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.
Oct 7, 2013

Cooking Class Held in Soma City

A participant proudly looks at the pizza he made
A participant proudly looks at the pizza he made

The degree of isolation in temporary housing complexes has become deeper and deeper as the period of evacuation had been prolonged. In order to ease this isolation, AAR Japan has organized various events aiming at promoting interaction among residents of the temporary housing complexes. In June 2013, we started organizing cooking classes as one of those events.

By carrying out a number of community events, it has been observed that men were less active in participating in such events compared to women. It was not uncommon that there was no male participant in the events. Aiming at inviting more male residents, we organized an event named ‘Men’s Cooking Class’. The event was held on July 3rd, 2013 at the community space of Onodai Daini Temporary Housing Complex in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture and 14 residents including 3 men participated. 

The menu of the first cooking class was pizza, which was easy to cook even at home. The participants enjoyed making pizza dough and two kinds of sauces made from fresh vegetables. People actively chatted with one another while tasting delicious pizzas commenting ‘That’s very tasty’, ‘I haven’t been able to enjoy cooking since I moved here because the kitchen in the temporary housing is too small, but today I really enjoyed cooking with everyone’. 

Onodai Daini Temporary Housing Complex accommodated many residents who had worked in fishery prior to the 3.11 disaster. One of the participants, Mr. Kusano (64), a fisherman from Ohama, Soma City told us, ‘I used to cook Sashimi and Tempura (Japanese fritter) on my boat with the freshly caught fish’. The sea of Soma City used to be a very rich fishing ground and more than 100 species had been harvested; however, at present only 15 species are fished on a trial basis due to the concern over radiation contamination of the sea triggered by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. There is still no prospect of resuming fishing as they used to. 

While working in the disaster affected areas, we sometimes meet those who cannot help crying talking about their disaster-related experiences. We at times get lost for words listening to their heart-wrenching comments such as ‘I am the only one survived in my family’ and ’I will not be able to return home in my lifetime’. However, seeing the evacuees’ smiles at social interaction events always tells us that there is still much we can do.


Another male participant cooked intently
Another male participant cooked intently
The pizza was easy to cook even at home
The pizza was easy to cook even at home
Veteran housewives turned out to be great teachers
Veteran housewives turned out to be great teachers
Participants enjoying self-made dishes
Participants enjoying self-made dishes
Sep 18, 2013

In the field site visit

The following is an e-postcard from Kai Iizuka, a GlobalGiving Representative in Zambia.

In the Ng’ombe compound, I was introduced to Matthew, one of the children being sponsored by AAR. A double orphan, he is taken care of by his grandmother and aunt along with his siblings and cousins. I didn’t get a chance to meet his brother as he was very sick and resting inside the house. Matthew himself possesses a heart problem and had to miss school from February to May this year, with the health care costs being provided for by AAR. Aside from AAR the grandmother is the sole provider of the family and makes money by making bags.

He explained that thanks to the organization paying for his tuition as well as his books, uniforms and shoes, he was currently in grade nine at the Ngombe School, having been sponsored since grade one. Attending school from 12:00 till 17:00, he spends the rest of the day helping out around the household. Matthew explained how his favourite subject was history and that he especially enjoyed learning and writing essays about Shaka, the famous Zulu warrior king. In the future, Matthew hopes to become a lawyer.

AAR currently helps ninety orphaned children in Ngombe compound attend school, not just providing for school fees, but also occasionally helping provide the sponsored children with food or clothing. In an attempt to raise more funds, they are currently undergoing two income generating activities, raising and selling broiler chickens and allowing people to use their newly acquired hammer mills. With only three, albeit very dedicated, staff members to run their program, the project is struggling to make ends meet. In the future they hope for more community involvement and have plans for many more income generating activities that will help the many vulnerable families within the compound.

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

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