Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan)

Association for Aid and Relief, Japan(AAR Japan) is a Non-Governmental Organization ( NGO ) aiming to provide emergency assistance, assistance to people with disabilities, and mine action, among other operations. It was established in 1979 as an organization with no political, ideological, or religious affiliation. AAR currently has offices in 10 countries.
Sep 3, 2013

To support the schooling; story of Steri and Moses

Steri(50), who engages in maize milling
Steri(50), who engages in maize milling

AAR Japan carries out income generation activities through which we aim to provide educational support to HIV/AIDS orphans in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. In this report, we would like to introduce Steri (50) and her grandson Moses (15). Steri engages in maize milling, one of the two income generation activities which we implement.

In Zambia, people daily eat a dish called ‘nshima’, made from maize flour which is locally called ‘mealie-meal’. People dry the maize they harvest in the rainy season and usually have it milled at a milling store or a communal milling machine when available. AAR Japan’s Ng’ombe office, located in the suburb of Lusaka, is equipped with a roller milling machine and people in the neighborhood bring the dried maize to have it milled.

Steri started engaging in the maize milling activity soon after AAR Japan began its income generation activities. Before joining this project, she had never used a milling machine and at first she had reams of trouble every day such as jamming the machine with maize. She gradually mastered the operation and she has now learned how to maintain the machine in good condition- she can even fix most cases of trouble. She has also masters to mill according to the each taste of customers. As each customer has a different taste in how much bran should be left and contained, Steri intently listens to the customers and offers exactly what they want. With her sociable and kind personality, she is very popular among the customers.

Steri lives with one child and 11 grandchildren. Moses (15), one of her grandsons, is in the 7th grade at a community school in Ng’ombe Compound. He lost his parents at the age of five and was raised by Steri. He used to misbehave with his friends and be rebellious to his grandmother during his adolescence, but now, he takes good care of the younger cousins and helps his grandmother with daily chores. Steri strongly wishes that he could graduate high school and become an independent adult who respects others. 

Moses will start to go to junior high school next year. He will be needed to pay approximately 10 USD a month for a school fee and he will also need new school uniform and stationaries. Students are also required to pay for taking term-end examinations. AAR Japan is currently supporting 47 students and unfortunately we are still unable to cover all the expense of the education by our income generation activities. The donation through GlobalGiving will help to supplement the school fee for each child. Your generous support children will immediately help the students to complete their education which then gives these a strong foundation for a bright future. 

Nshima (front), fried bream and pumpkin leaves
Nshima (front), fried bream and pumpkin leaves
Steri measuring maize
Steri measuring maize
Moses (15), Steri
Moses (15), Steri's grandson
Aug 27, 2013

Cheering up the evacuees in Fukushima Prefecture

A participant Sho assisted the magicians
A participant Sho assisted the magicians

On August 9th 2013, we organized a community interaction event at Matsukawa Daini Temporary Housing Complex in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture. The event program included body massages by a professional physical therapist, folk music concert and a magic show. A total of 41 participants gathered at the community center in the temporary housing complex and enjoyed the entertaining performance, briefly forgetting the mental fatigue, which the evacuees daily experience.

Although the event had been announced to begin at 1:00 p.m., several participants started coming at around 12:30 p.m. In the first hour, the participants received body massage by the professional physiotherapist, Ms. Yokoyama, which helped the participants relax their bodies and receive advice on their health condition. At 2:00 p.m., a pair of men in bright costumes showed up in front of the audience, who turned out to be the great magicians/comedy duo ‘Akkerakan’. They performed various and eye-catching tricks and even a pigeon appeared from a hat, which evoked a wave of applause among the audience. A 10 years-old boy, Sho, who participated in the event with his grandmother, volunteered and greatly enjoyed to assist the magician duo. With an excited and amused smile, he told us that it was his first time to see a magic so closely. Then the folk music concert started, amusing the audience with powerful music, dance and comical short drama. During the concert, the audience intently listened to the united harmony of powerful singing voice, Shamisen (Japanese traditional string instrument) and Tsuzumi (Japanese traditional drum). Some participants shed tears when they and the performers together sang a message song about the prayers for the recovery of disaster-affected areas. Then, changing the atmosphere completely, a short comedy drama was performed, which featured a character that was very popular among the senior generation of the participants. The event ended with the biggest applause and beaming smiles of the audience.

Since the residents in Matsukawa Daini Temporary Housing Complex are originally from the same village, the social ties are relatively retained, and there are opportunities for gathering and doing activities together. Still, the participants assured that they were happy to join such events that gave another opportunity to come out to mingle with other residents. They are originally from Iitate Village, a large area of which is classified in the off-limit zone due to the high level of radiation. When an AAR Japan staff member Matsumoto had a chance to talk with two of the participants, Ms. Ito and Ms. Takahashi, they spoke cheerfully and, even with a laugh, described their village as ‘the area that was most severely damaged by the radiation’. They continued, ‘Even after moving to this temporary housing complex, we are doing quite well since the residents are all from the same village. We enjoy playing gateball and crafting basket together, and we are getting along well’. However, when they were asked whether they wanted to return to their home village, their facial expression slightly hardened. They answered, ‘We are not sure about that, since we are not able to return in any way’. This is the moment when we re-acknowledged that there is still a long way to go for the evacuees to positively look at their future. We will continue our efforts to cheer up the feelings of disaster-affected people and help them regain the strength to look forward. 

Powerful dance to the folk music
Powerful dance to the folk music
Participants in bright smiles
Participants in bright smiles
Beautiful harmony of Japanese musical instruments
Beautiful harmony of Japanese musical instruments
A short comical drama with the popular character
A short comical drama with the popular character
participants and performers sang together
participants and performers sang together
Jul 30, 2013

Pavement work done at 'Tamura Kibo no Sato'

The ground before the pavement construction
The ground before the pavement construction

On June 24th 2013, AAR Japan staff member Masayuki OKADA visited 'Tamura Kibo no Sato', a facility for Persons with Disabilities where we have recently completed concrete pavement work of the ground. Although the construction initially aimed at reducing the risk of radiation exposure by removing contaminated pebbles that covered the ground, it also helped the facility users in wheelchairs to move freely across the property of the facility.

About Tamura Kibo no Sato

Tamura Kibo no Sato is a workshop located in Tamura City, Fukushima Prefecture. It provides job training to approximately 20 persons with mental and physical disabilities and the workshop users are engaged in various work commissioned by companies inside or outside Fukushima Prefecture including folding and bagging of clothes, producing artificial flowers and boxing of gardening kits, etc. The users enjoy working diligently every day, which provides them with opportunity to further participate in the society. Some of the users live in the group home ‘Yu no Sato’ which is located in the same property as the workshop.

Why pavement construction?

The facility is located in the mountainous area approximately 50km away from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The mountainous area is said to be exposed to higher risk of radiation since the radioactive materials can be condensed through the ecological circulation system, hence the facility, of which backyard closely looks onto the mountain, has been very concerned over the risk of radiation exposure. Previously the ground of the property was covered with pebbles but those pebbles became contaminated by radiation following the accident at the nuclear power plant. The facility wished to remove all the contaminated pebbles and pave the ground with concrete rather than replacing the old pebbles with new ones, considering that the newly replaced pebbles will again accumulate a large amount of radiation due to its uneven surface. Thus, we decided to carry out the paving work, which completed in May 2013. This enabled the facility users to concentrate on their job training feeling less worried about radiation exposure. In addition, the paving work also brought another benefit to the facility- the facility users in wheelchair used to have trouble in moving on the pebbled ground which also had level differences and ditches. In response to this situation, the pavement construction was completed in the way to ensure eliminating these barriers. The facility is now prepared to provide better working and living environment, in which the wheelchair users can be more active and independent.

The smooth ground after the pavement construction
The smooth ground after the pavement construction
No step at the entrance after the paving work
No step at the entrance after the paving work
The facility user folds and bags the clothes
The facility user folds and bags the clothes
Artificial flowers made by the facility users
Artificial flowers made by the facility users
 
   

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    give
  • $15
    give
  • $25
    give
  • $50
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $10
    each month
    give
  • $15
    each month
    give
  • $25
    each month
    give
  • $50
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.