Social Entrepreneurs of Japan's Disaster-Hit Areas

by WIT Vetted since 2016 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit Site Visit Verified
Mammaru Mom Iwate
Mammaru Mom Iwate's gathering for mothers

Dear our generous donors,

Seven years has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Yet, many social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders are working tirelessly for the people affected. 

Miyoko Sato, a founder and Executive Director of Mammaru Mom Iwate and one of the social entrepreneurs WIT supports, has hosted more than 450 gatherings for affected mothers and babies since 2011. The gatherings have become open and safe space for more than 4,000 pregnant women and new mothers, where they can interact with each other and ask professional midwives and nutritionists for advice. In remote rural areas where Mammaru Mom operates, it is not unusual for women to travel hours by car to see OBGYN doctors. Mammaru Mom is dedicated to creating an environment where mothers can enjoy their pregnancy and childbearing regardless of where they live.

Miyoko shares the reason why she continues her work even after seven years. In a Japanese interview article (, she says, "psychological damage is hard to heal. I don't think the disaster is over; we are still surrounded by elevated lands, vacant lots, and temporary housing. The earthquake further aggravated depopulation, and we have fewer OBGYNs now than pre-disaster. Our gatherings play an important role to connect mothers and experts like midwives."

WIT has supported Mammaru Mom through Cross-Border Learning Journey program and management support. We introduced them an accountant, who them helped them incorporate a charitable organization. Mammaru Mom also utilized WIT's organizational development program to bring in professional team coaches over the six months. The team coaching allowed Mammory Mom's team to have honest discussion and dialogue on their vision and activities, and improved their teamwork performance dramatically.

At WIT, we feel very blessed to support and work with such innovative and committed social entrepreneurs.

It is your generous support that has made our activities possible. Thank you so much!!


With heartfelt gratitude,

Mio Yamamoto and WIT Team

Children and mothers with Mammaru Mom Iwate
Children and mothers with Mammaru Mom Iwate


Field visit to Studio Oriori
Field visit to Studio Oriori

Dear all,

As the holiday season begins, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for your continuing support for our cause. 

In October 2017, twelve leaders from the United States and Japan participated in the Cross-Border Learning Journey hosted by WIT. The participants visited social entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations in Fukushima and explored collaborative opportunities across different sectors and countries.

During the one-week Journey, participants from New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Tokyo were very much inspired by the time spent with the social entrepreneurs and local people, who are creating a sustainable and resilient civil society despite the tremendous adversity.

I hope you will enjoy the following wonderful story written by one of the participants and a TV anchor in Seattle, Lori Matsukawa:  A Tale of Three Towns

We hope to keep strengthening the mutually supportive and inspiring relationship, which emerged out of the Journey, to make the world a better place!

Wish you all happy holidays,


Field visit to Minamisoma Science Lab
Field visit to Minamisoma Science Lab
Field visit to Seed for Hope, an organic farm
Field visit to Seed for Hope, an organic farm


A women entrepreneur, creating jobs for evacuated
A women entrepreneur, creating jobs for evacuated

In only two weeks, Cross-Border Learning Journey 2017 will begin, and leaders from the US and Japan will meet with social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders in Fukushima, the prefecture heavily hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Even six years after the disaster, there still many people who have not returned home, and in some areas, the evacuation order has just lifted in the spring of 2017. There are still zones designated by the government as difficult for local residents to return due to radiation exposure.

Some chose to / were forced to leave their hometown, others chose to stay / cannot leave. I respect each one's choice, and my heart tries to empathize with these choices though that is a very tough thing to do.

Then there are social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders, who have dedicated their hearts and minds to working with and supporting local residents. I and WIT sincerely believe in their passion and potential and in the power of encounterment of people from diverse perspectives to better the world and co-create our future.

This year, we will have an engineer, TV anchor, entrepreneurs, professor, corporate executive, journalist and others to join the CBLJ in Fukushima. We all hope to learn from each other, get inspired, and take a step forward to make a difference. Please look forward to our updates.

We sincerely thank for all your suppport including contribution, spreading the word, and many other ways. We look forward to sharing this year's stories of the participanting individuals and organizations with you.

With heartfelt gratitude,

Mio and WIT Team

Fukushima's traditional silkware
US-Japan leaders will visit her in CBLJ
US-Japan leaders will visit her in CBLJ


Program Overview:

World in Tohoku (WIT) is now recruiting business professionals from the U.S. to join the Cross-Border Learning Journey (CBLJ) in Fukushima, Japan. This year's CBLJ will be held from October 11th ~ October 16th, where U.S. business professionals will convene with Japanese business professionals and social entrepreneurs to solve challenges that Fukushima Prefecture continues to face six years after the Great East Japan Earthquake. 

Participants will have an opportunity to go on a field visit to the coastal area of Fukushima to get a better understanding of the current recovery efforts, in addition to site visits of local social entrepreneurs across Fukushima. During the course of these 5 days, a diverse group of business professionals and entrepreneurs representing a range of industries will convene and engage in deep discussions, all in an effort to create long-term collaborations and solutions. WIT aims to grow, sustain, and accelerate these cross-border, cross-sector collaborations in the years to come.

For more information, please visit our website at:




The deadline to apply is July 15th, 2017. Please send your resume and cover letter explaining your interest in the program to WIT will reach out to those who qualify, and will be happy to answer any questions at that time.



Dear GlobalGiving Donors,

We are excited to share our latest update in completing a successful event in New York City to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. On March 6th, WIT held a special event, “Resilience for the Future: Cross-Border Dialogue with Post-Disaster Social Entrepreneurs”, with the generous support of Peatix Inc., Sapporo USA Inc., T.I.C. Restaurant Group., JAMSNET, JASSA (Japan Study Student Association) at Columbia University, NY Ichokai  and others.

At this event, Wataru Kainuma, Executive Director and Founder of UrushiRocks, Inc. spoke about his social venture in Fukushima and his vision to create a sustainable economy and society, through promoting the long-standing tradition of Urushi, a beautiful Japanese lacquerware. Mio Yamamoto, Executive Director and Co-Founder of WIT, also spoke about WIT’s cross-border initiatives, including its flagship program, Learning Journeys, to spur social innovation and accelerate the growth of the social ventures WIT supports across Japan.

This was also an exciting time for UrushiRocks, Inc., as it had just released its English online store website ( and a beautiful short documentary "In the Heart of Aizu" on the craftsmanship of Urushi (the video can be found here), which was created by Steve Sakanashi, WIT Associate Accelerator, and his creator friends. The film is now featured on, one of the most highly trafficked art blogs in the world.

The success of this event would not have been possible without your generous support and belief in the mission of our work. This was an especially unique event for both WIT and for UrushiRocks, in that it was WIT’s first-ever big event to showcase the success and global efforts of UrushiRocks, Inc.,  one of the social ventures WIT has been supporting for the past year.

WIT is excited to continue working with social entrepreneurs like Urushi Rocks to bring their social impact to the world, in collaboration with global citizens like you!

Thank you once again for your continued support!  


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Organization Information


Location: Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo-to - Japan
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Mio Yamamoto
Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo-to Japan
$12,382 raised of $40,000 goal
109 donations
$27,618 to go
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