Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan)

Association for Aid and Relief, Japan(AAR Japan) is a Non-Governmental Organization ( NGO ) aiming to provide emergency assistance, assistance to people with disabilities, and mine action, among other operations. It was established in 1979 as an organization with no political, ideological, or religious affiliation. AAR currently has offices in 10 countries.
Sep 22, 2014

Superhero Live Show at Soma Fireworks Festival

Ca. 200 children came to the superhero live show.
Ca. 200 children came to the superhero live show.

Soma Fireworks Festival has been held every year with a prayer for restoration and commemoration of the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster victims. This year, the festival was held on August 9th at Soma Koyo soccer field, Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture. Soma City and neighboring communities organize this event together to reunite the people who have scattered for evacuation and relocation. In support of their motive, AAR Japan has been involved in the planning of this event since 2011.The festival involves not only fireworks but also karaoke tournament, concert, games, and other shows. There are also many stalls that sell local food and products.

This year, AAR Japan organized superhero live show for children. Unfortunately, rain was sprinkling in the morning, and we were worried that we might need to cancel the event. Staff and children prayed for good weather all morning. In the end, sky must have heard our wishes. It stopped raining before the scheduled time for the superhero show. Many children gathered in front of the stage to see their favorite superheroes they always watch on TV. Children all cheered and shouted with joy when the superheroes finally appeared on stage, and their excitement reached its peak when their heroes battled with villains. The smiles on children’s faces told us that this event was a success.

After the superhero show was another fun event for the children, handshake event with the superheroes. Children ran up to their favorite superheroes and made a long line to shake hands with the heroes who they thought only existed on TV. It was very heartwarming to see manychildren running back to their parents to share their excitement as soon as they finished shaking hands with the heroes.

Three and a half years have passed since the 3.11 the Great East Japan Earthquake. A number of disaster survivors have moved into their new homes in Soma City, and we can feel that the restoration is on its way. On the other hand, concerns over radiation effect are still present; and the stress on children’s body and mind is never too light under such circumstance. AAR Japan will continue the activities to support the children of Soma City

Everyone cheered loudly to the superheroes.
Everyone cheered loudly to the superheroes.
A long line for the handshaking event.
A long line for the handshaking event.
Shaking hands with their favorite superheroes!
Shaking hands with their favorite superheroes!
Many stalls sold local culinary specialties
Many stalls sold local culinary specialties
Aug 26, 2014

Memory, a girl in our schooling support program

Memory, center, with her mother and brother
Memory, center, with her mother and brother

  Memory is one of the beneficiaries under AAR Japan’s schooling support projectfunded by Globalgiving.

  Memory was born in 1997 in Lusaka. She is currently staying with her 49-year-old mother Rhodah and 5 siblings. Her father left the family when Memory was born, because she was born through C-section and her father was not happy about the surgical procedure. He believed that medical doctors might have left instruments in his wife’s uterus.

  Rhodahwas left to care for her 7 children.Memory was still a baby at the time. Life was difficult for Rhodah, because as a fulltime housewife, she had no education to get a good paying job.Rhodah started selling oranges and bananas to feed her family. Though she had little income, she even tried to send her children to school. Due to the lack of financial resources, however,none of them could continue. Memory was the most eager one of all to continue her education, and in 2005, Memory’s wish found the way.She was recruited onto the AAR Japan schooling support project. Since then, AAR has been assisting her with school fees and necessary items such as notebooks, pens, and school uniforms.  She is currently in grade 10 at Flying Angels Secondary School and is a very active participant in school.

HER CURRENT LIVING CONDITIONS

  Memory’s brother has recently passed away from tuberculosis which is one of the most common opportunistic infectious diseases caused by HIV. Now Rhodahis the only breadwinner of the family, and she pays rentfrom the little profitshe makes. As she sells perishable food items, her earning is unstable; which makes it difficult for her to earn enough money for rent and three meals for her children. Memory and her family survive on two meals a day or sometimes one meal a day. To make the matters worse, Rhodah was diagnosed with hypertension a few months ago. For survival, Memory had no other choice but to work. She started selling fruits with her mother on weekends and holidays. This extra work sometimes hindersMemory from concentrating on her education, although she is a very motivated pupil. We often visit her to support her, because we sincerely hope that she will continue her education and get out this negative cycle.

HER AMBITION

  Memory hopes to complete her secondary school and go to college to be a medical doctor. She says, she wishes to contribute to the development of Zambia in the future. We strongly believe that education is the key to tackle the negative socio-economic impact of HIV/AIDS and plan to continue our support to children like Memory.

Memory, enjoying a comic book with her friends
Memory, enjoying a comic book with her friends
Memory in her school uniform of Flying Angels
Memory in her school uniform of Flying Angels
Aug 20, 2014

Fragrant Soap Making Class in Kaiyama

Ms. Itani introduced various scents
Ms. Itani introduced various scents

   AAR Japan visited the former residents of Katsurao Village, Fukushima Prefecture, where the radiation level is significantly high, at Kaiyama Temporary Housing Complex and held a Fragrant Soap Making Class and a Classic Concert.  32 people have participated.

   AAR has been hosting monthly events at various Temporary Housing Complex since May, 2012.  From this experience, we have found that many disaster victims suffer from isolation, insomnia, depression and other hardships.  Aiming to ease their stress and improve their mental health, we have organized this event in which participants could relax themselves with botanical aroma.  Aromatherapy is effective in altering a person’s mind, mood, cognitive function or health from negative to positive.

   Chihiro Itani, an aroma-therapist, lectured ‘Aromatherapy 101’ class and introduced the variety of essential oils and their effects.  It was the first time to appreciate aromatherapy for many of the participants, and they seemed very interested in the lecture.  After the lecture, participants sniffed and compared various scents and chose their favorite to make a fragrant soap with.  “I love this smell!”  “This one smells like shiso leaf.”  “What shape should I make?”  The conversation took lively turn.  To our surprise, there were several male participants actively engaging in the making of soap, which was a rare scene in our usual events.  A male participant who made a heart-shaped soap happily told us that he would give it to his wife as a present.

   There was an Instrumental Trio Concert with trumpet, trombone, and piano following the Soap Making Class.  Familiar songs and famous songs were played, and there were many participants who hummed along with their favorite tunes.

   Three years have passed since the 3.11 the Great East Japan Earthquake, and residents of the temporary housing complex grieve the fact that there are less and less events for them now.  They were afraid that they have been forgotten over time.  We will continue to hold events to support the disaster victims and make sure that no one is left behind. 

Male participants also enjoyed soap making
Male participants also enjoyed soap making
The conversation was lively
The conversation was lively
Instrumental Trio Concert
Instrumental Trio Concert
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