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.
Nov 13, 2014

Violin Concerts at Temporary Housing Complexes

The local musicians played the ocarina (4 Oct
The local musicians played the ocarina (4 Oct '04)

AAR Japan organises a variety of events for temporary housing residents, who have been living in a dire situation ever since the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, for the purpose of giving joy and encouragement to, and revitalising communities.

As one of such efforts, we organized violin and ocarina concerts at a temporary housing complex and community hall in Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture and Watari Town, Miyagi Prefecture on 4th and 5th of October, 2014. The temporary housing complex in Minamisoma City accommodates evacuees from Odaka-Ku near Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Their home was not only destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami, but also contaminated by radiation from the power plant, which prohibits the evacuees from returning to their homes. Watari Town is located in the coastal area in the south of Miyagi Prefecture and had a vibrant town life with a prospering fishing industry and a popular beautiful beach before the disaster.

On this occasion, we invited Ms Mitoko Sato, a Japanese violinist active in France who has been playing the violin in the disaster-stricken areas, to play in the temporary housing communities. ”I live off music”, she says and explains that “the only way that I can help the disaster survivors is through music”. At the concerts, she collaborated with a group of local ocarina musicians from Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, upon her request.

The concert started off with ocarina performance. The local musicians played Japanese popular songs, folk songs, and local traditional songs. The warm timbre of ocarina brought smiles to the residents of temporary housing complexes. Violin performance of classic music, which followed the ocarina performance, fascinated the audience, as well. The highlight of the concert was the joint performance of ocarina and violin. They played chorus music, which everyone knows from his/her school days, as well as Japanese National Television’s rooters’ song, “Hana wa Saku (Flowers bloom)”  “Hana ha Saku” was performed alongside sign language. The harmony of the violin and ocarina was truly beautiful. The audience brought back smiles to home after the concerts.

Three years and eight months after the disaster, some progress toward rehabilitation can be recognised in terms of construction of private housing and public permanent housing for the evacuees. However, approximately 188,000 people still live in temporary housing complexes in three prefectures affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. In order to support these evacuees and survivors, AAR Japan is determined to continue our assistance activities in disaster-stricken areas.

"Hana wa Saku" was performed along sign language
"Hana wa Saku" was performed along sign language
The violinist Ms Mitoko Sato
The violinist Ms Mitoko Sato
Joint performance of violin and ocarina
Joint performance of violin and ocarina
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

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