• COVID-19 response by National and Local YWCAs

    24 local YWCAs in Japan are working in different ways under the COVID-19 crisis. Many activities are affected under the state of emergency, but the YWCA is working hard to support the community in unique ways, in order to enable safe spaces for women, young women and girls with increased vulnerability. Below are some of the examples:

    Safe Spaces
    ◆The YWCA of Japan held 5 sessions of “Online safe Space” from April to May, in order to support young women during the lockdown period. A total of 77 participants participated, sharing support, information and empowerment utilizing the World YWCA Safe Space model.
    ◆Hiratsuka YWCA held a 9 days program (16rh-31st March) for elementary school children, to provide a safe space for children and parents who tend to be exposed to social isolation during the sudden school closure. Volunteers provided active learning lessons, safe lunch and exercise sessions, while taking all measures possible in securing sanitation and physical distance.
    ◆Sapporo YWCA continues its “Follow-Up School” program as a safe learning space for children facing difficulty going to school, with full attention to securing sanitation and physical distance.
    ◆Kumamoto YWCA held its World YWCA Day breakfast as an online safe space, as well as maintaining a physical space in its center for young women who do not feel safe at home and those who need a space to study or internet access.

    Health
    ◆The YWCA of Japan sent medical masks and cleaner cloths to the National Council of YWCAs of China in February, at the early stage of the epidemic; In May, the National Council of YWCAs of China sent a large amount of medical masks to Japan, which is facing the COVID-19 crisis at a subsequent timing.
    ◆Kobe YWCA called on the national network to donate handmade cotton masks, for its nursing care and support group for homeless people.
    ◆Hiroshima YWCA sent a message of encouragement by gifting a handmade quilt banner to a local hospital.
    ◆Nagoya YWCA created a video to encourage sanitization in the community.

    Support for international students
    ◆Tokyo YWCA supports international students living in Japan by providing multi-language information and scholarship through its “Japanese Mothers for International Students” movement.

    Advocacy
    ◆On 24th April, the YWCA of Japan issued a letter to the Japanese Government, urging it to distribute financial support to all people living in Japan, including those not fall out of the residency registration system. It also issued statements, respectively protesting against the Government’s treatment of entry restriction and state of emergency.

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