Peace Boat and AJET are Teaming Up for The Tohoku Summer Volunteering Project
Please read this letter from Founder and Director of Peace Boat, Yoshioka Tatsuya.
As we settle into the summer months that signal the end of contracts and/or natsuyasumi (summer vacation), many of us are starting to map out vacation plans or return tickets to our respective home countries. The summer months carry JETs to a wide range of places, but this year AJET would like to offer an opportunity to go to the Tohoku region and get involved with relief efforts via the NGO, Peace Boat.
Peace Boat is a well established organization that has been doing relief work in Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi Prefecture since the first weeks after March 11. AJET has always encouraged volunteers to work with reliable organizations, and Peace Boat has both the support and resources to make volunteering a safe, meaningful experience for everyone.
As this year’s Volunteering and Aid Director on the National AJET Council, I went with Peace Boat to volunteer in early June. Over the course of one week, my team helped clean gardens, houses, parks, and gutters, always working closely with the local community. We met and spoke with many people, and listened to their experiences of the devastating earthquake and tsunami. I have no doubt that our work and presence made a difference to the people we met, but the amount of work that remains to be done is staggering, and volunteer are in critical need.
Because the JET Programme has such a strong community, Peace Boat has asked for our help in supporting Tohoku this summer. Together, AJET and Peace Boat have streamlined the application process, and are now ready to send as many volunteers as possible over the coming months, with a simple, three step process:
1. Form a group of 4-6 people* and sign up at: firstname.lastname@example.org
*One person must be a bilingual team leader (Japanese and English speaking). If you cannot find a full group or a team leader, we will do our best to put groups together, however, we cannot guarantee that there will be enough people who have the same preferred departure dates. Please be aware that if there are not enough people in your group and AJET cannot form a full one for you, your departure will be cancelled.
2. Receive pre-departure materials and submit necessary information. You should purchase supplies, insurance, etc. in your area during this time.
3. Arrive in Tokyo for Orientation (around 11 a.m.) and Departure (same evening)
If you are interested in volunteering, please send your group’s contact information and the Friday you would like to depart from Tokyo to: email@example.com. The first departure date that JETs can sign up for will be Friday, July 22nd. Departure days may change from Friday to another day beginning in August, so please check the AJET website for updates before you purchase any tickets to arrive in Tokyo prior to/after your trip. For more information on the application and orientation process, feel free to send an email at any time to the same address, or see Peace Boat’s volunteering website for general information at http://peaceboat.jp/relief/.
Once your group information has been received, AJET will send you the pre-departure information packet, with instructions on what to prepare, purchasing volunteer insurance, and the forms you will need to submit in order to officially register. Participants will be required to pay for their own transportation fees, including ￥2,000 for the bus from Tokyo to Ishinomaki and back. Supplies for work, boots, waterproofs, and food for lunches and dinners will be provided.
Volunteers will then gather in Tokyo for an Orientation session at 11:00 a.m. on Friday (team leaders will have a separate orientation meeting after the general orientation) and the entire group will depart that evening, to return on the following Saturday.
Please be sure to also read the volunteer safety information posted on AJET’s website at www.ajet.net and discuss volunteering with your contracting organization prior to signing up. We also ask for your understanding note that departure dates, preparation materials, and orientation procedures are subject to change as the needs in the affected areas shift rapidly.
Your invaluable help as part of the international community can show the people of Tohoku that they have not been forgotten by the rest of the world. Tohoku needs you, and Peace Boat and AJET can help you make a difference.