Which first? (Soma City, Fukushima, 18 Jan 2012)
Japan: Sending Chocolates and Messages to Those Affected by the Disaster
One year has passed since the massive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11th, 2011. The emergency phase of relief activities has passed, and with restoration progressing at a varying pace in different regions, aid and relief required for recovery are increasingly diversifying. Accordingly, AAR JAPAN has been engaged in an array of relief activities in the effort to address and accommodate the changing needs of those affected by the series of catastrophic events.
To Those Living in Temporary Houses in Fukushima Prefecture
AAR JAPAN, in collaboration with Rokkatei Confectionery Co. Ltd., a renowned sweets maker, has recently been conducting a “Magokoro Campaign (literally meaning true heart campaign),” in which chocolate boxes are delivered to those affected by the disaster. Messages of encouragement are sent along with the chocolate. Up until now, we have delivered a total of 896 boxes to persons living in Iitate Town and Soma City in Fukushima Prefecture.
Driven to Tears by the Messages
On January 18th, 2012, at the City Welfare Center (Hamanasu-kan) in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, we delivered chocolate boxes with messages to approximately 230 families living in temporary houses. One mother found herself in tears from receiving a message that read “You are not alone, because there is always someone thinking of you.” Reading the message over and over, she told us that it has given her courage. Some of the mothers were jovially comparing messages, asking “What kind of message did you get? Want to see ours?” There is also another episode where we delivered chocolate to an elderly woman in her seventies who had lost her family in the tsunami. We remember she was driven to tears on the spot at her front door when she received the gift, saying “Someone I’ve never met before is trying to help me.” People who are living in temporary housing facilities have either lost their houses in the tsunami or were forced to evacuate their homes because they were too close to the nuclear power plants. So many of them have lost so much, and the Magokoro Campaign reminded us again how much it means to the affected persons to receive heart-warming messages. We feel the power of words every time we make a delivery!
Delighted Children Say ”These Chocolates are Great!”
The chocolate comes in 6 flavors: raspberry, maple, black tea, mango, passion fruit, and green tea. They are popular among the children precisely because of this variety in flavors. The children looked very happy with sweets in their hands, and told us “These chocolates are great!”
AAR JAPAN is committed to long-term recovery assistance for the affected population of the disaster areas. This year, we are planning to widen the focus of the "Building Healthy Communities" project to include the Fukushima region. Due to the nuclear power plant accident in March 2011, the needs of the population in Fukushima Prefecture are different as compared to other regions that have been hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake, and recovery is progressing at a slower pace.
To improve the psychological and physical conditions of persons living in Fukushima Prefecture, AAR JAPAN is planning to provide its mobile services in the region, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, mental health counseling, and community building activities. Please stay with us and keep on supporting our efforts going forward!
Tastes good! (Soma City, Fukushima, 18 Jan 2012)
Together (Soma City, Fukushima, 18 Jan. 2012)