Disaster Relief Volunteer Project

 
$64,200
$15,800
Raised
Remaining
Jun 12, 2014

Building a new center for local farmers

Yamamoto-cho. Helping out building green houses.
Yamamoto-cho. Helping out building green houses.

Hands On Tokyo (HOT) volunteers continue to support a local farmer – Saito-san – in Yamamoto-cho.  In March, 15 HOT volunteers (including two teenagers who live in a children’s home in the Tokyo area) helped Saito-san build two new greenhouses and, in April, 16 HOT volunteers (including one teenager who lives in a children’s home in the Tokyo area) helped Saito-san install plastic siding on several greenhouses. HOT is also supporting Saito-san in the building of the New Rice Center to support rice farmers in the Yamamoto-cho area so they will have a place to store equipment and supplies and to work, gather and share information.  The New Rice Center will also be used to train new farmers. The cost of the materials was funded by Boy Scout Troop #5 at the American School in Japan (ASIJ) and the Tokyo Law Tennis Club.  With your generous donations, 19 HOT volunteers (including high school students from a volunteer club at the American School in Japan) helped build the New Rice Center in May.  The next day, the same 19 HOT volunteers assisted with the Ogatsu Island Farm Project which aims to grow local produce as a new business in Ogatsu.  The volunteers helped launch the Project by helping clear the soil.

 

Saito-san, his wife and other local rice farmers who will use the New Rice Center and those who are launching the Ogatsu Island Farm Project could not have done all this work without the support of HOT volunteers given the nature of the tasks and the continued labor shortage in certain parts of Tohoku.  Going forward, we will organize more volunteer trips to further support the New Rice Center, the Ogatsu Island Farm Project and Saito-san and others in Tohoku as they work hard to further rebuild their lives.

 

Even though it is more than three years since the triple disaster in Tohoku, there are still many people residing in temporary housing. With your generous contributions, HOT has been able to continue organizing cafés and other events at temporary housing sites in Tohoku as a way of supporting the residents who lost their homes in the tsunami while they are waiting to move into new homes. These events encourage people to spend a bit of time outside of their small temporary living quarters and to socialize with others in their temporary community. 

 

In March, we held a spring festival themed café at which a HOT volunteer performed several hula dances and taught the temporary housing residents the meaning of many hula dance moves.  The residents and the HOT volunteers then danced several hula dances together.  HOT volunteers also made and served yakisoba, sausages with tomatoes, soup, French toast, hot drinks, cheesecake and other sweets.  In April, we held another café at which HOT volunteers made lunch for the temporary housing residents and served hot drinks and sweets.  After lunch, one HOT volunteer played several beautiful songs on his keyboard.  At both cafes, it was wonderful seeing the power of music and dance to bring members of the temporary community and HOT volunteers together and to see so many smiling faces.  Thank you for making this possible with your generous donations. 

 

Going forward and so long as people are still living in temporary housing, we will hold more cafés and events at temporary housing sites in Tohoku.  We also will travel to Ogatsu to help maintain the O-Link community house (which was built with the help of your generous donations), to clean local beaches so that people from the greater Sendai area will continue to visit the area and thereby support the local economy and to hold special events to encourage those who are still waiting to resume their lives in Ogatsu and the surrounding communities.

 

Thank you in advance for your continued support which brings smiles to the faces of so many people in Tohoku.    

Yamamoto-cho. HOT cafe at temporary housing site
Yamamoto-cho. HOT cafe at temporary housing site
With ASIJ club. Making sand bags
With ASIJ club. Making sand bags
With ASIJ club. Building NRC
With ASIJ club. Building NRC's new pipe house.
Ogatsu. Removing rocks from soil for the new field
Ogatsu. Removing rocks from soil for the new field
Ogatsu. With ASIJ club and Ogatsu Island project
Ogatsu. With ASIJ club and Ogatsu Island project
Feb 28, 2014

HandsOnTokyo GlobalGiving Japan Matching Campaign

Exciting news! Once again, GlobalGiving, the US-based charity fundraising website, has announced a donation matching campaign for Tohoku projects. As in the previous year, GlobalGiving will match all donations by 100% (maximum $1,000 per donation) until their funds of US$100,000 run out.  In the last two campaigns, we received donations from hundreds of donors throughout the world. We would like to express our most heartfelt thanks to all those who donated so generously during this campaign.

In commemoration of the tragic events that occurred in northeast Japan, this year's matching campaign will begin on March 11, 2014. At Hands On Tokyo, our goal is to raise US$15,000 in this campaign.  With 100% matching from GlobalGiving, it is an extraordinary opportunity to make your donations go twice as far. We hope you will help us again in support of our Tohoku Projects.

This campaign is a reminder of just how much there is still left to do after three years from the Great East Japan earthquake. To this end, Hands On Tokyo is dedicated to continuing its programs in Tohoku to support the rebuilding and recovery of the region. O-Link House, our community center in Ogatsu, Miyagi-ken, was completed last spring and has since been hosting numerous activities. Please help us provide ongoing and sustainable community development in Ogatsu and other areas affected by the tragedy.

Please help spread the word about this important opportunity to support our Tohoku Projects. Below is the link to our project on the GlobalGiving site:

  **Please wait until March 11 (when the matching campaign starts) to make your donation** http://goto.gg/8934

We will be sending you a reminder email before the launch of the campaign, and again shortly before March 11.

Thank you for your generosity and continued support.

The Hands On Tokyo Team

Feb 19, 2014

Christmas & Valentine's in Tohoku

Volunteers handing out Christmas pillows
Volunteers handing out Christmas pillows

HOT volunteers continue to support a local farmer – Saito-san -- in Yamamoto-cho. In December, 20 HOT volunteers (including two teenagers who live in a children’s home in the Tokyo area) cleared Saito-san’s asparagus field and winterized three of his greenhouses. In February, 16 HOT volunteers (including one teenager from the children’s home) helped clear paprika plants from two of his greenhouses.  Saito-san and his wife could not have done this without the support of HOT volunteers given the nature of the tasks and the continued labor shortage in certain parts of Tohoku. Going forward, we will organize more volunteer trips to further support Saito-san and others in Tohoku as they work hard to further rebuild their lives.

There are still many people residing in temporary housing in Tohoku. With your generous contributions, HOT has been able to continue organizing cafes and other events at temporary housing sites in Tohoku as a way of supporting the residents who lost their homes in the tsunami while they are waiting to move into new homes. These events encourage people to spend a bit of time outside of their small temporary living quarters and to socialize with others in their temporary community. In December, we held a Christmas themed cafe at which a HOT volunteer played Christmas and other nostalgic songs on the flute and HOT volunteers made and served yakisoba, sausages with tomatoes from Saito-san’s farm, corn soup, French toast, hot drinks and Christmas sweets. After lunch, HOT volunteers folded paper cranes with some of the residents. We delivered 1,000 folded cranes (senbazuru) made by temporary housing residents in Tohoku together with HOT volunteers to the Philippines Embassy in Tokyo to wish the survivors of last year’s devastating typhoon a quick recovery.

The December HOT volunteers also distributed a holiday pillow to each temporary housing unit as part of a collaborative project with some of our partners. One partner donated about 100 pillows which were decorated with Santa appliques by volunteers in Tokyo. Children residing in a children’s home in the Tokyo area wrapped the pillows, made Christmas ornaments and wrote message cards.  From start to finish, this holiday project involved over 100 volunteers.

In February, HOT volunteers helped shovel snow and held a Valentine’s themed cafe. We distributed 100 Valentine’s candy bags made by seven HOT volunteers in Tokyo and made and served yakisoba, sausages, corn soup, French toast and Valentine’s sweets.  A HOT volunteer played nostalgic songs on the keyboard. It was wonderful seeing smiles on the faces of the temporary housing residents and the volunteers on a cold winter Sunday afternoon in Tohoku. Thank you for making this possible with your generous donations. 

Going forward, we will hold more cafes and events at temporary housing sites in Tohoku.  We also will travel to Ogatsu to help maintain the community house (which was built with the help of your generous donations), to clean local beaches so that people from the greater Sendai area will continue to visit the area and thereby support the local economy and to hold special events to encourage those who are still waiting to resume their lives in Ogatsu.

Thank you in advance for your continued support which touches the hearts of so many people in Tohoku.   

Helping winterize Saito-san
Helping winterize Saito-san's green house
Group shot from Christmas HOT Cafe
Group shot from Christmas HOT Cafe
Residents at temporary housing in Yamamoto-cho
Residents at temporary housing in Yamamoto-cho
Valenetine
Valenetine's goodie bags & 1000 folded cranes
Mar 10, 2014

Double your donations today to support more families like Kazuo and Masako!

Kazuo & Masako "Thank you for helping my farm"
Kazuo & Masako "Thank you for helping my farm"

Today, we'd like to share a story out of many lives you have changed - through supporting our project.

Kazuo and Masako's story

Kazuo and Masako Saito are paprika farmers in Yamamoto-cho, Miyagi-ken. All they remember of the hours that followed the March 11th earthquake were the aftershocks, the bitter cold, and the constant fear that ensued. After evacuating his family to a safe area, Kazuo dedicated himself to help locate survivors in the Kasano-ku area, where he serves as a local leader. 

Like many in their community, the family lost everything they owned to the tsunami. Their home and farm, located 100m from the coastline, were completely washed away. They also lost all their machinery, which is detrimental for a farmer. Although they managed to rent damaged fields from a friend, the work that laid ahead for Kazuo and Masako was daunting, especially with no machinery.

But in July 2011, a local volunteer organization introduced them to Hands On Tokyo (HOT). HOT volunteers helped them plow their fields, construct green houses, and to plant, grow and harvest their paprika.

Today, the Saito family lives in three separate temporary housing units. They long for the day when the entire family can all live under the same roof again. And they still need help to get back on their feet. In addition to purchasing new machines, they need to secure direct sales outlets to sell their produce. HOT will continue to provide assistance to the Saito's, as well as to other farmers in the community.

In honor of the 3rd anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, GlobalGiving is hosting a matching campaign for recovery projects in the Tohoku area. Starting today, your donations will be matched 100% by GlobalGiving until matching funds last. To donate, click on "give now" button below.  

Thank you for supporting this project, and for helping to tranform the lives of people like Kazuo and Masako!

Photo: "I am thankful for helping my farm - Arigato"
Taken on February 8, 2014, by HOT volunteers who provided assistance to the Saito's during a snow storm.

Nov 18, 2013

O-Link House, A Beacon of Hope for Ogatsu People

O-Link House surrounded by flowers
O-Link House surrounded by flowers

The Ogatsu landscape has further changed in recent months.  All building structures that remained in one form or another after the earthquake and tsunami have been torn down including the former town hall which served as a storage and work area over the past 2.5 years.  With the help of your generous donations, Hands on Tokyo (HOT) was able to build the first permanent structure in Ogatsu since March 11th – the new community center known as O-Link House.  HOT volunteers helped paint and did landscaping before O-Link House opened a few months ago. Surrounded by vast open spaces, this community center serves as a beacon of hope for the former residents of Ogatsu who still hope to return home someday.

In July we held a workshop at O-Link House for HOT volunteers to study the impact of our activities since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami and to consider how we can continue to support the Ogatsu area.  The next day we supported the “Sea Urchin Festival,” a very popular event in Ogatsu over many years.  This was the second such festival since March 11th and many former residents and visitors attended.  HOT volunteers helped O-Link House serve drinks, food and summer festival sweets.  It was very good seeing so many smiling faces in Ogatsu.

While delivering over 300 Halloween goodie bags to two elementary schools in the Ogatsu area, HOT volunteers recently paid a visit to O-Link House and were very happy to see how it is being used as a gallery for local artists, a place to train the next generation of inkstone carvers (an important traditional craft which was centered in Ogatsu prior to the tsunami) and a lovely café run by former Ogatsu residents serving delicious coffee, homemade cakes and chocolate and berry parfaits.  It is very important to have provided a means for former Ogatsu residents to earn a livelihood once again in Ogatsu.  Thank you for empowering them with such an opportunity through your generous donations.

With your continued support, on a going forward basis, we will continue to plan volunteer trips to Ogatsu to help maintain the community house, to clean local beaches so that people from the greater Sendai area will continue to visit the area and thereby support the local economy, to hold special events in Ogatsu to support and encourage those who are waiting to move back to Ogatsu and to support others in the Ogatsu area in their continued efforts to relaunch their former businesses or start new businesses.

Since our last report, HOT volunteers also continued to support a local farmer – Saito-san -- in Yamamoto-cho who needed assistance rebuilding one of his greenhouses and staking growing red and green pepper plants. He and his wife could not have done this without the support of volunteers given the nature of the tasks and the labor shortage in certain parts of Tohoku.

Going forward, we plan to organize more volunteer trips to further support Saito-san and others in Tohoku as they work hard to further rebuild their lives.

Thank you in advance for your continued support.

  Volulnteer serving drinks & sweets to locals
Volulnteer serving drinks & sweets to locals
Halloween goodie bags for school kids
Halloween goodie bags for school kids
Volunteers helping local farmers
Volunteers helping local farmers
Yummy looking menu of O-Link House Cafe
Yummy looking menu of O-Link House Cafe

Links:

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Project Leader

Naho Hozumi

Tokyo, Japan

Where is this project located?

Map of Disaster Relief Volunteer Project