203 kids of Fukushima joined winter camp from 23rd to 30th of December in 2014.
Winter camp was held in 6 areas in Japan. We are also preparing for spring camp in March.
Fukushima Kids program will continue to this coming summer. Kids of Fukushima will have chance to join the programs twice more.
We are planning to have a presentation to tell thaks to all over the world in New York in October this year.
Thank you very much for supporting our programs.
As we carry out the 2015 Spring Program
Fukushima Kids Executive Committee
Chairperson Toru Shinshi
It’s been 4 years since the Tohoku earthquake and nuclear disaster. Life is now back to normal, but in reality, the people of Fukushima continue to live alongside radiation, making people feel somewhat uneasy and leaving them with complex feelings about the issue.
“Fukushima Kids” began activities in summer 2011. At that point we announced that we would definitely be continuing our activities for the next 5 years, and this year is the last year of that promise. Though there are some who are unhappy that the course is ending, I feel that it is time for the “Fukushima Kids” project to move onto the next step for the children’s growth while responding to occasional changes in society.
At these times, we remember something very important, which is that we have managed to come this far together with the families that shared our, the executive committee’s, goal to “bring back the smiles and cheer to the children”. Thanks to this, we have been able to sense the growth of these children, and we believe that in the future they will be able to create a new, reborn version of our home, Fukushima, for us.
These wonderful results are also down to all of the people that have lent us assistance in the past 5 years, so we feel that we must notify them of these achievements and express our deepest gratitude. To this end, in October we will hold a reception in front of the UN Headquarters in New York for the “Japan Society”, who have helped us enormously, as well as all of the many other international groups that have aided us in the past. We also plan to hold a farewell party in Bandai-Atami in November and hope for your understanding and cooperation.
As we prepare for these events, this March will see the start of the 12th “Fukushima Kids Spring Program”. This time we will hold this program in Onuma and Yubari (Hokkaido), Hida-Takayama, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto, the base of Kanazawa’s Mt. Haku, Nagasaki, and 8 locations within the prefecture, with many activity courses for the participants on offer. As we are continue our preparations in each of these areas, we have confidence that this cooperation can spread to each part of Japan and become a set of spring activities that the children can all learn very much from.
In regards to you all, we would very much like your participation, and as you look over these important participation points and gear up you preparations, to also never forget that there are people all over Japan and all over the world who share the same feelings towards the Fukushima Kids activities as we do.
375 kids joined Fukushima Kids summer camp in 2014.
All kids and their parents write letters to tell their feelings, thanks, and so on to join the programs.
I introduce 2 letters, one from a child, one from a mom.
After reading each letter, I understand the meaning and the importance of Fukushima Kids programs.
"Things I Think About"
I haven’t been able to eat vegetables and fruits from Fukushima anymore after the disaster because I’m afraid of radiation.
So I tell mom to buy foods from other prefectures.
I had a thyroid exam in March. I was the only one in my class to have an exam twice at a university hospital. I was so scared and sweated so much when I got a shot in my throat. I thought, “Why only me?” I wondered if it was because I went to get some water or because I was outside when the disaster happened. Now I don't play outside for a long time anymore. I want to play a lot.
Also, I appreciate that Fukushima Kids has been here for us. Thank you.
A letter from a boy in Fukushima
"To All Fukushima Kids staff members"
This is the third time we participated in your event.
To be honest, my son had told me ‘‘I don’t want to go alone far away from home every holiday. I am not going this summer,’’ before he visited Onuma. However, the moment he came home from Onuma, he said ‘‘I am going there again this summer!’’
He said he was so happy because university students, who were there as staff members, were really friendly to him, and that he promised them he will be with them again this summer.
I have seen a page on Fukushima Kids’ website where staff members are introduced, and I came to really appreciate that so many people help our children out. Thank you for everything that you do, and I am sorry that my son is a bit naughty. We look forward to joining your future events.
A letter from a mom in Fukushima
This is the fouth summer after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
And our summer camping program is also fourth times.
About 370 kids of Fukushima joins our Fukushima Kids Summer Camp 2014. There are 5 programs and 19 courses in this year. The shortest one is 4 nights and 5 days, and the longest one is 27 nights and 28 days program.
Still now some kids are going on the program. They spend times with friends, local people, and lots of volunteers. They have lots of chance to climb trees, swim in the river, cook outside, catch fish, and so on. They look so happy to do something outside, because they don't have enough time to do in Fukushima. Still the nucler power pollution is undisolved.
These kids are so lucky to spend such wonderful times because of your big support from all over the world.
Thank you very much.
198 kids enjoyed Fukushima Kids Spring Camp 2014. 61 kids went to Hokkaido, 31 kids went to Abukuma, 36 kids went to Hidatakayama, 40 kids went to Kyoto, 15 kids went to Hyogo, and 15 kids went to Nagasaki. They had chance to see many people, do lots of activities, and encounter nature.
Fukushima Kids... The Road to Hope
Tooru Shinshi, Committee Chairman
1. Announcing our 5-year Plan in 2011
What we honestly feel in our hearts right now is that we have done well to get this far in three years. We would like to thank each and every one of you reading this 2013 report for all your wonderful support. So far, over 3,200 children from Fukushima have participated in the Fukushima Kids project. In my heart I strongly feel that we have made progress, one step at a time, towards the full growth and development of these children.
2. The Executive Committee’s Resolution
The Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant explosion of March 12th, 2011 was an unimaginable incident. At that point, the local residents' ordinary lives were changed forever. When the disaster struck, I was running a small nature school in a sparsely populated area in the Abukuma Mountains, and I will never forget the tremendous fear we felt of the invisible radiation that was coming our way. This made me feel, "No matter what happens, we must never snatch away the smiles from our children's faces!" instilling in me a strong belief in the need to protect and help our children grow. By using the experience-based education network that I had built before the earthquake, we were able to form the Fukushima Kids Executive Committee. When we started this project, we were subject to slanderous claims, but our resolve did not falter.
We had to build systems for receiving donations, accepting children into our project, organizing modes of transport... there were tons of things that needed to be done.
The parents and guardians of Fukushima knew next to nothing about our private nature school, and some of them thought, "Is it safe for us to leave our kids with those strangers?" Therefore our first step was to work hard to assuage their concerns. The locations that needed our help were enveloped in an almost indescribable chaos. However, feeling that our actions would have great significance on the lives of others, we continued moving forward, constantly reflecting on our activities and making improvements to successfully complete our 9th initiative in 3 years.
3. The Growth of the Children and New Opportunities
The children who completed our initiatives became much stronger, kinder, and able to care for others. Parents and guardians were able to really feel how much their children had grown, which helped to gradually strengthen their trust in our executive committee. The locations we were able to help also came to include the whole of Hokkaido, primarily the areas of Onuma and Yubari. In addition, our cooperation network was also expanded to Gifu Prefecture, Nagano Prefecture, Kanagawa Prefecture, Kyoto, Hyogo Prefecture, Ehime Prefecture, Nagasaki Prefecture, and Kumamoto Prefecture. Although over time people who are far away have come to forget the situation in Fukushima, the areas we are helping have always been by our side.
At the beginning children join our projects passively, but then over time they gradually become more autonomous in their understanding that each one of them can be useful to others and bring them happiness. In the end they are able to act of their own accord to move towards the future. It makes us extremely happy to know that some of these children wish, "When I become an adult, I want to repay the favor to the people who helped me."
Today, we'd like to share stories of the people you have changed - through supporting our project.
Kazuki and Yuta
Kazuki and Yuta are university students living in Tokyo. After experiencing the earthquake disaster on March 11th, their perspectives in life changed significantly. Immediately following the earthquake, they did not know what to do, and they were plagued by worries.
About one year after the earthquake disaster, they came across the activities of Fukushima Kids. Up until then, they had a vague desire to do something, and this was the moment when they actually began to act. Through the activities of Fukushima Kids, they met many people throughout society, from middle school and high school children to the elderly, which allowed them to have many experiences and encounter different values and world-views. The most important thing that they gained through these activities was a connection with other people. They could not help but feel a connection with Japanese society and the world.
These young men want to participate in the next activity, and contribute even more to society alongside the people they connected with through Fukushima Kids.
Keiko is a housewife living in Fukushima, and the mother of two girls. Having experienced the great earthquake of March 11, she learned that life is limited, and has since felt that she should cherish every day that she lives. There were a lot of hard things after the earthquake, but it made her appreciate her neighbors who are helping out each other, and she learned that the world was still full of warm hearts, that the world was still worth living in.
In the fall of last year, she found out about Fukushima Kids. While people all over Japan gradually forgot about Fukushima, the executive council of Fukushima Kids and the many supporters kept working seriously for Fukushima and the children of Fukushima—that brought warmth to her heart. "If I hadn't participated in this activity, I would never have known that so many people are finding ways to support us—some supporters are elderly, some are small children, some have disabilities, some are struggling themselves in life—if I hadn't found this out, then I might have been caught in the bitterness of a victim mentality."
"I think that encouraging the many children of Fukushima with the knowledge that 'so many people around the world are supporting us' is an invaluable thing to do."
In honor of the 3rd anniversary of East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, GlobalGiving is hosting a matching campaign for projects that work for recovery in Tohoku area. Starting today, your donations will be matched 100% by GlobalGiving until matchign funds last. To donate, click on "give now" button below.
Thank you for your support for this project, and thank you for tranforming the lives of Keiko, Kazuki, Yutaka, and many others!
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