Support high school students in Tohoku

 
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Dear Global Giving supporters,

Thank you for your continued support toward AMDA's activities. We appreciate your generosity.

In August 2012, two high school students from Okayama Koyo High School Interact Club members visited Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture to volunteer, and to exchange ideas with AMDA Otsuchi High School Club members. This project made possible thanks to the generous support from Okayama Seinan Rotary Club.

The escorting teacher of Okayama Koyo High School to this project commented later, “Both students received a huge impact from the disaster area. What they saw, and what they heard must have left a profound impression on them. After the visit to Otsuchi, their attitude changed in a good way.”

For a full report, please see the attached report.


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Thank you Global Giving donors for your continued support to the high school students in Tohoku, Japan.

In July 2012, students from Otsuchi, Iwate prefecture visited Okayama where AMDA Headquarter is located, to interact with students in Okayama. Through the same generation exchange program, our hope was it would bring the power of recovery for the affected students. For the students in Okayama where natural disasters are rare, it would give them an opportunity to realize the need of preparedness for the possible future disasters.

Students who participated during the 6-day program said they cried some, laughed a lot, enjoyed new friendship, and lots of email addresses were exchanged among themselves.

For full story, please read the attached file. 

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As part of recovery project of Tohoku Earthquake, AMDA is distributing AMDA International Scholarship to the surviving students in the affected area since 2011. Seven eligible schools were Iwate Prefectural Kamaishi High School, Iwate Prefectural Kamaishi Commercial & Technical High School, Iwate Prefectural Otsuchi High School, Miyagi Prefectural Shizukawa High School, Sendai Medical Health Institute, Iwate Prefectural Ofunato High School, Tohoku North Korean School. Eighty Six selected students recommended by the principals of each school received 15,000 yen per month (annual amount of 180,000 yen). Twenty four students among them graduated in the spring of 2011, and each graduate is taking a new step.

Please read the entire report by clicking on the attached Activity Report IV.


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Giving Principal Yamagata a donor crane & message
Giving Principal Yamagata a donor crane & message

High on the bluff of the city of Otsuchi is the prefectural high school. For several months after the disaster the high school gym was one of the main evacuation centers of the city where fires burned for up to four days following the earthquake and tsunami. Because the tsunami struck during the students' spring break--and Japanese school years start in April--the start of school was delayed by several weeks last year. But for the students that were able to make it, some were living in the gym with their families well into the summer, and when finally they were assigned to temporary housing, they discovered that they were now unaccustomedly far from school. Because the temporary housing--small container houses of approximately 300+ sq ft for each household--had to be located in areas that were not going to be damaged by tsunamis caused by the strong aftershocks that continue to this day, they were necessarily far from the port town of Otsuchi, tucked into the valleys that snake up behind the bluffs at the outer perimeter of the city.

For those students, these scholarship funds give them and their families just a little bit more leeway to pay for the university prep courses that every aspiring college student needs to take, and gives them a sense that somebody out there cares whether they succeed or fail. For privacy reasons we didn't have an opportunity to meet the students that received the scholarship funds, but the school principal reported that he was encouraged to see that student enrollment had ticked up again this year after a drop following the tsunami. Many students had relocated with their families, going to live with relatives far from Otsuchi, but some had managed to come back. The school was not damaged structurally by the earthquake, so it creates a little haven of continuity to the pre 3.11 world that looks so remote everywhere else in the city.

Before and after at Otsuchi
Before and after at Otsuchi

Thanks to the tremendous contribution from donors to the “Support High School Students in Tohoku” project, AMDA has finished awarding the first year’s grants to 84 students from 5 high schools, 1 unified lower and secondary school and 1 vocational technical school in Tohoku.  Each student receives 15,000 yen / month (180,000 yen/year) with no repayment obligation until she/he graduates high school.  Your donations through GlobalGivng site have definitely contributed towards funding these grants.

At the time of this report, it is worth noting that the beneficiaries included students at a school for North Korean residents. Even though this school’s main building was badly damaged, the school opened its dormitory to the elderly in the neighborhood and dispatched food and emergency supplies to evacuation shelters. AMDA thought the school’s efforts deserved recognition and support, especially considering that schools for foreign residents are not treated equally by the School Education Act of Japan and do not qualify to receive state subsidies even in times of disaster.

To respect the privacy of the beneficiaries, we cannot carry photographs related to this project.  We hope you'll see what we have done from the table below, and from some letters from the students themselves.

<Some letters AMDA received from the recipients (Originally in Japanese)>

“What I can do for Takata city” (3rd grade)

Becoming a medical doctor is my long-held dream.  In the earthquake and tsunami last March, I lost the house where I was raised, my mother, grandparents, cousins, best friends and many other people important to me.  In the aftermath, I was totally at a loss, not knowing what to do next, and nearly gave up my hope of becoming a doctor.  However, as I watched my hometown, Rikuzen Takata city, gradually being restored, a strong feeling started to grow within me that I truly want to come back to Takata after becoming a doctor, and contribute to the rehabilitation of my home town.  Once again I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a medical doctor.  In the future, I want to become a doctor with an extensive knowledge and be able to find and treat the roots of people’s illnesses, and also provide them with psychological care.  The psychological trauma caused by the earthquake and tsunami will not be easily treated, even after the city is restored to its former state.  As I can understand such feelings of the local people, I sincerely wish to become a doctor and work for my hometown, Takata city.

“My dream for the future” (1st grade)

I want to be a medical doctor in the future, because I want to help people suffering from disease. Becoming a doctor had been my hope for a long time, and this was made stronger by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Tohoku.  I was much impressed to see medical teams come from distant cities, visiting evacuation shelters, giving counsel to a lot of people, dashing to sick people and giving treatment.  I wanted to become a doctor like them.  The shortage of doctors is a grave issue.  In Ofunato city, where I live, it has grown into a serious problem.  Therefore I want to become a doctor and do my best to contribute to the enhancement of my hometown.  I know that doctors have the great responsibility of having people’s life in their hands.  To be able to engage in such an important profession, I am determined to study hard, taking a broad view of my life.

“If I become a doctor in the future..” (1st grade)

I wish to be a medical doctor in the future.  I had been interested in becoming a doctor, but I made up my mind because of the earthquake and tsunami.  If I become a doctor in the future, I will help people who are suffering and hurt in both body and spirit.  (snip)  The huge tsunami destroyed my house completely, and my parents and grandparents have much less income than before.  Even so, I don’t want to give up my dream.  If I could receive a grant from AMDA, I would be able to lessen the financial burden to my family.  I know that it will be extremely difficult to become a doctor, but I will do my best every day, improving myself, and make my dream come true.

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Project Leader

Yuko Tanabe

Project Officer
Okayama city, Okayama prefecture Japan

Where is this project located?

Map of Support high school students in Tohoku