Since the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, the unemployment rate in the Tohoku region has skyrocketed. The main industries of the region - fishing & agriculture - have been devastated, putting the future of hundreds of thousands in jeopardy. Of specific concern has been the rising unemployment of youth who must now re-invent their future.
Through meetings with local officials, community center staff, volunteers, and the community itself, the lack of support and training in the fields of youth leadership and social development has been explicitly identified as a major drawback to communities' stability and growth.
IsraAID believes that providing youth with professional guidance, support, and empowerment is the key to the economic rehabilitation of Tohoku. Consequently, the organization seeks to develop a program that links youth from Tohoku with successful companies and social activism. The program will combine capacity-building and professional internships to provide valuable skills in social leadership, group dynamics, entrepreneurship, innovation and technology.
IsraAID is currently broadening its involvement in Japan by providing professional training and custom-tailored education programs which strive to empower young individuals to promote economic rehabilitation in Tohoku's stricken communities. The programs combine self-development and leadership training with business entrepreneurship and vocational skills. The leadership trainings are designed to encourage the youth to become socially active and serve as a mobilizing force within their fragile and distressed communities, while the entre-preneurship and vocational skills trainings aim to inspire the local youth to consider their future professional careers in Tohoku.
IsraAID is collaborating with other organizations that are able to accommodate Tohoku communities' need for professional education and training. We believe that major businesses in Japan can use IsraAID's local knowledge and relationship with the communities in order to convey their specific know-how while enhancing their reach and contributing to the rebuilding efforts within IsraAID's youth leadership program. By cooperating with IsraAID’s project, these companies are given the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to the communities they operate in, and participate in creating a future vision, based on their organization's values.
Accordingly, in August 2012 IsraAID successfully completed a pilot program in collaboration with Hilton Tokyo. A group of ten high schools students from different areas in Tohoku participated in 6 days of intensive training during which they received both skills and job training by Hilton staff, as well as group building activities, creative thinking, innovation and leadership training by IsraAID. The Summer Internship was designed to empower the youth from Tohoku to take responsibility for their futures as individuals and as a community, and through job and skills training at the Hilton Tokyo, the students were introduced to a variety of possible careers for their future.
September- December 2012 IsraAid conducted 2 leadership workshops for youth groups in Sendai and Shinchi in Fukushima and Miyagi prefecture.
The theme of the workshops was community volunteerism and creative thinking.
In Addition IsraAid's youth group in Sendai received a workshop about how to use photography for social change conducted by Mr. Alex Levac- Israel award winning photographer.
The summer pilot of the vocational skills & leadership training at the Hilton Tokyo was also appreciated by Hilton Worldwide that granted the Tokyo hotel with the "Bright future Hilton award". Following the great success of the summer pilot, next year IsraAID will proceed and coordinate 4 more similar seminars for youth from Tohoku. The next training will take place on the coming January 2013, on which IsraAID will collaborate with Hilton Tokyo and ADRA Japan in providing training for youth from Koriyama in Fukushima.
The leadership training part of the program had been developed and will include leadership training not only for the students participating but also for their teachers. The teachers will learn about the meaning and importance of social leadership and be provided with set of tools that they can use to empower their students for action. Moreover, the 5 days of intensive training in the Hilton will be followed by 3 months of weekly trainings in Fukushima for the youth in their high school. During the program the students will be guided on how to plan a community event which they will conduct themselves at the end of the program.
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