Global Giving has generously extended the donation-matching campaign to benefit Tohoku! Donations will continue to be matched yen for yen and dollar for dollar. If you weren’t able to give on 3.11 this is your big second chance to make a big difference!
Support the Taylor Anderson Memorial Foundation by donating during a 24-hour donation drive that starts when the clock strikes midnight in Japan on March 11. Global Giving has offered to match these donations. This is a great opportunity to show your ongoing support for Tohoku by going to the Global Giving website on March 11th to make a donation during the matching grant period.
Online donation drive
- Donation website: JETs Rally for Tohoku
- Starts: 12:00 midnight Japan time on March 11th (10 am EST on March 10th; 7 am PST, etc)
- Ends: 11:59 p.m. Japan time on March 11th (9:59 am EST on March 11th)
Three years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the devastation in Tohoku has largely faded from the news. However, so much remains to be done for the survivors and TAMF has been partnering with a number of organizations in Japan to provide relief and help the people of Tohoku build a strong and vibrant future.
TAMF has provided funding to the following projects:
- Smile Together Ishinomaki
- Living Dreams: Tohoku Kids Project
- Hope for Tomorrow
- JET Micro Grants
- Taylor Anderson Reading Corners
- Taylor Sendai YMCA Scholarships
- Exchange Programs
For more information on TAMF, please go to the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund website, their Facebook page, or watch the NHK interview with Jeanne and Andy below. JETAA USA is proud to partner with TAMF to carry on the support JETs and JET alumni have shown for Japan and the people of Tohoku ever since March 2011.
All donations up to $1,000 per individual donor made to the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund on March 11th Japan time will be matched by Global Giving through their Japan Match Global Giving program. (Global Giving will charge a 15% facilitation fee to cover their costs, which donors may choose to cover if they wish so that their full donation amount goes to TAMF. See the donation page for details.)
We are also very happy to see Ambassador Kennedy giving her backing to their mission as well. For coverage of her recent trip to Ishinomaki and visit to Mangokuura Elementary School, where Taylor taught, please check out this article on The Asahi Shimbun.
Originally written for the October 2012 issue of Connect
In July, I had the opportunity to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Japan in Miyagi- ken. It was an amazing experience and one I’d definitely recommend. Before you jump in, however, here are some important pointers to consider when planning your own volunteering stint in the Tohoku area.
Factor in travel times and when you’re expected be at the organization. Not only do you need to get yourself to Tohuku, but the organization’s office may not be easily accessible or in a major city. Habitat’s Tagajo office is a twenty minute train ride from Sendai station plus a ten minute walk. Most organizations also prefer you to show up the night before your volunteer work begins.
How to get there
Depending on where you live, you may have to fly or take serious nenkyu to make a trip to Tohoku, but plane tickets can be expensive unless you plan well in advance. If you live fairly close to Tohoku, trains may be a convenient option, but the option I prefer for cost and convenience is the highway bus. There are many companies out there so look into which ones offer services to Sendai.
Save some money
If you want to fly, start planning your trip months in advance. For buses, Willer Express offers a bus pass that even residents can use. The hard part is that someone outside of Japan has to purchase it. Once you set up an account online and someone buys the pass for you under your account, you can make reservations on the Willer website. Instead of a ticket, you receive a reservation number to show when you check in for your bus. Willer offers three-day, four-day and five-day passes, which means that in the two months from the date you purchase the pass, you can travel that many days on any Willer buses that offer relax seats and below. For example, with a 12,000 yen four-day pass, I traveled roundtrip to Sendai and Tokyo within a two month span. One way to Sendai on a relax bus is almost 9,000 yen, so it really does offer huge savings. For more information, visit: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2369.html
The organization you work with will send you a list of what to bring with you, so pack well. In the hard-hit areas, volunteer shelters will have the bare minimum, so you’ll need to bring a sleeping bag, pillow, and maybe even food and water (depending on the location of the nearest combini). Habitat’s Tagajo house has bedding and extra gum boots to work in, but you still need to bring work gear, such as gloves, comfortable work clothes, and rain gear. We also stopped at a combini before going to the work site, so food wasn’t an issue.
Don’t overdo it and HAVE FUN!
Stretch, take plenty of breaks, and meet amazing new people. My team included five awesome college kids from Kansai and Kyushu, which made the work more fun. If many people are interested, you can even form a team and work together in Tohoku.
Share your adventures with family, friends, and your Japanese community!
Originally written for the October 2012 issue of Connect
Some of us already know the international nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity (HfH) from their work in our home countries. HfH’s goal is to provide decent housing to those who need it, for which they are very much reliant on the work of volunteers. In 2002, Habitat Japan was established and they focused on fundraising and sending Japanese volunteers to international HfH building sites. Since 3.11, most of Habitat Japan’s work focuses on disaster response and supporting those affected by the natural disasters. While they continue to organize international volunteer trips, every week Habitat Japan volunteers head to Tohoku to take part in recovery efforts.
Projects vary depending on the needs and schedules in the area. The first time I worked with Habitat Japan, we helped clear debris and plants so a house could later be built at that site. In September, I had a chance to work on a building project and I couldn’t pass it up. Habitat Japan posted a call for volunteers for Monday, Sept. 17 to Wednesday, Sept. 19. Since that Monday was a holiday, I decided to go to Tokyo for a day and then take a day bus from Tokyo to Sendai. I hope the following diary helps in understanding how Habitat Japan’s Izushima program works.
Monday, September 17
I arrived in Sendai with plenty of time to grab food and search for last minute supplies. (FYI: Daiso carries rubber dipped gloves if you can’t find them elsewhere!). The train from Sendai Station to Tagajo Station takes about twenty minutes and then there’s a ten minute walk from the station to the Habitat house. Once I got to the house, I met the rest of the 13 member team and we had an orientation about the Izushima project. Izushima is an island off of Onagawa Town in Miyagi prefecture and home to about 650 people. Many people in Izushima relied on growing sea pineapples as a source of income. The tsunami destroyed all those facilities and almost all the homes on the island. Habitat Japan and It’s Not Just Mud have helped in some of the rebuilding efforts on the island. On this trip, the team would work to complete a building that had been started. This building would serve as a multipurpose community center. The orientation was all in Japanese, but the Habitat staff and some of the volunteers spoke English so I was still able to understand. The Izushima volunteer project participation fee was 10,000 yen, which included transportation from the Tagajo office to the site and back, meals for Tuesday and Wednesday, and insurance. After the meeting, we set out our futons, took showers (there wouldn’t be shower facilities on the island), and went to bed.
Tuesday, September 18
I woke up at a cheery 4:30am and at 5:15am we all piled into the vans and left Tagajo. On the way we stopped at a combini and were told to get 1500 yen or less for breakfast and lunch, which the Habitat staff paid for. At about 7:15am we arrived at the ferry dock. We unloaded our things onto the ferry and the construction materials were transferred to the boat of a local man who was also volunteering. After a forty minute ferry ride and a twenty minute car ride, we were finally at the site we’d be working and staying in. We put our belongings in the temporary volunteer house and geared up to begin our work.
The building we’d be working on was only walls and a ceiling and at 9:30am we had a quick meeting about the day’s work. The man from the boat was helping with construction work and two local women made sure we had plenty of snacks and drinks at breaks. Before I knew what was happening, I was given a hammer and told to put nails along the chalk marks on the walls. I have very little building experience but gained confidence as I realized no one was watching me work. Once all the nails were in place, windows were cut into the walls and I helped take down support beams. Then, tasks were divided up. Some people measured and drew lines on more plywood, marking where nails would go. Others weatherproofed pieces of wood for a table and another team was doing work on the roof. I helped install the insulation to the walls and ceiling of the building. At around 1pm we took our lunch break in the housing shelter. It was interesting talking to other people on the team and hearing their reasons for volunteering. We had a diverse volunteer group and I met some genki college students from Tokyo. Some of them had lived abroad or were international students and I sat in awe as they switched from English to Japanese and back all in a sentence.
After lunch we finished putting in the insulation, covered it with plywood and nailed it in. The roof work was progressing; one group started building a table and the entrance way, the other painted the outside of the building to weatherproof it. Another girl and I were given the task of rebuilding a bench that had been taken apart for shipment to the island. Like a puzzle with only a picture to look at, it was mainly trial and error. Other teams finished the front windows and we called it a day at 5:30pm. For dinner, everyone pitched in with prepping, cooking, and setting the tables for a family style meal. One of the ladies from Izushima gave us a ton of shelled scallops and scallop sashimi, too. After dinner we set up our sleeping bags and had a quick meeting before bed. At the meeting we each shared our impressions of Izushima.
Wednesday, September 19
On Wednesday, we woke up at a more respectable 7am and enjoyed leftover curry for breakfast. At 8am we had our brief meeting and then continued our work. A few volunteers from It’s Not Just Mud joined the work, which really helped. While I worked on continuing to assemble the bench from the day before, most people were working on roof details. Before long, it was already lunchtime and we had kimchi yakisoba. We couldn’t relax too long, though, because we needed to finish working by 2:30pm so that we could pack up and catch our 3:30pm ferry. My group finished assembling and repainting the children’s bench while another finished the roof and entranceway. It was a lot of work but the finished building looked pretty sweet! We spent 2:30-3:30 finishing up, packing everything up and loading it into the van, unloading it at the ferry port, and loading everything onto the ferry. People on the ferry helped us carry things and didn’t care that the ferry was behind schedule because of us. Once back on the mainland, we loaded everything into the appropriate vans and those of us who had to catch trains and buses headed out early. We made it back to Tagajo at 7pm and I took the train to Sendai, quickly grabbed some combini food for dinner, and boarded my night bus at 7:50pm. Since I hadn’t had a chance to get omiyage, I bought some zunda dango at the first pit stop and then slept all the way to Kyoto.
Habitat Japan offers a quick way to volunteer and see how Tohoku is today. Every month they post calls for volunteers on their website and Facebook pages. It’s easy to get involved so don’t worry about your language or building skills. And the Habitat members of staff are all truly awesome to work with!
You can find out more about Habitat Japan at http://www.habitatjp.org/index_e.html and http://www.facebook.com/habitatjp.en.
Margarita Rozenbaoum of Relief International (an international humanitarian nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles) is reaching out the JET alum and JET community to secure music grants for schools in Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi-ken. This project, called Jam for Japan aims to give scholarships/ grants of $5000 USD to several Japanese schools in the affected prefectures.
Relief International has gotten a very low number of grant applications for this project and the deadline is fast approaching. They are looking to JET alums and current JETs to help identify the schools in need and facilitate connections between then two. The scholarships/ grants are focused on elementary school, junior high and high school levels as well as individual musicians in Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi. The damage from the earthquake and tsunami does not need to be severe for a school to qualify for the grant. Interested schools/ individuals must submit the grant application by February 29, 2012. It is available in both English and Japanese:
My name is Margarita Rozenbaoum, and I’m writing on behalf of Relief International, an international humanitarian nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles. We have raised funds, and we will be giving grants (scholarships) of $5000 USD to several Japanese schools and individuals within the Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi Prefectures. Please visit our website (www.ri.org/jam4japan) to learn more about the details of this project.
The problem is, we have had a very low number of applicants for the grant, and the deadline is approaching quickly. We’ve been having some trouble identifying the schools in need and contacting them directly. Do you perhaps know of any schools (Elementary, Junior, or High Schools) with music programs, brass bands, or individual musicians that could use the scholarship? The damage from the earthquake and tsunami does not need to be severe for a school to qualify for the grant, and all the school or individual needs to do is submit the grant application by February 29, 2012.
Grant application (English): http://www.ri.org/files/uploads/events/Jam4Japan_Grant_Application_ENGLISH.pdf
Grant application (Japanese): http://www.ri.org/files/uploads/events/Jam4Japan_Grant_Application_JAPANESE.pdf
I look forward to hearing from you!
初めてメールさせて頂きます。ロサンゼルスを拠点に活動している非営利団体のリリーフ・インターナショナルのマルガリータ・ローゼンバウムと申します。リリーフ・インターナショナルのプログラム“Jam for Japan”の音楽教育奨学金についてご連絡いたします。
今回我々は“Jam for Japan”というプログラムを通じて、音楽学業プログラムを取り入れている学校に＄5000(USドル)の奨学金を提供することにいたしました。
我々リリーフ・インターナショナルが、2011年3月11日に起きた津波により被害を受けた学校に音楽学業奨学金を提供する事になりました。 災害から1年が経過した今、Jam for Japanは地震と津波の被害を受けた地域にある音楽プログラムを取り入れている小学校、中学校、高等学校,または学生、ミュージシャンに＄5000(USドル)までの奨学金を提供する事になりました。奨学金はこちらリリーフ・インターナショナルに送られてくる量により提供いたします。リリーフ・インターナショナルのウェブサイト(www.ri.org/jam4japan) にこのプログラムについて詳しく記載しておりますので、サイトを訪問して頂けると幸いでございます。
Hello everyone, my name is Dusty Wittman, I am an ALT in Shiga-ken and I would like to take a moment of your time to tell you about an exciting project I have been working on with my friend Roxy Borowska (also an ALT in Shiga).
Having been to Ishinomaki City twice now to volunteer. I have seen first hand the devastation and the conditions in which those people are forced to live with. I will continue to go there as much as my schedule allows, but I wanted to do more so I enlisted the help of my friend, Roxy, and we came up with the “Biwa Bottle Boat Challenge” to raise money for Tohoku, specifically for the orphans and orphanages there. We have linked ourselves to the Tohoku Kids’ Project and have set our goal at $5,000.
It was an unexpected place to find a fourth of July party, but this celebration was also designed to lift the spirits of survivors in japan’s tsunami disaster zone. it’s been four months since the torrent of water battered this coast, and young americans are at the heart of a remarkable volunteer effort bringing aid and comfort to devastated communities.
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: email@example.com
*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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
The Foreign Buyer’s Club AID 4 OTHERS promotion has been extended until September.
The FBC are working with Second Harvest Japan to see what items are most need in the Tohoku area. A regularly updated list is available on the AID 4 OTHERS section of their website. Simply enter the code AID4OTHERS at check out and your order will be sent directly to those most in need in the Tohoku area by either Second Harvest Japan or CRASH.
All orders placed this way will receive a 10% discount as well as free shipping.
JET Programme participants as well as alums and friends have come together to support JETs in areas effected by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. In this time of rebuilding, people often turn to their family for support, and as JETs are typically far from this natural support system the extended JET community is striving to fill that gap. If you, or someone you know, could use help rebuilding, replacing lost possessions, or purchasing supplies such as bottled water, please apply to the AJET Relief Fund or contact us with any questions you may have.
Ganbare Tohoku! Ganbare Japan!
Are you a warm-hearted, motivated and organised individual looking for a way to support your community during this difficult time? Can you guarantee that you will be in Japan for at least one more year?
Smile Kids Japan has partnered with Living Dreams to form Smiles and Dreams: Tohoku Kids’ Project. The intention is to build and continue strong relationships with the 18 childrens’ homes in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukuishima, in order to set up regular fun and interactive volunteer visits for the children at these homes. Although the Tohoku Kids’ Project focuses on these 18 childrens’ homes, our ultimate goal is to have regular visits set up in all orphanages across Japan within the next 3 years. For this, we need you.
Smile Kids Japan and Living Dreams are looking for Home Communications Managers (HCMs). HCM responsibilities will include:
- Fostering personal relationships with staff members at a children’s home to establish and maintain regular, long-term visits as frequently as possible, but at least every 3 months.
- Conducting needs assessments of the home and acting as a liaison between that home and members of the Tohoku Kids’ Project
- Helping distribute items that are donated to children’s homes
- Attending events organised by the Tohoku Kids’ Project that take place at the home as often as possible
Our goal is to have two HCMs for each home in an effort to make the workload easier for our HCMs. One HCM will require good Japanese, but both coordinators do not have to speak fluently.
As an HCM you do not have to worry about working alone. Members of the Smile Kids Japan team are always available to take questions and give advice and will also connect the HCM community across the country to offer further support and ideas. Any questions or problems that you encounter can be directed to Smile Kids Japan immediately.
If you are interested in becoming a Home Communications Manager, please download and complete the form below. Please return the form to email@example.com.
Children’s Home Coordinator Application FINAL EN – Word Document (798KB)
Currently one of the most pressing needs in the Tohoku region is a steady supply of food and other necessities. Food drives and donations in local areas are useful but the cost of shipping can sometimes be more expensive than the items themselves.
FBC is working with Second Harvest Japan to ensure that the food and supplies purchased on its website site are delivered to the people who need them the most, with minimum being spent on overhead charges such as shipping.
By offering only a small range of disaster-specific items, FBC can ensure these products are as cheap as possible and the items on offer reflect the current needs of the area. As previously mentioned, FBC is working with Second Harvest Japan, who is making regular deliveries to the affected region. Due to Second Harvest’s regular, direct contact with the people living in Tohoku they are able to gather information about what is needed and quickly relay this to FBC.
The road to recovery will be long and FBC wants to join with Second Harvest, AJET, Smile Kids Japan, JETWit and all their member in giving what help they can.