198 kids enjoyed Fukushima Kids Spring Camp 2014. 61 kids went to Hokkaido, 31 kids went to Abukuma, 36 kids went to Hidatakayama, 40 kids went to Kyoto, 15 kids went to Hyogo, and 15 kids went to Nagasaki. They had chance to see many people, do lots of activities, and encounter nature.
Fukushima Kids... The Road to Hope
Fukushima Kids Executive Committee
Tooru Shinshi, Committee Chairman
1. Announcing our 5-year Plan in 2011
What we honestly feel in our hearts right now is that we have done well to get this far in three years. We would like to thank each and every one of you reading this 2013 report for all your wonderful support. So far, over 3,200 children from Fukushima have participated in the Fukushima Kids project. In my heart I strongly feel that we have made progress, one step at a time, towards the full growth and development of these children.
2. The Executive Committee’s Resolution
The Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant explosion of March 12th, 2011 was an unimaginable incident. At that point, the local residents' ordinary lives were changed forever. When the disaster struck, I was running a small nature school in a sparsely populated area in the Abukuma Mountains, and I will never forget the tremendous fear we felt of the invisible radiation that was coming our way. This made me feel, "No matter what happens, we must never snatch away the smiles from our children's faces!" instilling in me a strong belief in the need to protect and help our children grow. By using the experience-based education network that I had built before the earthquake, we were able to form the Fukushima Kids Executive Committee. When we started this project, we were subject to slanderous claims, but our resolve did not falter.
We had to build systems for receiving donations, accepting children into our project, organizing modes of transport... there were tons of things that needed to be done.
The parents and guardians of Fukushima knew next to nothing about our private nature school, and some of them thought, "Is it safe for us to leave our kids with those strangers?" Therefore our first step was to work hard to assuage their concerns. The locations that needed our help were enveloped in an almost indescribable chaos. However, feeling that our actions would have great significance on the lives of others, we continued moving forward, constantly reflecting on our activities and making improvements to successfully complete our 9th initiative in 3 years.
3. The Growth of the Children and New Opportunities
The children who completed our initiatives became much stronger, kinder, and able to care for others. Parents and guardians were able to really feel how much their children had grown, which helped to gradually strengthen their trust in our executive committee. The locations we were able to help also came to include the whole of Hokkaido, primarily the areas of Onuma and Yubari. In addition, our cooperation network was also expanded to Gifu Prefecture, Nagano Prefecture, Kanagawa Prefecture, Kyoto, Hyogo Prefecture, Ehime Prefecture, Nagasaki Prefecture, and Kumamoto Prefecture. Although over time people who are far away have come to forget the situation in Fukushima, the areas we are helping have always been by our side.
At the beginning children join our projects passively, but then over time they gradually become more autonomous in their understanding that each one of them can be useful to others and bring them happiness. In the end they are able to act of their own accord to move towards the future. It makes us extremely happy to know that some of these children wish, "When I become an adult, I want to repay the favor to the people who helped me."
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