This is a personal message from Mari Kuraishi, President and Co-Founder of GlobalGiving. Mari, a Japanese national, is preparing to visit Japan following the 1-year anniversary of the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami.
To the generous donors of GlobalGiving's Japan Relief Fund,
As you probably know, today is the one-year anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. For the last several weeks my colleauges and I have been planning our trip to Japan to visit our project partners in the Tohoku area. Planning for the trip has made us all realize just how much has been accomplished in the recovery efforts since March 11, 2011, and also how much remains to be done.
As we planned the logistics of our trip, I blithely expected we would be able to get to most places by train, because that's usually a pretty good assumption to make in Japan. But not this time. I assumed that hotels, restaurants, and other services would be operating anywhere we planned to be – but that’s not the case. It took many phone calls to uncover the fact that some trains still aren't even operating and lots of business are still closed in the Tohuku area, and that's when it hit home for me.
A year feels like a long time when you think of all the things accomplished since the great Tohoku/Kanto earthquake and tsunami. But a year is not enough for individual businesses to be rebuilt, for people's lives to be brought back to normal, or even for plants to grow back.
I'll be going back to Japan in two weeks, both to visit my home and to thank all the amazing Japanese leaders who are still hard at work putting their communities and their country back together again. I’ll be meeting with people like Hatakeyama-san, a fisherman in Kesennuma who used your donations to buy ropes and build rafts to start oyster farming in his area. I'll be speaking with Japanese women from the civil sector about what it means to be Japanese, a woman, and a leader at this make-or-break time in the course of Japanese history. Finally, I’ll be seeing the cherry blossoms – symbols of hope and renewal – as they bloom again in Japan one year after the devastation.
Each and every one of you has helped in some way. As I meet face-to-face with the people affected by the earthquake, I would be humbled to hand-deliver your messages of support. Will you please share a message of encouragement that I can deliver on your behalf? What questions would you like me to ask of the people who you have helped support? Please share your comments and questions on our Facebook post; I’ll read them, share them with the people I meet, and then I'll send an update when I return from my trip.
I'd also like to ask you to consider giving again on the 1st anniversary of the disaster in order to help more people like Hatakeyama-san re-establish their livelihoods. We are still actively disbursing your donations to local partners who are helping with long-term rebuilding efforts.
There’s still a long road ahead for Japan, but we thank you for standing with the Japanese people in hope for renewal and recovery. I look forward to sending another update about your funds after I arrive in Japan.
In 2011, the monsoon season brought floods to much of Thailand. Flooding began in Northern Thailand during the end of July and gradually spread into the Southern part of the country, eventually submerging parts of Bangkok. Farms, villages, and industrial plants were all affected, causing at least US $45.7 billion in damage as of December 2011.
As flood waters recede, GlobalGiving partners have begun the transition from immediate disaster relief to long-term recovery and rebuilding. Our partners are rebuilding drug recovery and education centers, repairing damaged schools, and helping artisans restart their businesses.
Thanks to your generous donation to the GlobalGiving Thailand Flood Relief Fund, GlobalGiving has been able to support the following flood relief efforts:
Foundation for Life packed and distributed over 2,000 emergency lifepacks during the floods. As part of the “Blanket Them With Love” project, volunteers packed food kits for distribution throughout Bangkok, created portable toilets to help flood victims maintain a more sanitary environment, and stuffed sandbags. Foundation for Life also distributed drinking water, milk powder, medication, and more.
Global Vision International Charitable Trust partnered with local volunteers to provide emergency supplies to flood victims, including food items, basic medical supplies, and sanitary products. Since the waters have receded, efforts have turned to cleaning up schools and colleges affected by flooding throughout the country. Making schools student-ready has become a top priority because many students have already missed months of classes.
DARE Network (Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Network) works in Burmese refugee camps on the Thai/Burma border and has been providing community-based prevention education and addiction treatment in Thailand for 10 years. The Rebuild Flooded Refugee Camp Recovery Centre project has been raising funds in order to rebuild and repair DARE Network recovery centers that were damaged during the floods.
A Global Friendship sent two people to Thailand to support their network of 12 artisan families. They used your donation in order to procure supplies and enable the lead artisan to re-establish the supply chain of raw materials for crafts, a source of income for families.
World Vision was able to support over 76,000 people throughout the floods through the provision of kits. Relief supplies included life jackets, water filters, food packs and hygiene packs. Beginning in December, World Vision’s relief work transitioned to rehabilitation. These efforts included education kits and facility repair, cash for work programs for adults, water and sanitation support, and disaster risk reduction training and the preparation of evacuation sites for future use.
On behalf of our GlobalGiving partners in Thailand, we would like to thank you again for your generous donation.
Dear Project of the Month Club,
We’re pleased to share with you that last month, you and the 128 other Project of the Month Club members raised $3,414 for “Snehalaya, Meaning The Home With Love, in Hindi,” a care home in India where disabled children, homeless women and the elderly all work and live together as a family.
Dr. B.K. Sharma of Gwailor Childrens Hospital Charity asked us to share this message with you:
"Thanks a lot to all the members of this recurrent donors GlobalGiving club. There are 83 children including 77 girls in the school at present. Your gifts will pay the salaries of special need teachers for an entire year. In addition to education in school, most of the children are provided with books, uniform, mid day meals, and vocational training."
It's also our pleasure to introduce March's project Prevent Youth Involvement In Drug Trafficking, which offers 50 young people alternative activities out of school hours to prevent their involvement with gang culture in the low income communities (favelas) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Thais Corral, the project leader, had this to say upon learning that this project had been chosen to benefit from your March 2012 donations:
"Thank you so much for this opportunity. The donations you will be giving will help to create 50 gardens in the roofs as well as in the walls [of the buildings] of the favela. It will help doing 12 communal gatherings in which we cook and eat healthy food. We want to create fun ways in which our 50 children are agents of education for healthy eating at the favela. We intend to do small videos with statements, plays in which healthy eating is promoted. We are envisioning it as a campaign in which several visual skills that children have learned can be part of."
We hope that you are proud to know that you're helping these 50 children grow and eat healty food, helping them learn and become productive members of their community rather than falling into the gang and drug culture in their neighborhood.
Thank you again for your generosity. We assure you it is changing lives!
Warm regards,Mari and the GlobalGiving Team