Updates from Japan Relief Projects

Jan 15, 2019

Disaster Recovery New Years Report 2019

Happy New Year! 

 This is the Year of the Inoshishi // Wild Boar in Japan and, energized and empowered by your generosity, we will work very hard throughout the year to find ways to continue supporting Tohoku. 

 It is hard to believe that it has been nearly eight years since the devastating earthquake and tsunami. You have helped us assure people in Tohoku that they have not been forgotten as they continue to overcome daily challenges in further rebuilding their lives. Recovery and rebuilding take years. People are still living in what was originally intended to be temporary housing and there are still significant housing, infrastructure, labor and other shortages in the region. In addition, with the passage of time and the occurrence of devastating natural disasters in other parts of Japan, the number of volunteers going to and the amount of charitable donations being made for Tohoku continue to drop.

 Since our last report, we have made two trips to Tohoku — bringing children and their caregivers from a children’s home and members of a boy scouts troop, each in the Greater Tokyo Area, to Miyagi Prefecture by bus to volunteer, gain greater confidence and learn about disaster preparedness. These volunteer trips and critical learning experiences are only possible with your generous donations.

 Late autumn and early winter are very busy times for farmers in Tohoku as it is when they must finish harvesting their crops, clear the fields and prepare the soil for next year’s growing season.  Labor shortages continue to make it very hard for local farmers in Tohoku to run their farms and in turn to further rebuild their lives. Many of the local farms are family run with one, two or three family members doing all the work themselves.  Growing rice, vegetables and fruit sufficient enough to earn a modest livelihood and to repay the significant debts they incurred after the earthquake and tsunami is very labor intensive and the local farmers cannot do all the work by themselves.  They need the continued support of volunteers.

 With your generous donations, Hands On Tokyo was able to bring the children, their caregivers and the boy scouts to Miyagi Prefecture to help local farmers, Saito-san and his wife, and the New Rice Center (NRC) in Yamamoto-cho.  The NRC is an agricultural association of local farmers who grow and promote local rice and local produce.

 In October, Hands On Tokyo brought 20 volunteers from a Greater Tokyo Area children’s home — including junior and high school boys and girls — to Yamamoto-cho.  We helped Saito-san by weeding greenhouses where Saito-san grows paprika plants.  Paprikas are his primary crop and main source of income with which to feed his family and to repay his bank loans. 

 In December, Hands On Tokyo brought 23 volunteers from a boy scouts troop in the Greater Tokyo Area to Yamamoto-cho.  Many of the boy scouts have volunteered with Hands On Tokyo in Tohoku before and volunteering in Tohoku is their favorite community service activity. This time we helped Saito-san by clearing a large field of dead eggplant plants. This involved disassembling metal poles that were used to suport the growth of the eggplants, gathering the poles and related supplies for next year’s growing season, digging up the dried plants and piling up the plants on the sides of the field.  It was very labor intensive and the boy scouts worked hard. They also learned an important lesson about sustainability and reusing what can be reused in our daily lives.  Afterwards the boy scouts enjoyed warm sweet potatoes with Saito-san that he had baked in an open fire by the field while we were volunteering.

 The local farmers always ask us to convey to everyone who supports our volunteer activities in Tohoku just how much they appreciate all the support.  What Hands On Tokyo volunteers are able to accomplish in a day would take the local farmers and their families many days to complete. The sound of children’s laughter Is also very healing in an area still recovering from the 2011 natural disasters.

 All of the children also received natural disaster awareness and preparedness training.  We took the children and the boy scouts to an elementary school near Yamamoto-cho which is now a memorial.  There the teachers, students and some local residents survived the tsunami by standing on the highest point of the school.

 Ogatsu in Miyagi Prefecture was completely devastated by the tsunami and is still far from being ready for reconstruction and redevelopment. 

 In October, Hands On Tokyo — with your generous support — brought children and their caregivers from a children’s home in the Greater Tokyo Area to do gardening at the Ogatsu Rose Garden Factory.  We removed rocks from topsoil and added fertilizer to prepare good topsoil for this coming year’s flower growing seasons.

 In December, Hands On Tokyo also brought a boy scout troop from the Greater Tokyo Area to Ogatsu.  We helped move timber and boulders for use in building new garden beds.

 A local resident built this garden near the land where her mother perished in the tsunami to calm the souls of those who perished in the tsunami and so that former residents and visitors can once again see beauty when they first enter Ogatsu.  It is also a place where families go to grieve the loss of their loved ones in the tsunami.  The garden keeps growing every year and now includes a small grove of olive trees. 

 Both times on the way to Ogatsu, we also stopped at Ogawa Elementary School to pay respects by offering incense and flowers to the souls of the teachers and students who tragically perished in the tsunami.

 These volunteer trips were very impactful on the children, their caregivers and the boy scouts. For the children who are the beneficiaries of volunteer activities at their children’s home, this volunteer trip was an opportunity to experience volunteering themselves, to gain new experiences and life skills and to gain further self confidence.  Thank you very much for your generous support in helping make all this possible.  The children greatly appreciate the opportunity and are still benefiting from all that they learned and experienced. Many want to volunteer again and they have encouraged others in their children’s homes and at their schools to volunteer in the future.

 There is still so much to be done and there are still many people in need of encouragement and support in Tohoku.  With your generous support, we will continue to organize volunteer trips to help farmers and others in Tohoku as they continue to work hard to rebuild their lives.

 Thank you very much in advance for your continued generosity, for touching the hearts and souls of so many people in Tohoku and for helping provide these life changing volunteer opportunities to so many children living in children’s homes and to other children in the Greater Tokyo Area. 

 Slowly but steadily the road to recovery is being paved. 

Dec 12, 2018

Where we are now, and where we are headed

Safecast is still very active. Earlier this year we were confirmed to be publishing the largest open radiation dataset ever amassed - now well over 100 million measurements, and Popular Mechanics boldy announced that we "revolutionized citizen-science." These are exciting milestones to be sure, but we still have a lot to do. While we are still deploying radiation monitors globally, we're also now working on air quality sensors and devices that are cellular and solar powered, making them almost entirely autonomous. 

While our fundraising campaign on Global Giving ended sometime ago, we're still updating regularly on our own website at safecast.org. Please do visit us there and join our own mailing list to stay informed on current developments and progress. Thank you.

Links:

Oct 17, 2018

Disaster Recovery Project Fall 2018

Thank you very much for all your continued support this year.  You have helped us assure people in Tohoku that they have not been forgotten as they continue to overcome daily challenges in rebuilding their lives more than seven and a half years after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.  Recovery and rebuilding take years. There are still people living in what was originally intended to be temporary housing and there are still significant housing, infrastructure, labor and other shortages in the region.  In addition, with the passage of time and the occurrence of devastating natural disasters in other parts of Japan, the number of volunteers going to and the amount of charitable donations being made for Tohoku continue to drop. 
 
Since our last report, we have taken four groups of children and their caregivers from four different children’s homes in the Greater Tokyo Area to Miyagi Prefecture by bus to volunteer, gain greater confidence and learn about disaster preparedness.  These volunteer trips and critical learning experiences are only possible with your generous donations. 
 
Late summer and early autumn are very busy times for farmers in Tohoku as it is their primary growing season and when they must prepare for harvesting their crops  Labor shortages continue to make it very hard for local farmers in Tohoku to run their farms and in turn to further rebuild their lives. Many of the local farms are family run with one, two or three family members doing all the work themselves.  Growing rice, vegetables and fruit sufficient enough to earn a modest livelihood and to repay the significant debts they incurred after the earthquake and tsunami is very labor intensive and the local farmers cannot do all the work by themselves.  They need the continued support of volunteers. 
 
With your generous donations, Hands On Tokyo was able to bring the children and their caregivers to Miyagi Prefecture to help local farmers, Saito-san and his wife, and the New Rice Center (NRC) in Yamamoto-cho.  The NRC is an agricultural association of local farmers who grow and promote local rice and local produce.
In August, Hands On Tokyo brought 16 volunteers from a Greater Tokyo Area children’s home — including junior and senior high school boys suffering from “shut in syndrome” — to Yamamoto-cho.  We helped Saito-san by weeding two of his negi (Japanese leek) fields.  Afterwards the boys prepared and enjoyed a BBQ with Saito-san and his family.  This was the first time the boys ever volunteered and they really applied themselves and did a terrific job helping Saito-san.  It was also heartwarming to see how they supported one another and how they made sure each of them had a chance to help with the BBQ.  It was also important for their caregivers to see what the boys are capable of doing. 
In August, Hands On Tokyo also brought 18 volunteers from another Greater Tokyo Area children’s home — including junior and high school boys and girls — to Yamamoto-cho.  We helped Saito-san by building up the soil beds on either side of his negi (Japanese leek) plants in two fields so that the plants can grow straight and strong. 
In September, Hands On Tokyo brought 17 volunteers from another Greater Tokyo Area children’s home — including junior and senior high school boys and girls — to Yamamoto-cho.  We helped Saito-san by removing dead rice plantings from plastic plant trays and cleaning the trays so that they can be reused next year.  During this activity, the children learned an important lesson about sustainability and reusing what can be reused in our daily lives.  Afterwards the children prepared and enjoyed a BBQ with Saito-san and his family. 
In September, Hands On Tokyo also brought 22 volunteers from another Greater Tokyo Area children’s home — including junior and senior high school boys and girls — to Yamamoto-cho.  We helped Saito-san by weeding two of his negi (Japanese leek) fields.
 
The local farmers always ask us to convey to everyone who supports our volunteer activities in Tohoku just how much they appreciate all the support.  What Hands On Tokyo volunteers are able to accomplish in a day would take the local farmers and their families many days to complete.  Saito-san also said having the children enjoy a BBQ with his grandchildren was like having a festival on his farm — something his family has not been able to enjoy much since the earthquake and tsunami.  Children’s laughter and smiles can be very healing in an area still recovering from natural disasters.  His neighbor also commented how lucky Saito-san was to still have the support of volunteers. 
All of the children also received natural disaster awareness and preparedness training.  We took the volunteers from two of the children’s homes to an elementary school near Sendai which was an evacuation center during the tsunami and is now a museum.  The children, teachers and local residents on the roof of the school survived the tsunami which tragically washed away the surrounding area.  We took the volunteers from the other two children’s homes to an elementary school near Yamamoto-cho which is now a memorial.  There the teachers, students and some local residents survived the tsunami by standing on the highest point of the school.  The volunteers from one children’s home also received extra natural disaster awareness and preparedness training in Ogatsu.  All of the students and their caregivers said how impactful this training was and how it will improve their own natural disaster preparedness. 
 
Ogatsu in Miyagi Prefecture was completely devastated by the tsunami and is still far from being ready for reconstruction and redevelopment.  
 
In August, Hands On Tokyo — with your generous support — brought children and their caregivers from a children’s home in the Greater Tokyo Area to do gardening at the Ogatsu Rose Garden Factory.  We moved planters so that the plants could get more sunshine, pruned the plants and added topsoil to the planters.  We also cleaned and helped better organize one area of the garden. 
 
In September, Hands On Tokyo brought children and their caregivers from another Greater Tokyo Area children’s home to Ogatsu.  We helped prepare lavender seedlings. 
 
A local resident built this garden near the land where her mother perished in the tsunami to calm the souls of those who perished in the tsunami and so that former residents and visitors can once again see beauty when they first enter Ogatsu.  It is also a place where families go to grieve the loss of their loved ones in the tsunami. 
 
On the way to Ogatsu, we also stopped at Ogawa Elementary School to pay respects by offering incense and flowers to the souls of the teachers and students who tragically perished in the tsunami.  In September, a couple who lost their two grandchildren in the tsunami were there at the same time and they said how comforting it was to see children the same age that their grandchildren would be now had they survived paying their respects.  They thanked us for bringing the children there and for not forgetting their grandchildren and their classmates. 
 
All these volunteer trips were very impactful on the children and their caregivers.  For the children who are the beneficiaries of volunteer activities at their children’s homes, these volunteer trips have been an opportunity to experience volunteering themselves, to gain new experiences and life skills and to gain further self confidence.  Thank you very much for your generous support in helping make all this possible.  The children greatly appreciate the opportunity and are still benefiting from all that they learned and experienced.  Many want to volunteer again and they have encouraged others in their children’s homes to volunteer in the future. 
 
There is still so much to be done and there are still many people in need of encouragement and support in Tohoku.  With your generous support, we will continue to organize volunteer trips to help farmers and others in Tohoku as they continue to work very hard to rebuild their lives. We already have a volunteer trip planned later this month and another in December. 
 
Thank you very much in advance for your continued generosity, for touching the hearts and souls of so many people in Tohoku and for helping provide these life changing volunteer opportunities to so many children living in children’s homes in the Greater Tokyo Area.  
 
Slowly but steadily the road to recovery is being paved.  
Jul 20, 2018

Disaster Recovery Summer 2018 Report

Thank you very much for all your continued support so far this year.  You have helped us further assure people in Tohoku that they have not been forgotten as they continue to overcome daily challenges in rebuilding their lives more than seven years after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.  Recovery and rebuilding take years. There are still people living in what was originally intended to be temporary housing and there are still significant housing, infrastructure, labor and other shortages in the region.  In addition, with the passage of time and the occurrence of devastating natural disasters in other parts of Japan, the number of volunteers going to and the amount of charitable donations being made for Tohoku continue to drop. 
 
Over the past three months, we have been very busy preparing to take groups of children and their teachers and caregivers from five different children’s homes in the Greater Tokyo Area to volunteer and to learn about disaster preparedness in Miyagi Prefecture this coming August, September and October. 
 
Late summer and early autumn are very busy times for farmers as it is their primary growing season and when they must prepare for harvesting their crops  Labor shortages continue to make it very hard for local farmers in Tohoku to run their farms and in turn to further rebuild their lives. Many of the local farms are family run with one, two or three family members doing all the work themselves.  Growing rice, vegetables and fruit sufficient enough to earn a modest livelihood and to repay the significant debts they incurred after the earthquake and tsunami is very labor intensive and the local farmers cannot do all the work by themselves.  They need the continued support of volunteers. 
 
With your generous donations, Hands On Tokyo will bring the children and their teachers and caregivers to Miyagi Prefecture to help local farmers, Saito-san and his wife, and the New Rice Center (NRC) in Yamamoto-cho.  The NRC is an agricultural association of local farmers who produce and promote local rice and local produce. 
 
We anticipate helping Saito-san with his paprika plants.  Paprikas are Saito-san’s primary crop so his family’s livelihood depends on the strength of his paprika harvest each year.  We will also help Saito-san with other farming chores like weeding and clearing fields. 
 
The local farmers always ask us to convey to everyone who supports our volunteer activities in Tohoku just how much they appreciate all the support.  What Hands On Tokyo volunteers are able to accomplish in a day would take the local farmers and their families many days to complete. 
We also will take the volunteers from the children’s homes to an elementary school near Sendai which was an evacuation center during the tsunami and is now a museum.  The children, teachers and local residents on the roof of the school survived the tsunami which tragically washed away the surrounding area.  We will take the volunteers there for natural disaster awareness and preparedness training. 
Ogatsu in Miyagi Prefecture was completely devastated by the tsunami and is still far from being ready for reconstruction and redevelopment.  During the next three months, Hands On Tokyo will also bring children and their teachers and caretakers from children’s homes in the Greater Tokyo Area to weed, plant new plants and do other gardening at the Ogatsu Rose Garden Factory.  A local resident founded this garden on the land where her mother perished in the tsunami to calm the souls of those who perished in the tsunami and so that former residents and visitors can once again see beauty when they first enter Ogatsu.  It is also a place where families go to grieve the loss of their loved ones in the tsunami. 
Hands On Tokyo has conducted several of these volunteer trips for children’s homes in the Greater Tokyo Area over the past few years and these volunteer trips have been very impactful on the children and their teachers and caregivers.  For the children who are the beneficiaries of volunteer activities at their children’s homes, these volunteer trips have been an opportunity to experience volunteering themselves, to gain new experiences and life skills and to gain further self confidence.  Thank you very much for your generous support in helping make all this possible.  The children greatly appreciate the opportunity and are still benefiting from all that they learned and experienced.  Many want to volunteer again and they have encouraged others in their children’s homes to volunteer in the future. 
 
There is still so much to be done and there are still many people in need of encouragement and support in Tohoku.  With your generous support, we will continue to organize volunteer trips to help farmers and others in Tohoku as they continue to work very hard to rebuild their lives. 
 
Thank you very much in advance for your continued generosity, for touching the hearts and souls of so many people in Tohoku and for helping provide these life changing volunteer opportunities to so many children living in children’s homes in the Greater Tokyo Area.  Slowly but steadily the road to recovery is being paved.
Jun 28, 2018

Inclusive Disaster Prevention ~ from Fukushima

JEN is working with partner organizations in Iwaki City for valunerable people, including children and disabled, "disaster prevention that no one can leave."

 

In the Great East Japan Earthquake, the death rate of elderly people over 60 years old and those with disabilities more than 60% of those who died due to the earthquake was twice that of the entire inhabitants.

In the Kumamoto earthquake, more than 200 people died due to "disaster-related death" such as the harsh evacuation life after the disaster, many of them were elderly people with an existing disease.

 

On the other hand, there are areas where people with disabilities in the disaster area, those with experience in care for women and the elderly, have been active as leaders with people responsible for regional disaster prevention. In such areas, skill of residents are fully utilized, and evacuation guidance is well organized, too. There are many cases reported that the information and emergency supports are provided smoothly to those who evacuate at home. Close communication from the daily life are indispensable.

 

In the international conference etc., the word "inclusive disaster prevention" has spread considerably over the last few years due to the encouragement of the disabled people that lead to disaster prevention. The following four elements of “Inclusiveness” are important.

 

1. Diversity is recognized: The impact of disasters varies depending on each individual's disability, gender, age, etc. This means that diversity is recognized by those around us.

 

2. Safety: It is based on recognition of diversity that disaster and subsequent safety are secured. For example, whether the wheelchair or the invisible one is devised so that a safe evacuation action can be taken.

 

3 Part of the decision making process: It is the people who knows the most about diversity. It is important that the disabled people is making decisions.

 

4. Barrier-free environment: Participation in decision-making is impossible unless obstacles are removed in decision-making process. For example, there are sign language interpreters for hearing impaired people, whether they are meeting rooms that even wheelchair users can enter.

 

 

Links:

Apr 23, 2018

Disaster Recovery Spring 2018 Report

It is very hard to believe that it has been seven years since the earthquake and tsunami devastated the Tohoku region.  Thank you so much for continuing to help us further assure people in Tohoku that they have not been forgotten as they continue to overcome daily challenges in rebuilding their lives.  Recovery and rebuilding take years. People are still living in what was originally intended to be temporary housing and there are significant housing, infrastructure, labor and other shortages in the region.  In addition, with the passage of time, the number of volunteers going to and the amount of charitable donations for Tohoku continue to drop.

 Late winter and early spring are very busy times for farmers in Tohoku as they must work hard to prepare for the new growing season.  Labor shortages continue to make it very hard for local farmers in Tohoku to run their farms and in turn to further rebuild their lives. Many of the local farms are family run with one, two or three family members doing all the work themselves.  Growing rice, vegetables and fruit sufficient enough to earn a modest livelihood is very labor intensive and the local farmers cannot do all the work by themselves.  They need the continued support of volunteers.

 With your generous donations, Hands On Tokyo volunteers have been able to continue to support local farmers, Saito-san and his wife, and the New Rice Center (NRC) in Yamamoto-cho in Miyagi Prefecture. The NRC is an agricultural association of local farmers who produce and promote local rice and local produce.

 In February, we took 14 volunteers to help Saito-san and his wife prepare to dismantle and remove several large green houses where they have been growing their primary crop — paprika.  Since the tsunami washed away their home and their paprika farm, the Saito Family has been leasing land further inland where they have been growing paprika.  The lease, however, is expiring so the Saito Family must dismantle the green houses and reassemble them on new leased land. 

 Over two days, the volunteers helped by removing 1,000s of clips, nets and other materials that were used to secure the paprika plants as they grew and by dismantling all the piping inside the green houses.  It was a massive job and the Saito Family will reuse all these materials when they reassemble the green houses on new leased land.

 In April, we took 25 volunteers to Fukushima for the first time in order to help four farming families prepare for the new growing season.

 One family grows rice and the volunteers helped prepare rice plant seedlings.  We prepared trays with soil, planted seedlings and carried the completed trays to green houses.  After the seedlings grow a bit bigger, the family will plant them in the rice fields.

 The other three families grow peach and apple trees.  Fukushima is known for its delicious peaches and apples.  The volunteers helped these families by thinning out the peach blossoms so that this year’s peaches will be large and juicy.

 The local farmers always ask us to convey to everyone who supports our volunteer activities in Tohoku just how much they appreciate all the support.  What Hands On Tokyo volunteers are able to accomplish in two days would take the local farmers and their families many days to complete.  At the end of each day, Saito-san and his wife looked at the green houses, the rice farmers looked at the seedlings, and the fruit tree farmers looked at the peach trees with tremendous gratitude. They never imagined that the volunteers could do so much.

 With your generous support, we will continue to organize volunteer trips to further support local farmers in Tohoku as they continue to work very hard to further rebuild their lives.

 We are also continuing to organize projects in Tokyo for volunteers residing in Tokyo who want to support Tohoku but are unable to travel to Tohoku.

 There is still so much to be done in Tohoku and there are still many people in need of support and encouragement.

 Thank you very much in advance for your continued support this year and for touching the hearts and souls of so many people in Tohoku.

Mar 30, 2018

Uplifting Feeling of young generations

JEN has been providing support in “Raising the Next Generation Project” from the planning phase. The project aims that young people in their teens to 30s become attracted to the idea of participating in regional development, making the region where young generation want to work and live in future.


The project implement body is a group that supports raising the next generations, which is composed of SAVE TAKATA and Rikuzentakata citizen. Adults support junior high students in the project. ”EXCITE TAKATA”, a two-hour presentation by 2nd year junior high students in Rikuzentakata, was held on Jan 14 2018. The venue was the Abasse Takata, a shopping mall in Rikuzentakata. 50 members of Rikuzentakata-citizen and 20 junior-high students attended the event.

Some attendees said “Kids are trying their best, so we have to do our best, too.”, “I support the students’ efforts.” From these comments, we realize the project has been supporting not only children but also the region.

This is a presentation by the students who had tried workplace experience.

They made a presentation on what they had learned from meeting people who engage in the activity to rebuild Rikuzentakata, expressing they realized each person is building Rikuzentakata. They prepared the presentation material by themselves.

The title of this presentation is “Nobody calls Rikuzentakata the ordinery rural area”. Students voiced their opinions that Rikuzentakata may be the hope among other disaster areas if it would achieve  the revitalization to becomean extraordinary city in 10-20 years.

Photo

There was an opinion among junior high students “Is there anything we can do more in Rikuzentakata?”, and 18 student volunteers started “FACE(Future, Action, Connect, Evolution)”. The team is carrying out activities of region development with the help of the support group.

Photo

Rikuzentakata, rebuilding.

Links:

Jan 24, 2018

Disaster Recovery New Years Report

Thank you very much for all your continued support.  You have helped us further assure people in Tohoku that they have not been forgotten as they continue to overcome daily challenges in rebuilding their lives nearly seven years after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.  Recovery and rebuilding take years. There are still people living in what was originally intended to be temporary housing and there are significant housing, infrastructure, labor and other shortages in the region.  In addition, with the passage of time, the number of volunteers going to and the amount of charitable donations for Tohoku continue to drop. 
 
Autumn and early winter are very busy times for farmers in Tohoku as they must work hard to harvest their crops and then clear and prepare the fields for winter.  Labor shortages continue to make it very hard for local farmers in Tohoku to run their farms and, as a result, further rebuild their lives. Many of the local farms are family run with one, two or three family members doing all the work themselves.  Growing rice, vegetables, and fruit sufficient enough to earn a modest livelihood is very labor intensive and the local farmers cannot do all the work by themselves.  They need the continued support of volunteers. 
 
With your generous donations, Hands On Tokyo volunteers have been able to continue to support local farmers, Saito-san and his wife, and the New Rice Center (NRC) in Yamamoto-cho in Miyagi Prefecture. The NRC is an agricultural association of local farmers who produce and promote local rice and local produce. 
 
In December, we took 15 volunteers — including members of a boy scout troop from The American School in Japan — to help Saito-san and his wife.  The boy scouts were between 11 and 16 years old and more than half had volunteered in Tohoku with Hands On Tokyo before.  
 
Over two days, the volunteers helped by clearing dead eggplant plants (which have large branches and deep roots) from a large field.  Eggplants grow quite well in soil that was impacted by saltwater and sand during the tsunami so eggplants have become one of Saito-san’s primary crops together with paprika and leeks.
 
The local farmers always ask us to convey to everyone who supports our volunteer activities in Tohoku just how much they appreciate all the support.  What Hands On Tokyo volunteers are able to accomplish in one or two days would take the local farmers and their families many days to complete.  At the end of each day, Saito-san and his wife looked at the eggplant field with deep gratitude. They never imagined that the volunteers could do so much in two days. 
 
With your generous support, we are continuing to organize volunteer trips to further support local farmers in Tohoku as they continue to work very hard to further rebuild their lives. We already have a volunteer trip to Tohoku planned for February during which we will help Saito-san and his wife dismantle several large greenhouses so that they can reuse the materials to build greenhouses in another area. 
 
We also took the volunteers to an elementary school near Sendai which was an evacuation center during the tsunami and is now a museum.  The children, teachers and local residents in the school survived the tsunami which tragically washed away the surrounding area.  We took the volunteers there for natural disaster awareness and preparedness training.  It was particularly impactful because the boy scouts have recently attended elementary school themselves.  They learned the importance of acting quickly when there is a natural disaster and of always updating one’s evacuation plans. 
This volunteer trip was also very impactful on the volunteers because they could see firsthand how an area devastated by a natural disaster is recovering day by day.  Thank you very much for your generous support in helping make all this possible.  The volunteers greatly appreciated the opportunity and are still benefiting from all that they learned and experienced.  Many want to volunteer again and they have encouraged others in their boy scouts troop and in their school to volunteer in the future. 
 
We are also continuing to organize projects in Tokyo for volunteers residing in Tokyo who want to support Tohoku but are unable to travel to Tohoku.  Since our last report, we organized two projects in Tokyo so that volunteers could make Christmas wreaths and Christmas stockings for people Tohoku residents who survived the earthquake and tsunami. 
 
Minami Soma in Fukushima Prefecture was greatly impacted by the earthquake and tsunami. The town is relatively near the nuclear power facility and the local residents were evacuated very abruptly after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami without any time to prepare or any sense of how long they would be away from their homes.  In July 2016 residents were allowed to begin returning to the town.  However, even now, many Minami Soma residents are still living in temporary housing.  We delivered the Christmas wreaths and Christmas stockings to people still living in temporary housing in Minami Soma.  It meant a lot to the temporary housing site residents to be remembered and encouraged during the holiday season. 
 
We also delivered Christmas wreaths and Christmas stockings to senior citizens from Ogatsu in Miyagi Prefecture, who survived the earthquake and tsunami and are now living in a nursing home near Ogatsu.  Ogatsu was completely devastated by the tsunami and it still will be some time before local residents will be allowed to move back to Ogatsu. Thank you very much for helping us bring a bit of Christmas Spirit to these nursing home residents.
With your generous support, we are continuing to organize volunteer projects in Tohoku and in Tokyo to further support and encourage the local residents in Minami Soma and Ogatsu. 
 
There is still so much to be done in Tohoku and there are still many people in need of support and encouragement. 
 
Thank you very much in advance for your continued support this year and for touching the hearts and souls of so many people in Tohoku.  Slowly but steadily the road to recovery is being paved.
 
$10+ million
Over 50,000
in 111
 

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