Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund

by GlobalGiving

This is a personal message from Mari Kuraishi, President and Co-Founder of GlobalGiving. Mari, a Japanese national, is preparing to visit Japan following the 1-year anniversary of the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami.

To the generous donors of GlobalGiving's Japan Relief Fund,

As you probably know, today is the one-year anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. For the last several weeks my colleauges and I have been planning our trip to Japan to visit our project partners in the Tohoku area. Planning for the trip has made us all realize just how much has been accomplished in the recovery efforts since March 11, 2011, and also how much remains to be done. 

As we planned the logistics of our trip, I blithely expected we would be able to get to most places by train, because that's usually a pretty good assumption to make in Japan. But not this time. I assumed that hotels, restaurants, and other services would be operating anywhere we planned to be – but that’s not the case. It took many phone calls to uncover the fact that some trains still aren't even operating and lots of business are still closed in the Tohuku area, and that's when it hit home for me.

A year feels like a long time when you think of all the things accomplished since the great Tohoku/Kanto earthquake and tsunami. But a year is not enough for individual businesses to be rebuilt, for people's lives to be brought back to normal, or even for plants to grow back. 

I'll be going back to Japan in two weeks, both to visit my home and to thank all the amazing Japanese leaders who are still hard at work putting their communities and their country back together again. I’ll be meeting with people like Hatakeyama-san, a fisherman in Kesennuma who used your donations to buy ropes and build rafts to start oyster farming in his area. I'll be speaking with Japanese women from the civil sector about what it means to be Japanese, a woman, and a leader at this make-or-break time in the course of Japanese history. Finally, I’ll be seeing the cherry blossoms – symbols of hope and renewal – as they bloom again in Japan one year after the devastation. 

Each and every one of you has helped in some way. As I meet face-to-face with the people affected by the earthquake, I would be humbled to hand-deliver your messages of support. Will you please share a message of encouragement that I can deliver on your behalf? What questions would you like me to ask of the people who you have helped support? Please share your comments and questions on our Facebook post; I’ll read them, share them with the people I meet, and then I'll send an update when I return from my trip. 

Send a message to Japan

I'd also like to ask you to consider giving again on the 1st anniversary of the disaster in order to help more people like Hatakeyama-san re-establish their livelihoods. We are still actively disbursing your donations to local partners who are helping with long-term rebuilding efforts. 

There’s still a long road ahead for Japan, but we thank you for standing with the Japanese people in hope for renewal and recovery. I look forward to sending another update about your funds after I arrive in Japan. 



Mari Kuraishi, President and Founder, GlobalGiving
Mari Kuraishi, President and Founder, GlobalGiving
Peace Winds America - www.globalgiving.org/7480
Peace Winds America - www.globalgiving.org/7480

In two months, a year will have passed since the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the communities of Tohoku.  It has been a terribly difficult year for those who lost their family members, friends, and homes.  However, because of your  donations, GlobalGiving's partners in Japan have contributed to a steady recovery in the region.  We would like to once again thank all of you for your generosity!

We continue to allocate funds to our partners in the field, helping them to give heaters to keep evacuees warm in their temporary housing, delivering daily supplies, holding events to keep the ties of the communities strong, and more.  We are planning on expanding our partnerships further, and we will continue to distribute your donations to organizations that will help the recovery of the region more directly.

Here are some highlights of the activities that our partners have accomplished with your support since our last report:

Associations of Aid and Relief (AAR Japan)

AAR JAPAN has been providing rehabilitation and health-related services, mobile clinics, sanitation services, psychological care, and community interaction & exchange events for roughly 3,000 people, focusing on persons with disabilities, the elderly, displaced people, and people staying in temporary housing in the disaster-affected areas of Miyagi and Iwate prefectures. Through these comprehensive efforts, AAR JAPAN continues to support people in the disaster zone as they work to maintain both their physical and mental health.

Japanese Emergency NGOs (JEN)

JEN continues to coordinate volunteer activities in wider community.  To date almost 4,000 JEN volunteers contributed to clean both public and private properties. In addition, JEN is now supporting fishermen who work in the  fish production industry who were forced to stop their business for nearly 7 months due to a shortage of tools and a lack of human resources. JEN is helping by providing financial and volunteer support to this community. JEN is reaching the remote area of Ishinomaki, an area that had been previously abandoned for months. JEN works to establish good relationships with locals, helping with both physical and psycho-social recovery. This holistic approach is essential in order to fight massive depopulation as the remote area, as the area was suffering from depopulation even before the disaster hit the area.

Peace Winds

Peace Winds is helping to keep 8,000 families warm this winter. Many of the temporary housing units in Iwate Prefecture lack adequate heat.  As temperatures cooled this fall, local governments identified 8,000 households that were vulnerable to the freezing temperatures.  Lacking funds, the municipal governments is partnering with Peace Winds to keep 8,000 families will stay warm this winter. 

Though much has been done, it will take more months and years to restore the communities back to where they were before March 11, 2011.  Your support is greatly appreciated.  If you would like to read additional updates, please visit our Japan Relief and Recovery updates page

AAR Japan - www.globalgiving.org/7524
AAR Japan - www.globalgiving.org/7524
Photo courtesy of AAR - www.globalgiving.org/7979
Photo courtesy of AAR - www.globalgiving.org/7979

Dear friends,

Six months after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami devastated communities throughout Japan, donors like you are still helping to improve the lives of survivors who are rebuilding their lives.   From supporting lunches for schoolchildren to constructing community centers and repairing fishing boats, your funds are making a difference where it is needed most.

During the first few months following the disaster, we directed your support to meet the immediate needs in Japan’s affected areas including food, shelter, and medical care.  Now we’ve shifted the focus to long-term rebuilding in communities, including job creation, community development, and nuclear safety.   

We are proud of our partnership with high-impact organizations in Japan that are passionate about the work they’re doing to rebuild Japan. Last week, GlobalGiving and GlobalGiving UK sent $600,000 to three organizations working to rebuild the local economy and civil society through business and youth involvement.  We’re excited about these organizations; here’s how they will use your donations in their rebuilding efforts:    

Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC) - $310,000

ETIC’s Disaster Recovery Leadership Development Project  pairs socially-aware, entrepreneurial-minded young leaders with local leaders and businesses with the dual goals of creating jobs in the disaster-effected area and developing Japanese leaders.  $210,000 will fund the work of ten fellows who will collaborate with local organizations.  The remaining $100,000 will be disbursed by ETIC in small grants to the local non-profits and businesses working to rebuild the Tohoku region where fellows are placed.

Ashoka: Youth Venture Japan - $250,000

A recent survey in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures found that 87.4% of youth want to do something to help their local communities in the disaster-affected area.  Ashoka will use $250,000 to establish a Youth Venture program in local high schools that encourages passionate students to develop community recovery projects.  Ashoka will also engage local adults to act as panelists and mentors for the students.

Durable Social Innovation Asia (DSIA) - $40,000

In an effort to help economically rebuild the Tohoku region, a $40,000 grant will help connect small- and medium-sized businesses in the tsunami-affected area with well-established companies. The business partnerships will support Tsunami recovery through finance, technology, knowledge and human resource support.

If you’d like to read more detailed updates directly from the ground, we encourage you to visit our Japan Relief and Recovery updates page. 

We’re grateful that donations are still coming in, and we will continue to distribute them to high-impact rebuilding efforts around Japan. Thank you again for your support and we will continue to update you on the impact that your donations are making in the lives of women, men, and children in Japan.

Warm wishes,
Britt Lake and the GlobalGiving team

AAR JAPAN staff search for a welfare facility
AAR JAPAN staff search for a welfare facility

In areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March, thousands of people continue to live in evacuation centers.  With so much rebuilding to do, the government still hasn’t reached places like the small seaside village of Yubigahama, where debris sits uncleared and roads remain impassable.  The Association for Aid and Relief (AAR), supported by your donation to the GlobalGiving Japan Relief Fund, recently set up six container houses in an area where 80% of the surrounding town was devastated by the tsunami.

As volunteers and residents helped to set up the container houses, Ms. Suzuki, one of the new residents told AAR: “Right now, four families are living in this evacuation center. I never thought I would care about the lack of privacy, because we have known each other for so long.”

Ms. Suzuki moved into her new container house after two months of living in the evacuation center with four family members.  “Living together for two months has been mentally exhausting. We don’t have any space to discuss family matters privately. I’m really thankful just to have a space for our families to sleep on our own.”

AAR plans to set up another 24 container houses in the area, and has had requests to set up additional container homes in Minami-Sanriku and Ishinomaki.

Architecture for Humanity is also working to rebuild communities destroyed by the tsunami and earthquake with support from your donation to the GlobalGiving Japan Relief Fund.  In Motoyoshi, Miyagi, Architecture for Humanity is completing a covered wooden deck made of timber salvaged from the tsunami to serve as the center of a future marketplace.  Several local businesses that lost their storefront have already signed up for spots at this market.

Click on the video link below to see the construction site and hear from the team carrying out the project.

Thank you again for your support to people like Ms. Suzuki, who now has a home for her family.  Stay tuned for our next update, where we will announce some important new rebuilding activities that are being supported through your donations. And you can always read additional updates directly from our partners in Japan on GlobalGiving's "Updates from Japan" page.

Timber salvaged from the tsunami
Timber salvaged from the tsunami
Photo from SHINE Humanity
Photo from SHINE Humanity

Nearly two months after Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, here at GlobalGiving we are shifting the focus of our funding from emergency aid to more medium-and long-term support for people affected by the disaster. Our continuing priority has been to support Japanese organizations and citizens who are managing their own recovery processes, and over $3 million of your donations have gone towards these efforts.

For example, support through Japan Platform helped to supply over 100 Japanese volunteers including local teachers, parents, firefighters who worked together to clean up and re-open Kesennuma Kindergarten.

Although some families and teachers are still staying in the Kesennuma schools as shelters overnight, classes have resumed during the day. "I could not wait for this day to come," said one of the children during a re-opening ceremony, "I was not able to meet my friends for a long time." The disaster relief funds helped provide packages of school supplies for the students and classrooms, allowing children to go back to school and to develop a normal routine again.

Our Japan Platform partners are also supporting other much-needed services for survivors, including legal advice for citizens of the Iwate prefecture. Legal counselors are helping victims answer tough questions like, "What do I do about the mortgage I have on a home that was destroyed by the tsunami?"

Thanks to your continuing generosity, this week we disbursed an additional $310,000 to support Japanese organizations in their medium- and long-term rebuilding efforts. These funds are going to:

We'll send another update in a few weeks to share the stories of how these funds were put to work. For the most up-to-date info on the Japan recovery fund, please follow us on Twitter (@GlobalGiving) or "like" our Facebook Page. In addition, you can read updates from our partners on GlobalGiving's "Updates from Japan" page.

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Thank you again for your support,
Britt Lake and the GlobalGiving Team

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Organization Information


Location: Washington, D.C. - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.globalgiving.org
Project Leader:
Britt Lake
Washington, DC United States
$9,045,342 raised of $10,000,000 goal
50,014 donations
$954,658 to go
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