Thank you to everyone who continues to support the on-going recovery efforts in Tohoku. Your donations helped to continue to bring attention to these recovery efforts through a matching campaign at the three-year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami. Matching campaigns of this magnitude do not come around often, but it was well worth it for this cause. Overall, $102,336 funds were raised from 783 unique donors! Out of the 32 projects that took part in this matching day, the top three performing projects all raised over $9,000 each without matching. Here are some updates from these organizations:
The Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund’s project Help Students, Families and Schools Recover raised $24,634 from 314 unique donors, making the final fundraising total, with matching, $49,203! This project is working to provide a public library and help the Asahigaoka Gakuen Children’s Home in Kesennuma. In the Fund’s latest report, donors were informed that over 100 books were donated by Ambassador Kennedy to the Taylor Anderson Reading Corner last November. Additionally, for the past three winters, the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund has provided children at the orphanage in Kesennuma with Christmas presents and other gifts through a Christmas Wish program. All gifts were tailored to each specific child, and there was even a party where the children performed on stage for each other. While the project has not been fully funded yet, the organization wishes to thank all of its incredibly gracious donors. They would not have been able to raise nearly $50,000 in one day without you!
Fukushima Kids Executive Committee has been able to send children to Hokkaido through the project Bring Smiles to 500 Children of Fukushima. Through the Matching Day, Fukushima Kids was able to raise $12,920 from 25 unique donors, rounding out to a total of $24,840 including matching! Since the tragedy, Fukushima Kids has helped over 3,200 children escape to Hokkaido to relax and play outside, instead of being trapped in the disaster-stricken Fukushima. The organization has seen great improvement in the children who have participated in the program, and many wish “when I become an adult, I want to repay the favor to the people who helped me”. Keiko, a mother two, feels so touched that so many around the world have helped Fukushima survivors like herself. She says because of the program, she is no longer “caught in the bitterness of a victim mentality”.
Academy Camp’s project School of Fun for Children in Fukushima also performed very well in the Matching Day. In just one day, Academy Camp raised $9,120 from 51 unique donors, and $18,200 in total! Similar to Fukushima Kids’ work, Academy Camp strives to help the children of Fukushima who are forced to stay indoors because of the disaster aftermath. This project brings roughly 40 children of all ages to areas with lower radiation to allow them to play, learn, and team-build all outside. In their latest report, Academy Camp told the story of a student volunteer from the last camp on Lake Inawashiro, Fukushima. The student described how they all learned how to use an AED and do chest compressions for someone who is choking. They also went out in E-boats on the lake and experienced the beautiful outdoors. The student ended the report by saying “I hope that more people will know about this camp and share the enjoyment with a large number of people together.” Thanks to donors like you, these kids continue to have meaningful experiences they might not otherwise have had a chance to have.
Because of these three organizations, many affected children and families have been able to recover from the travesty of the Japan earthquake and tsunami three years ago. Even though it has been three years, there is still much more work to be done to improve the lives of these individuals. All of this progress, however, would not be possible without all of you - keep up the great work!
"I'm thankful for the chance for kids in Fukushima to become independent."
Today, to commemorate the third anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, we invite you to see the faces and read stories from people, like Keiko, above, who have been affected by your donations: 3yearslater3-11.tumblr.com.
To date, you and other GlobalGiving donors have helped fund more than 35 organizations doing relief and recovery work. You helped Project YUI set up a nursery home in Ishinomaki, so that mothers will have time to look for jobs. You supported OISCA International with their re-forestation project in Natori City. You sent ETIC funds to send entrepreneurs to help revitalize small businesses in Tohoku. You should feel proud that you’ve helped contribute to the incredible accomplishments that these organizations have made toward re-building homes, lives, and communities in Japan.
Furthermore, because the work of recovery and community re-building in Tohoku continues, we are announcing one final matching campaign for Japan recovery organizations. GlobalGiving will match your donations to Japan projects at 100% from March 10th, 11am EDT (March 11th, 0am JST) until $100,000 matching funds last. Please consider supporting organizations that are doing amazing ongoing work in Japan.
If you would like to share a recovery story that you're thankful for, please join us in posting your #3yearslater story on Facebook, twitter, or instagram this week. Here's how: Step 1: Write on a piece of paper, "I'm thankful for...." (and fill-in the blank!) Step 2: Take an un-selfie of yourself holding the paper Step 3: Post to Facebook, twitter, or Instagram using the #3yearslater hashtag
Once again, we’d like to thank your very generous support over the last three years. Although this will be our last matching campaign for Japanese organizations, dollars raised through this fund will continue to be allocated to our partners in Tohoku, and the vital work will continue.
Mari Seto and the GlobalGiving Team
As we welcome the new year, we have exciting updates from two of our partners that received grants from GlobalGiving’s Tsunami and Earthquake Relief!
Association for Aid and Relief Japan (awarded $500,000)
Since 3.11, AAR Japan has continuously been providing support for people with disabilities in Fukushima. AAR Japan set up many facilities where they provide working opportunities for persons with disabilities. Some of the funds contributed to repairing and reconstructing these facilities, so that workers can work comfortably.
Another major focus for AAR Japan has been to create an environment to maintain mental and physical health of the people living in temporary housing complexes and subsidized housing. They have organized social events for towns and communities, and overnight field trips for children. As days that the evacuees spend in the temporary housing complexes become longer, it is important to reduce the stress among the communities. Creating an opportunity where people can bond will help the community grow bigger and stronger.
With the funds you helped provide, AAR Japan also installed playground equipment and delivered bottled water to nurseries and kindergartens in Fukushima. For more updates, learn from here!
ETIC. (awarded $500,000)
Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC.) is an organization that sends young aspiring leaders to Tohoku, where they can help the local leaders to grow their business or organizations. As of June 2013, they selected and sent 157 fellows to work in Tohoku.
Fellows are recruited through an online website, and ETIC. received 454 applications to date. After the Fellows are selected, they go through an intensive training process, and later they are sent to projects where the Fellows are matched based on their past experiences and skills.
Fellows are placed in various locations throughout Tohoku. For example, Akane is placed in Kesennuma, where she manages the logistics for a regional energy development project. Shiro is located in Onagawa, where he helps to revitalize local businesses like hotels through his past experiences of sales and marketing. Yuya is managing the tourism projects in the city of Kamaishi City in Iwate Prefecture. Fellows’ work have been widely popular among the local communities, and the demands for their work are increasing in Tohoku.
ETIC.’s work is widely popular in Tohoku, and they plan on continuing this program for the coming years. Responding to the needs from the local community, they are expanding their plan from “200 Fellows in 3 years” to “300 fellows in 5 years.” They are also planning on focusing on “innovative” projects that can be expandable to other areas, to revitalize Tohoku local businesses and communities. To read more about their updates in the future, learn from here!
We’d like to thank you again for your overwhelming support for the past two years and 10 months. Although there is less news coverage about the aftermath of earthquake and tsunami, there are still people who struggle every day to recover what they had before 3.11. GlobalGiving is committed to supporting long-term recovery of the Tohoku area, and we are thankful that you are too.
In the last report, we shared with you a new exciting group of grantees from the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Let us share what the new partners have been up to today!
Friends of El Sistema Japan (FESJ)
We awarded Friends of El Sistema Japan (FESJ), an organization that provides musical education and opportunities for students in Fukushima, $100,000. With those funds, FESJ invited instructors from Venezuela and inspired students like Marina. Marina joined a summer orchestra class, and by the end, she led a 90-person orchestra as a violinist.
Here is Marina's comment after the concert; "I've never had this kind of learning opportunity. Teachers from Venezuela were so helpful to making me understand how to solve the problems which I had encountered. I really feel I am better at playing violin than ever before. Well, I am surely different from what I used to be and I am now proud of myself…” For more updates from FESJ, click here to learn more!
On the Road
We awarded On the Road $100,000 to build a “Long Beach House” in Ishinomaki. On the Road started to build a space for the community members to bond, and many commercial space including a guesthouse, where tourists and volunteers from outside the prefecture can stay cheaply. We hope this facility will energize the local community! For more updates from On the Road, learn from here.
Finally, we awarded OISCA International $150,000 for a reforestation project in Natori City located in Miyagi Prefecture. When tsunami hit, 100 hectares of forest was lost - but with the help from the local community and the government, OISCA International is restoring the damaged area in the next ten years. They have recently received a new 4WD from their corporate partner that allows the team to make trips to the field more frequently. We hope this will boost their activities to plant the black pine seedlings. For more updates from OISCA International, learn from here.
We at GlobalGiving really appreciate your long-term interest in the recovery efforts in Japan. We have awarded grants to 19 organizations to date, and we are supporting many more through fundraising activities on GlobalGiving. Your contribution to this fund is making all this possible. Thank you very, very much!
More than two years have passed since a 7.2 earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan, and you have helped raise over $10 million through GlobalGiving to support more than 25 organizations working directly in Miyagi, Iwate, and more recently, Fukishima.
In March 2013 I returned to Japan with GlobalGiving’s president and co-founder, Mari Kuraishi, to visit the rebuilding efforts that your funds have supported. Two years after 3.11, much has changed. Where a year ago lights were dimmed even in Tokyo and everyone talked obsessively about how to be ready for the next big one in the national public media, now a sense of normalcy has returned to places like Tokyo not directly affected by the disaster. Even in Tohoku, the piles of debris that had covered the landscape just a year before were gone, and in their place were empty fields.
But a lot of things, especially in the depleted and torn up coastal communities are not back to normal, and there is no question that whatever emerges for the Tohoku area, it will have to be a new normal. For one, the question of economic viability—already sharp for the Tohoku communities that even before the tsunami had been aging more quickly than the rest of the country—has become truly acute. This is still no resolution on the very basic question of where people will live—will they be allowed to rebuild on the pieces of land they own so close to the flooding areas?—and people’s main assets are locked up in limbo, stifling bottom-up economic recovery. What this means on a day-to-day basis is that many families are still living in cramped temporary shelters. There is as yet no timeline for people to move into more permanent homes. In Fukushima, the problem is compounded by the fact that people have to decide whether they want to move back to their homes near the nuclear power plant explosion or abandon everything they own.
In this context, we have ended up supporting a two pronged approach in our final grantmaking for the recovery efforts in Tohoku. One, we have found a couple of promising projects working on finding viable alternative economic activities in Miyagi, and would very much like to see them succeed. Two, we have continued to provide ease for the elderly, the young, and the disabled who cannot leave or build out new ventures, in the hope that the communities will be revitalized over time to take care of them all. A list of our most recent grants are at the bottom of this letter. We hope you’ll watch over their evolution and champion their progress.
We’re looking forward to updating you on the progress of these newest grants in the coming months.
Thank you again, Britt
P.S. The Japanese Red Cross Society recently put out a list of the top countries that donated to the relief effort here. According to this study, if GlobalGiving were a separate country, we would be the fourth largest donor. Thanks for your generosity!
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