Peace Winds America

Our core belief is that disaster response begins with preparedness, and that both disaster preparedness and response should integrate the efforts of governments, militaries, NGOs and the private sector. By strengthening disaster preparedness and response in the Asia Pacific, PWA seeks to reduce the high human, political and economic costs of natural disasters in the Pacific Rim.
May 3, 2013

Thank You and Next Steps

We did it!
We did it!

Dear Supporters:

We did it!  On April 25, we reached the project goal of $30,000!!!  This is such exciting news to us and PWA cannot thank you enough for supporting the livelihoods of fishing families in Minamisanriku.

Your support has been an important part of the 82 sheds we are building there, where about 70% of homes were swept away by the tsunami.  Sheds continue to be built thanks to the great work of Grace Mission Tohoku, our local partner.

Since we started this project over a year ago, we have received 163 donations through GlobalGiving. These include contirbutions from individual donors, group fundraisers, corporations and foundations.  All of the staff here at PWA wish we could meet you in person and thank you ourselves.

We also could not have done all this work without our local partner, Grace Mission Tohoku.  Their commitment to help fishermen and rebuild the fishing communities of the region is evident. They are a huge part of why our program has been on time and successful. 

What is next for our project?  Leaders from other districts in Minamisanriku have requested that we expand to new areas and continue building new sheds. However, it has been over one year since we started this project, and it is important to fully understand the ever-changing situation in the area. We would like to raise our goal amount by $5,000 in order to conduct needs assessments in these new districts.

PWA hopes that you will support our decision for this assessment.  We hope to give you an in-depth report when it is completed. 

Thank you for your continuous interest in supporting our project, and thank you for your support of Peace Winds America.

View of Minamisanriku, March 2013
View of Minamisanriku, March 2013

Links:

Apr 25, 2013

One more project to help fishery in Tohoku

Endo-san @ Shizugawa Fishing Cooperatives
Endo-san @ Shizugawa Fishing Cooperatives

Dear GlobalGiving PWA Fishery Project Supporters:

In my previous report, we announced the end of the Fisheries Support GlobalGiving Project, however, just as we put the report online we were contacted by the Fishing Cooperative in Shizugawa, Minamisanriku, who asked PWA to help them with building a windshield fence for their Oyster Processing facility to improve their working environment. PWA answered the call, and we wanted to report this activity to you.  We are very happy that we were able to respond and be involved in this project as PWA has been working so closely with Shizugawa Fishing Cooperative for the past two years.

 

 

Important Livelihood:

Oyster farming is a primary fishing industry in Minamisanriku. Before the tsunami, there were 43 oyster-farming families who brought in about 12 percent of the total fishing revenue of the Shizugawa Cooperative.

Processed oysters (those with their shells removed, then cleaned and packaged) are heavily favored by Japanese consumers. However processing requires a specialized facility with sterilization equipment and skilled labor. In spite of the these production costs, since processed oysters command a much higher market price, the net value to the farmer is considerably more than oysters in the shell.

The tsunami destroyed not only oyster farming/harvesting equipment, but also all the processing facilities in Shizugawa.  In 2011, oyster farmers lost the sales income of processed oysters, as the farmers were unable to rebuild and start the processing facility.

Secure employment for women:

Oyster farming and harvesting is typically done by men.  Oyster processing is primarily done by women, and provides them with an income opportunity rare in the Minamisanriku region.  Currently there are 23 women working at the processing facility.  

Adapt to the new environment:

The oyster season begins in October and runs through the frigid winter ending in May.  Winter processing is especially severe. The high winds created an unexpected issue for the workers at this new facility. Before the 3/11 disaster, the destroyed processing facility was situated among multi-story buildings, but now the new facility is close to the mouth of a river, with no buildings near.  Strong, cold mountain winds follow the river’s course and directly strike the factory and the workers.  Due to food hygiene regulations, heaters cannot be used while processing oysters.  People working at this facility suffer from freezing wind.

In order to resolve these intolerable working conditions, Shizugawa Fishing Cooperatives addressed the need of the windshield and PWA supported the project financially.

Voice from a beneficiary:

Head of Oyster Group, Katsuhiko Endo

"Thank you very much for constructing the wind shield. It is really helpful, and will aid us immensely as we shell the oysters. Although It is gradually getting warm during the day, the temperature in the early morning, when we are shelling oysters, is still very cold. Today's temperature in the morning was 3 degrees Celsius. We are still happy the shield is now ready, as there are also many windy days in April.  In the coming fall, we will be ready to start or work for the next season. We will do our best,"

This facility and windbreak will function for ten years or more, aiding particularly the livelihoods of women and contributing to Minamisanriku’s economy and well-being. 

Thank you GlobalGiving supporters!

Oyster Processing Facility without wind shield
Oyster Processing Facility without wind shield
Inside of the Oyster Processing Facility
Inside of the Oyster Processing Facility
No more cold gusty winds!  Wind shield completed!
No more cold gusty winds! Wind shield completed!

Links:

Apr 24, 2013

A diary from my visit to Minamisanriku in March

PWA Mari and Mr. Abe
PWA Mari and Mr. Abe

My coworker Ben and I visited Minamisanriku in early March to monitor project sites, meet with new district leaders and select shed recipients for the next phase of the project.  It was a short and intense trip, but otherwise very fulfilling.  I enjoyed meeting with all the district leaders and learning about how far they have come, and how far they have to go on their road to recovery.

We arrived in the middle of the wakeme and wakabe seaweed harvesting season, so we were served home processed seaweed everywhere we went!  Yum!

Day 1- Arriving in Tohoku.

On the day we arrived in Tohoku, it was 32 degrees and snowing. Our first stop was to meet with our local partner for the Fishing Sheds Program, Grace Mission Tohoku (GMT).  We have expanded the program to four new areas in Minamisanriku. Together with GMT we met with leaders in the four districts and announced the beneficiaries of the fishing sheds.

Takahashi-san, a leader from the Yoriki district had written PWA a letter last year.  He asked us to please help his district with sheds.   

            “…In my district, we lost 35 houses out of 45.  We have lost over 100 fishing boats.  All of our work areas have been destroyed.   It is painful to look upon our fishing port…”

When we met Takahashi-san at his home he was very happy to see us.  His first words were, “Peace Winds America! I’ve been waiting for you for a long time!”

When we announced his district’s shed beneficiaries, he was very pleased with our selection.  “These people really need a shed, and this will help them move forward little by little.  Thank you, PWA, for coming to my district.”

Day 2- Great local partner, GMT.

On our second day, we visited past shed beneficiaries.   As we met with the families, I couldn’t help but notice the trusting bond between shed recipients and our local partner, Grace Mission Tohoku. 

When I met with Kunio Abe, the district leader asked me “Where’s Akemi-san? She is such a delightful person and I really enjoyed working with her while they were building sheds in my district.”  There is great chemistry between us,” grinned Abe-san.  I knew then that PWA has a great local partner. 

Day 3 Tohoku still needs help.

As we drove around Minamisanriku, you could tell the recovery will take long time.  Where once there were houses now are vast empty stretches of land.  The tsunami not only took away people’s belongings but also erased many communities.  As time passes people will be relocated from temporary housing to new residential areas, but when and where?  People in the tsunami affected area face myriad problems ahead. 

For the fishermen, to be able to return to their livelihoods, whether harvesting fish, farming oysters or cultivating seaweed, helps them to move forward with their lives.

“Our house was swept away by the tsunami and we live in temporary housing far from the sea,” said Mr. Oikawa.  “At first we built our shed close to the ocean so we could store fishing equipment, but now we also use the shed to rest during work.  We used to have a much, much larger building big enough to store equipment as well as work.  This shed provides us with storage space and a place to invite our fishermen friends over for some hot tea.”

To them, fishing is their means of living, their way of life, and is the reason they are there.  Our sheds support more than just occupations.  They are places where neighboring fishermen bond with one another.

Thank you for your support.

Mari Poorman

Miura-san and PWA Ben with his new shed
Miura-san and PWA Ben with his new shed
With Oikawa-san at Isatomae port
With Oikawa-san at Isatomae port
Donor selection with district leader @ Yoriki
Donor selection with district leader @ Yoriki
Minato District Leader, Mr. Chiba
Minato District Leader, Mr. Chiba

Links:

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