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.
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
Jun 25, 2014

Providing Play Equipment to Evacuee Children

Enjoying conversation while playing
Enjoying conversation while playing

Three years have passed since the 3.11 the Great East Japan Earthquake.  However, in Fukushima, significant number of people are still obliged to live in temporary housing complexes due to the damage caused by the earthquake, tsunami, and the nuclear disaster.  Some people have lost hopes on going back to their hometowns altogether and have decided to settle down in the northern part of the prefecture, where radiation level is relatively low.  New apartments have been built in the northern cities and towns to host these evacuees, but several disaster victims still remain in temporary housing complexes for various reasons.

To support the residents in temporary housing complexes, especially the children, AAR Japan provides play equipment to help them improve their physical and psychological health. Recently, we have placed new play equipment at the temporary housing complexes in Koriyama City and Miharu Town, where former residents of Tomioka Town now reside.  Tomioka Town is within a 20 km radius of the Fukushima First Nuclear Power Plant whose nuclear reactors melted down and released substantial amount of radioactive materials.  Due to the high radiation level, the former residents of Tomioka Town are still unable to go back to their hometown. 

 On April 25th, we brought swings and spring riders to the temporary housing complex in Koriyama City.  During the day, children in nursery school visit the play area with their teachers; in the evenings, children living in the temporary housing complex play there with their friends.  All the equipment is designed for children to play together, which facilitates not only children but also the parents to communicate with each other through play. 

 The teachers at the nurseryschool thanked us deeply and said, “All the play equipment is so colorful that just looking at them cheers us up.  The swings can be used by children of all ages for various types of play.  I am sure children will enjoy playing with this equipment for a very long time.  Thank you for providing us with such great play equipment.”

(All pictures were taken at the Housing Complex in Koriyama City.  May 20th, 2014.)

Children enjoyed the
Children enjoyed the 'Cradle Swing' with AAR staff
Make a rush for the play equipment after school
Make a rush for the play equipment after school
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