are designed to enable parents and children living in anxiety in radiation-affected areas to refresh their bodies and minds. Local YWCAs throughout Japan carry out unique programs utilizing their regional originalities in spring and summer holiday seasons. During 2017, such programs were held in 8 areas with the participation of 142 people, enabling them to “play outside”, which has become impossible in their everyday life; playing in beaches and rivers, cooking outdoors in camps, flying handmade kites and so on. Donations given to the YWCA of Japan were utilized to support such local activities and to help with the beneficiaries’ transportation to the venues.
    *142 beneficiaries during 2017

    Second House Program

    The 3 “Second Houses” in Yokohama, Nagoya and Kobe are accommodations where families, groups or single women from the affected areas can spend time freely. It can be used just like a real home for families who are unable to participate in recuperation camps because the children are too young, or their ages are too apart, or who want to spend time with family members only. There are number of repeaters, who say that the warm interaction with the house owners releases them from anxieties and stress they feel in daily life. The houses are lent free of charge by the house owners, and are maintained by nearby local YWCAs. The donations given to the YWCA of Japan cover a part of transportation fees for the beneficiaries.
    *22families, 83 people benefited in 2017

    Voices from Participants
    ・ This is our fourth time in the Second House, and first time in Kobe. I again realized how we are supported by so many people. All I can express is thanks.
    ・ There are no other programs that enable all three of us, father, mother and son, to leave for recuperation. We were able to spend a valuable family time together
    ・ I and my son had previously evacuated outside of the prefecture. We wanted to stay outside for a longer period, but were unable to due to economic reasons. We are grateful for the very happy time we were able to spend in the Second House.
    ・ Our family was able to walk and run together, and go shopping to a supermarket on a bicycle. Such an ordinary thing was such a happy experience. My anxieties went away in an instant.

    YWCA Activity Space ”Caro Fukushima”

     “Caro” means “Dear” and “Precious” in Italian. “Caro Fukushima” was established in November 2012, in the hope of becoming a precious and refreshing place of exchange for women and children living in Fukushima. It is operated aiming protect the affected women and children physically and mentally and support them as they work to solve the problems they face, by functioning as a “Safe Space” where they can drop by freely and feel at ease to talk about their concerns which are impossible to speak of outside, as well as gaining and sharing information. “Caro Fukushima” hosts events and seminars bringing the local community together and adding healing and joy to everyday life, provides support for women striving to become independent, opportunities to exchange with organizations within and outside Fukushima providing recuperation programs, information on recuperation programs run by YWCAs throughout Japan, holds briefing sessions about the “Second House Program” as a contact base for application, and hosts a program for high-school students to learn about renewable energy. Some participants started their own business, and some formed a group for women with young children, utilizing the network and experience in this Space. During the reporting period, the YWCA of Japan launched “Talking Time in Caro Fukushima”, inviting a doctor and an officer from Iwaki Radiation Measuring Center Tarachine. During the events, participants were able to talk about and share their daily concerns with experts, which they cannot talk about in daily life.
    *A total of 850 participants in 2017

    ・ Talking Time in Caro Fukushima (2 sessions)
    ・ Summer school for children by Fukushima YWCA (5 sessions)
    ・ Fukushima Y’s Café: Workshop by Fukushima YWCA (4 sessions)
    ・ Fuku Fuku Market: Safe food and workshops by women (2 sessions)
    ・ Workshops on healing environment and fermented food facilitated by women, other sessions including art and craft classes

    Thinking of New Energy from Fukushima “Energy Fiesta with Everyone!”

    Continued from 2016, The program “Thinking of New Energy from Fukushima” enables high school students living in Fukushima to learn about the nature and usage of natural energy, utilize it in daily life, and spread it among the society. This year, as a compilatio n of the past two years, the participants had 3 preparatory sessions from June, and held the event “Energy Fiesta with Everyone!” in Fukushima city on 2nd September. In this event, the high school students held an interactive workshop displaying what they learned about and their views on the future of renewable energy to the participants. One of the contents, the “Renewable Energy Election”, consisted of participants voting on different kinds of renewable energy presented by the high school students.
    *150 Participants

    Voices from High School Students
    ・ We were able to share responsibilities and work together in a limited time.
    ・ The participation by experts was effective for a deep discussion.
    ・ I was very happy that the event was a success, since we worked together very hard for preparation.
    ・ This was my first time to try to convey information and messages to others, so this was an important opportunity.
    ・ I was able to deepen my understanding about renewable energy, and also convey the knowledge and information to others.

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