Safe play area for children
COVID-19 continues to be a threat to people around the world including Japan. The pandemic has changed the way we live our lives - from riding public transportation to meeting our friends for dinner. For vulnerable subgroups, this change has been even more pronounced. Please see below for a summary of Civic Force's assistance activities.
Providing Safe Play Areas for Children - NPO Partner Project
On May 25, the government lifted the state of emergency across Japan. However, event gatherings cannot be organized as they were before the pandemic. "The virus is scary. But it is not the only scary thing. We cannot ignore the children who are forced to feel cramped and stressed," said Mr. Satoshi Ito, Representative Director of Sanriku Hitotsunagi Nature School. Mr. Ito has been providing play spaces for children and community development since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Mr. Ito remembered that children were psychologically and physically affected by the disaster – they felt sick, had outbursts, and became aggressive toward others. To mitigate those risks, Mr. Ito began planning activities for them.
Sanriku Hitotsunagi Nature School provided safe play areas for children under the age of 12 and their families. Local elementary school students smiled and exclaimed, "It was fun playing outside!" The outdoor event became popular through word of mouth and over 60 people gathered every weekend through August. The group placed special emphasis on infection prevention. They visited a local hospital and educational institutions and listed all necessary preventive measures - handwashing, coughing etiquette, checking travel history and health condition, and creating safe play areas. The Nature School promoted safe hygiene habits to prevent infections using a quiz station at the entrance and asked children about hand washing and how to properly wear a mask.
2020 Kyushu Floods
Record-breaking torrential rain began on July 4 and left 77 dead in its wake. When the rain began, Civic Force’s joint emergency assistance team, ARROWS (Airborne Rescue and Relief Operations With Search), dispatched 25 members including doctors, nurses, and search-and-rescue (SAR) members with three SAR dogs. The team utilized two helicopters, vehicles, amphibious vehicles, and boats and provided prompt assistance activities.
1.3 million residents were ordered to evacuate and Civic Force assisted the evacuees by providing evacuation center management and distributing relief items including COVID-19 prevention supplies. Evacuation centers had to prepare for overcrowding which would exacerbate the threat of COVID-19. Civic Force helped manage five centers in Kumamoto and implemented infection prevention measures to mitigate risk against the virus. Civic Force distributed masks and sanitation supplies at the centers as well as providing tents to be used as isolation areas in case evacuees had fevers.
Online Store Keeps Jobs for People with Disabilities – NPO Partner Project
The prolonged COVID-19 crisis is affecting sales of products made at welfare centers for people with disabilities (PWDs). Many centers have been pushed to close down and employment opportunities for PWDs are becoming scarce. Arts and Sports for Everyone (ASE) and NPO KP5000 in Kumamoto are working together to bring in new buyers and explore new distribution channels. ASE encourages participation of PWDs in arts and sports. KP5000 promotes full participation of PWDs in communities. As part of their initiative, an online shop “Shifuku Department Store” was launched in September. The shop has a wide range of products - groceries, merchandise, eco-friendly bags, CDs, and more. Fortunately, the shop has been making sales every day since its opening.
Civic Force has been supporting ASE with this initiative to lessen the negative impact COVID-19 has had on PWDs. Civic Force will continue to look for opportunities to support people in need.
Provided evacuation center management
Tent used as isolation center at evac center
Distributed relief items to evac centers