Photo from OISCA International
Since April 2016, thanks to almost 3,000 donations from supporters like you, our community of GlobalGivers has raised $849,357 to support the work of 10 vetted, locally driven nonprofits assisting survivors from the deadly earthquakes that struck the Kumamoto region.
We have now closed the Kumamoto Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, and this will be the final update you’ll receive about the impact of your donations. If you’d like to continue to follow the progress of our partners who continue to support recovery efforts in the region, you can check out our partners’ latest updates on our website.
In this final update, we’d like to highlight the work of four of our partners who’ve been focused on assisting communities that have been struggling with the earthquake’s long-term impacts on local economies, mental health, and education.
Mashiki-cho, a town located on the outskirts of Kumamoto city and near the earthquake’s epicenter, has been slow to recover. The town’s population has been in decline over the past year as residents have relocated to the city in search of jobs that haven’t returned in their hometown. Ippan Shadan Hojin DSIA, which launched a kitchen car project immediately after the earthquake to feed people living in temporary housing, has shifted their focus and is now partnering with Revival Mashiki, a newly formed organization led by young local entrepreneurs, to find ways to reinvigorate the town’s economy and stem the population decline. Together they have reopened Mashiki Wai Wai Square, an open market where residents can buy and sell local goods and have begun planning to revive Yasunaga Shrine’s annual festival to help foster a renewed sense of community.
More than 20 months after the earthquake, more than 1,500 families in the region are still living in temporary housing, and their uncertainty over when and if they’ll be able to return to their homes has led to increased stress, anxiety, and isolation, especially among the elderly. To address the needs of these families, Peace Winds America has been operating 18 community centers with the goal of relieving stress and encouraging community engagement. At the centers, residents are able to take art and cooking classes, attend mental health workshops, and celebrate seasonal festivals with their neighbors.
OISCA International’s work with family farms in the village of Nishira in Fukuoka Prefecture in northern Kyushu continued through 2016’s harvest season when they mobilized 263 volunteers to assist 71 families. The volunteers helped with routine maintenance and harvesting on farms growing sweet potatoes, peanuts, chestnuts, yuzu, and taro. Several farmers reported that they had considered closing down their farms after the earthquake, but thanks to the help from OISCA’s volunteers they were encouraged to continue their work.
Children who lost their homes in the Kumamoto earthquake were able to take part in a weeklong outdoor education program thanks to Sweet Treat 311. They visited forests, farmlands, and the coast to learn about sustainability and local culture and history. The program was held at Sweet Treat 311’s sustainable learning center in Miyagi Prefecture, near the site of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and the children from Kumamoto were able to share experiences with local survivors from that disaster.
Thank you again for your generous support of the Kumamoto Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. By investing in the work of community-led nonprofits, you’ve funded the long-term recovery work that, while often out of the public eye, is vital for communities to thrive again after a disaster.
Britt + the GlobalGiving Team
Photo from Peace Winds America
Photo from Sweet Treat 311