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2012 April Tohoku Trip

A veiw from a hotel window in Ofunato, Iwate. 

Temporary shopping site, convenient for consutruction workers and NGO/NPO staff/volunteers, inconvenient for the locals without cars.

Raising ground level to rebuild warehouses for the aquaculture industry. 

At the office of Habitat for Humanity Japan. 

The very first seaweed harvest since last March.

Fishermen heading out to the ocean for the first time in a year. 

Debris can be seen pilled up everywhere in Iwate and Miyagi, due to lack of municipal governments outside Tohoku agreeing to accept and dispose tsunami waste.

« Second major gift from JAGB - June 5, 2012 | Main | Stories Shared by Two Youths from Tohoku - March 17th, 2012 »

Tohoku Visit Report April 14-18, 2012

A Report on Third Visit to Tohoku and Second Round Grantees

By Atsuko Toko Fish, JDRFB Co-founder 

Places visited and grantee locations

Overall view of the Tohoku recovery

Temporary housing living condition:

  • People are more settled, slowly beginning to plan their futures

Fishing/Aquaculture industry recovery: 

  • Seaweed (wakame) harvesting
  • Scallops/mussels/oysters bed making


Awarded Grantees: Round 2

Kirarin Kids: $30,000
Project Funded: From Bad Dreams to New Hope

JDRFB supported Kirarin Kids through HANDS in 2011 and is continuing its support of their mission to improve child-rearing environments in Rikuzen Takada City, Iwate, through Sophia University, 上智大学, in 2012.  Kirarin Kids is currently renting a small corner room within a temporary restaurant and is expected to move to a larger location once its construction is completed.


Kizuna Foundation: $100,000
Projects Funded:
Koishihama Port Rehabilitation Project: $50,000
Akasaki Day Care Center Project: $50,000

JDRFB is supporting the restoration of the harbor area of the Koishihama, Iwate, through the Kizuna Foundation. Fishermen are preparing new beds of scallops, mussels, and oysters, all of which take three years to grow. The Akasaki day care center project will rehabilitate an earthquake damaged childcare facility in Akasaki, Iwate. 


Habitat for Humanity Japan: $50,000
Project Funded:Ofunato Housing Rehabilitation Program

The work by Habitat for Humanity Japan assists the most vulnerable families in housing rehabilitation. Participating families, most of whom are the elderly, disabled and sick, and families with young children, are carefully selected through an extensive due diligence process by HFHJ. This project provides assistance with families whose houses are often neglected by the government due to the levels of damage.


Peace Winds America: $49,993
Project Funded: Fisheries Recovery Project

This project aims to revitalize the fishing industry in Minamisanriku, Miyagi, through providing direct support to fishermen and fish farmers.  The project is a collaborative effort among Peace Winds America, Peace Winds Japan, and the Minamisanriku Fishing Cooperatives. Seaweed beds are prepared by fishing equipment funded by JDRFB's grant. 


Harvard University + Open Systems: $40,000
Project Funded: Post-Disaster Ecology Project

This project is initiated and run by a multi-disciplinary group of academics and practitioners committed to the recovery of Tohoku and a collaboration of Harvard University, Open Systems, and the Miyagi University. Based on needs identified through research and consultation with the locals in the communities, the project will propose a set of land use strategies. A town hall meeting took place in Utatsu between the national government's Tohoku Reconstruction Agency and the locals to discuss relocating residential areas to higher grounds. Complicated obstacles still need to be overcome, but progress is already being made. 


IsraAID (The Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid): $48,202
Project Funded: Kokoro-No Care

IsraAID will use the funds from JDRFB to establish a new, innovative program, which combines training in post-trauma management with leadership and community building workshops. This project will be offered to to the locals living in temporary housing facilities in Watari, Miyagi. IsraAid provides relief efforts, and identifies and treats the effects of trauma through such methods as music and art therapy.

In Tohoku:  

  • Local community leaders and welfare workers are being trained.
  • Leadership training skills are being taught.
  • Non-verbal therapeutic approach allows people to open up. 


Dialogue in the Dark: $30,000
Project Funded: Dialogue in the Dark for Children in Fukushima

Dialogue in the Dark (DiD) works to address the mental health needs of youth who suffered trauma and loss from the disaster. Some of the most recent DiD's workshops, which achieve demonstrable therapeutic effect through “anonymous” open dialogue sessions, were held on March 2nd to 4th in Koriyama, Fukushima. Complete darkness helps children to open up and say how they truly feel.

Some of the achievements from DiD's workshops are

  • Understanding the importance of trusting and relying on adults. 
  • Expressing worries, anxieties, and concerns about their futures.
  • Understanding “One thing that is the most important for a person.”


Beyond Tomorrow: $50,000
Project Funded: Academy for Global Leadership for Tohoku

BEYOND Tomorrow was established in June 2011 to support the young victims of the earthquake and tsunami who, despite facing great adversity and loss, did not lose hope and continued to embrace a dream to give back to society in the future. The JDRFB will support BEYOND Tomorrow’s program to provide students in Tohoku an opportunity to travel to the United States in the summer 2012 for a 2-week leadership program to broaden their perspectives globally and learn from American leadership models.         

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